Insider Tips for the Best Horseback Riding Vacation
We all know when we have experienced a successful horseback riding vacation. Yet no one talks about what makes for a poor equestrian holiday. With this in mind, I’ve put together a check list of what to look for to ensure a positive horseback riding vacation.
- Are the horses properly groomed?
- Are horse shoes on all four hooves?
- Do the horses have access to fresh drinking water?
- Are the horses of appropriate weight?
- Do the horses have access to shade?
2. Is Horse Tack in Good Condition?
- Does the saddle fit the rider?
- Are the stirrups (where your foot rests) properly adjusted to the height of the rider?
- Does the bridle (the headgear that controls the horse) fit the horse?
- Is the saddle pad protecting the saddle from direct contact on the horse’s back?
- (keep in mind that egg crate foam padding is no substitution for proper saddle padding and is not adequate to protect the horse’s back.)
- Is the equestrian offered the use of a riding helmet to prevent head injury, in the event of a fall?
- Is the equestrian offered loaner riding boots as a means of protective footwear?
- No rider should be permitted to go on a horseback riding vacation with open toed shoes or sandals
3. Proper Staff to Horseback Rider Ratio
- Ideally, small group rides and private rides are the best horseback riding vacation experience for everyone involved; guest, guide and horse. However, this smaller riding ratio typically equates to higher costs.
- If a child is on horseback and being led by a guide on another horse (ponying – leading one horse from another) ideally, that guide will strictly focus on that task and not be leading the horseback riding group.
4. What type of Horseback Riding Vacation Experience Suits Your Needs?
- What is your riding level experience?
- Do you prefer to ride Western or English
- Are you seeking multiple hours in the saddle with several riding days?
- Will this be a multi-generational, family-friendly horseback riding vacation, girlfriend getaway or dude ranch experience?
- Do you prefer a spa experience after your horseback riding vacation?
What are your favorite things to do on a horseback riding vacation? What do you think makes a successful horseback riding vacation? Leave your comments below.
Top photo courtesy of Sucandi Farm, tack photo courtesy of Nancy D. Brown, winter horseback riding photo courtesy of Sunriver Stables, summer horseback riding photo courtesy of Rancho de los Caballeros.