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Which Riding Holiday?


Choose an approved riding centre with qualified staff. Photo: Scottish Equi Complex

Instructional breaks: One thing that even Olympic-class riders will happily admit, is that there's always room for improvement. An instructional break is ideal for those looking to improve their skill. Based at equitation centres, they vary from intensive 'learn to ride' courses to those that specialise in a particular discipline such as dressage or jumping. It's best to look for a centre that has some official recommendation. In the UK, the British Horse Society has a list of approved centers which will have well qualified instructors and a variety of well-schooled horsemasters.

Trekking allows you to escape the usual tourist trail.
Trekking holidays: Trekking or trail-riding varies depending on the standard of riding in the group and the terrain of the destination. There will be a holiday suitable for all standards but to truly enjoy a trail-riding holiday, beginners will benefit from having some lessons at home first. Some companies will ride out from a single base while others will transport your luggage for you and stop at a different accommodation each night. Accommodation varies dramatically and will often be reflected in the price. Holiday companies offer a range of accommodation from shared bunk rooms to the full luxury of a hotel or private mansion house. Expeditions: This is a trail-riding holiday taken to the extreme and a very appealling prospect for experienced riders offering true adventure as you travel across dramatic scenery, often camping. For the ultimate challenge, consider a charity expedition and tackle some fundraising too.

Wild animals treat horses as just another animal - so you can get close. Photo: Horizon Horseback Adventures
Horse Safari: For those who want to get a clearer view of wildlife, a horse safari offers an alternative to traditional safaris where game viewing is from a four-wheel vehicle. Mainly in south and north African countries where the most varied game can be found, safaris generally involve camping with camps moved several times during the holiday. But horse safaris are not just about viewing wildlife. In a broader sense the term means exploration and it is widely used in India to describe holidays that travel through remote regions and deserts, with the options of swapping your horse for a camel. Horse safaris are also available in Europe and in New Zealand and Australia where there is less wildlife but the scenery is wild and dramatic.

The true ranch experience will include some cattle work such as a round-up. Photo: Grapevine Canyon Ranch
Ranch holiday: True ranching holidays take place in the wild expanses of America with Arizona, Montana, Utah and Mexico being typical destinations. Often called 'dude ranches', these outback cattle stations offer the city weary traveller an experience as far away from the city as they can dream of. Think 'Blazing Saddles' and you've got a clear idea of what a true ranching holiday is about. Learn from experienced cowhands how to work the cattle and take part in a round up or cattle drive. On this site, just as 'safari' sometimes means any equestrian exploration, ranch is used to describe holidays outside America which offer riding from a base.
 
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