The holiday listings on this site are searchable by beginner, novice, intermediate and experienced. Use the following descriptions to check what these terms mean before you book:
Beginner: You've had a few lessons and may have hacked out at walk.
Novice: You've mastered the basic aids in all paces and can mount and dismount unaided. You're confident on a well-schooled horse in walk, rising trot (posting), and for short periods of canter.
Intermediate: You're a secure and confident rider on a well-schooled horse at all paces including a fast canter in open country. You're happy to ride for several hours and may have some jumping experience.
Experienced: You're an experienced rider, confident and relaxed on horseback. You ride regularly and have an independent seat and soft hands. You're capable of handling a spirited horse at canter in open country and are happy to jump. You may have owned or shared your own horse.
Be practical: Many people talk up their riding ability and live to regret it. Be honest and you will be provided with a well-suited horse and rides that are enjoyable instead of either frightening or boring. Many holidays match specific weeks to specific riding abilities so you should find your fellow riders are of a similar standard though sometimes mixed abilities are catered for. You can check this at the time of booking.
Be flexible: Riding practices vary from country to country and it's important to take note of your guide's instructions on riding the horses at their establishment. Some may ride on a light relaxed rein, some might give you different aids than you are used to.
Be prepared: Whatever standard of rider you are, you need to have a reasonable fitness to spend 2-5 hours in the saddle every day. It pays get in training for your holiday. Hit the gym, take some long walks and double up on your weekly riding quota. Then you can enjoy it to the full without nursing too many aching body parts!