Horse riding is a great way to explore scenic vistas.
Whether you are a keen novice or a seasoned eventer, there is an equestrian adventure to suit all levels and experience.
Scroll down for our guide to the best horse-riding holidays…
A VERY STATELY RIDE
Grandeur: Pictured above is Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire
Don’t miss the new and unique chance to spend two days and nights in the private apartments of the magnificent Blenheim Palace, in Oxfordshire, as guests of the Marlborough family.
Enjoy a three-course candlelit dinner and a tour of the state rooms (including the bedroom where Winston Churchill was born) before mounting up on to safe, smart horses for escorted rides over the 2,000 acres of historic park. Ride among ancient oak woods, lakes and bridges — all landscaped by Capability Brown — with a picturesque lunch break and, of course, arrive back in time for afternoon tea.
WHEN: April to October, 2019.
DETAILS: Prices on application, depending on numbers, statelyrides.co.uk, 07590 456714.
TASTE FOR ADVENTURE
Starting and ending in the historic mountain town of Kolašin, this is eight days riding Montenegro’s spectacular national parks, canyons and mountain passes on sure-footed and fit horses, led by former champion jockey and Grand National winner Richard Dunwoody. There will even be a chance to raft the Montenegrin Colorado river.
Lodging with farmers on remote homesteads and in eco-cabins, as well as camping, you’ll be in the saddle for four or five hours a day and should be canter-confident, in groups no bigger than 12.
WHEN: June 8 to 15, 2019.
DETAILS: £1,895 per person (with every booking, a donation is made to The Injured Jockeys Fund), wildfrontierstravel.com, 020 8741 7390.
Pinetrees Riding is a prestigious equestrian centre, open year-round, thanks to being bang in the middle of the Algarve. Disabled and able-bodied riders of all levels and ages are well catered for, with riding kit, mounting ramps and a Riding for the Disabled Association qualified instructor with decades of experience in the therapeutic value of riding.
The horses, from Welsh ponies to Lusitanos, are all chosen for their temperament. There’s direct access into the forest of the Ria Formosa nature reserve, too.
WHEN: All year, any start date.
DETAILS: Three nights’ full-board including five hours’ riding, from £514, farandride.com, 01462 701110.
HELP INJURED ANIMALS
Saddle up: Horse riding is a great way to explore scenic vistas
The 40 horses — mainly Percherons and Boerperds — kept on the South African family-run Newhampshire Farm, in the Eastern Cape, were all rescued from neglect, injury or abuse and are in serious need of TLC.
There’s so much satisfaction in helping with daily feeding, grooming and assessing each horse’s condition that it won’t feel like work.
There’s plenty of time to ride and assist on the bush and beach trails, too (the magnificent Indian Ocean coastline is a few miles away), and all levels of experience are welcome.
WHEN: All year round.
DETAILS: £895 per person, excluding flights, responsibletravel.com, 01273 823700.
Inspired by Genghis Khan’s 1224 Mongolian postal route and African safaris, this is ‘just’ 50 miles, exploring beautiful Dartmoor with long canters and river crossings.
Riding in small groups, you will be guided by experienced locals and glamping in luxurious yurts.
Founder Elaine says it’s ideal for ‘those who hate trotting in circles and for cramming six months of once-a-week riding into one action-packed long weekend’. Plus, you can bring your own horse if you prefer.
WHEN: September 20 to 23, 2019.
DETAILS: £1,995 per person sharing a three-person yurt, or £1,695 with your own horse, liberty-trails.com, 01822 851 463.
TAKE THE REINS
You’ll need to be competent (with both a horse and a map) and up for six or seven hours in the saddle every day to make the most of the only self-guided ride in the UK.
Your reward is covering 100 of the thousands of glorious miles of detailed mapped and described trail networks in remote Welsh hills.
The horses are fit and friendly and you’ll tether them outside the pub for lunch, moving on from one B&B to another through the week.
WHEN: Flexible, from April 18 to October 20, 2019.
DETAILS: £1,460 per person, excluding lunches and evening meals, free-rein.co.uk, 01497 821 356.
STEP INTO DRESSAGE
Bring out your inner Charlotte Dujardin CBE at this rural Cheshire riding centre. With indoor and outdoor schools, you’ll be taught by BHA-approved instructors on the owner’s beautifully trained dressage horses currently in competition of up to Grand Prix level.
All levels of riders are welcome for a tailor-made holiday. Accommodation in local B&Bs or four-star spa hotels. The Tudor streets of Chester are a short drive away, too.
WHEN: All year round.
DETAILS: From £325 per person, 01829 781123, equestrian-escapes.com.
SWIMMING WITH HORSES
Unforgettable: Swimming with horses at Half Moon resort in Jamaica
Many of the horses at the equestrian centre of the luxurious Half Moon resort on Jamaica’s Montego Bay are former racehorses.
Used to swimming as part of their former fitness and therapy regimen, all the animals have been trained to enjoy a dip in the sea. So, after an island ride (‘turf’), you can swim with them in the warm seas (‘surf’).
Stable owner Trina says: ‘Learning to trust your horse, seeing how much the horses enjoy the swim and looking back at the shore is an experience that you will never forget.’
WHEN: All year round.
DETAILS: Rooms from £351 per night B&B (excluding tax), Turf and Surf £109, halfmoon.com, +1 876-953-2211.
NEW ROUTES AT THE RANCH
The Fox family has run Bitterroot, a largely self-sufficient working cattle ranch in Wyoming, in the U.S., for more than 40 years. Plenty of the horses are homebred and you’ll ride in small groups of matched ability across peaceful country so vast, you’ll never ride the same route twice.
Sleeping in cosy log cabins, you’ll have the chance to go full cowboy with an end-of-week team competition sorting yearlings. It’s so authentic, you’ll even see Butch Cassidy’s canyon hideout.
WHEN: May 26 to October 1, 2019.
DETAILS: From £1,650 for four nights, bitterrootranch.com, +1 800-545-0019.
In the foothills of the Cretan Dikti mountains, the family-run Country Hotel Veláni has its own stables, with sure-footed Arab, Andalusian and warmblood horses, all chosen for their temperament and stamina.
Children as young as four can try their hand with ten-minute lessons and there is a programme for eight to 12-year-olds. Older kids can join the adults for up to five-hour trail rides though the Langada valley. And everyone can still be back in time to reconvene with non-riding family members by the pool.
WHEN: All year round.
DETAILS: Children’s Programme with six hours’ riding and full-board, £364 for seven nights. Adults’ Programme with 22 hours’ riding and full-board, £848 for seven nights, inthesaddle.com, 01299 272997.