Looking for the perfect getaway once lockdown restrictions lift? In this article, Jonathan Rippon, Director of Content at Horse & Country, shares his insight into some of the most popular holiday destinations for people who love horses.
We’ve been stuck indoors for a year now thanks to Covid-19. But, with the happy news that lockdown and international travel restrictions are slowly beginning to lift, hopefully we’ll be able to head off on our next adventure soon. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to start thinking about where in the world you want to go once it’s safe to do so.
What better way to see than world than from a horse’s back? On a horse-riding holiday, you can cover greater distances with ease and take in more of the sights around you, all in the great company of your equine friend.
You can horse and pony trek almost anywhere, but there are certain destinations that horse-lovers simply must visit at least once in their lives. To help you choose where to go, below are five of the best.
Bucket list destinations for horse lovers – Spain
When talking about holidays for horse-lovers, you of course have to mention Spain. Specifically, Andalucia. This stunning region has produced one of the most in-demand breeds of horse in the world, the Andalusian, and the hills, rivers, farms and coastline of the area make for the perfect horse-riding getaway. Particular highlights include the Sierra Nevada mountain range and the sandy beaches of the Costa del Sol. However, equestrian culture is so engrained in Spain’s identity that you can experience practically every corner of the Mediterranean country by horse.
Bucket list destinations for horse lovers – Iceland
There’s no denying that Iceland is a gorgeous place full of volcanic landscapes, glaciers, and some of the best opportunities to witness the Northern Lights on the planet. And, all of these amazing things can be experienced on horseback. Iceland is also a country that values and adores its native horses. Small yet hardy, Icelandic horses are famous for their special gaits, tölt and skeið, and for being more curious, intelligent, and gentle than the average breed. So, it’s definitely worth paying a visit to a stable while you’re in the country to meet some of these unique creatures.
Bucket list destinations for horse lovers – Mongolia
Genghis Khan famously founded the Mongol Empire in the 13th Century by uniting the nomadic tribes and invading most of Eurasia on horseback. Today, many of the people of Mongolia live a nomadic or semi-nomadic lifestyle centred around horses, so you’re sure to learn plenty of new tips from these expert riders. Despite being home to more than 3 million horses, Mongolia has one of the lowest human population densities in the world. So, you can truly feel like you’re in the wilderness as you traverse the steppes (or grasslands) keeping an eye out for native wild horses.
Bucket list destinations for horse lovers – The USA
The USA is a nation of horse lovers — in fact, they own by far the most horses than any other country in the world! In America you’ll find working ranches that look like they’re straight out of a Western movie, as well as every kind of terrain to traverse — from dry desert landscapes to lush glacial mountains — all waiting to be explored on horseback. Popular destinations in the US for horse lovers include Colorado and Oregon, but you’ll find elements of horse culture in pretty much every state.
Bucket list destinations for horse lovers – The UK
If you’d rather not head abroad just yet, the good news is that there are plenty of horse trekking holidays available right here in the UK. At home, you can explore rolling green countryside, coasts, woodland, and even a small mountain or two, all without having to step foot overseas. And, from adorable Shetland and Welsh mountain ponies to towering Shire horses, the UK is home to some of the most distinctive breeds of horse in the world.
There are other ways to explore the world safely too. Why not go an equestrian adventure from the comfort of your own sofa? There are plenty of documentaries to enjoy on Horse & Country’s subscription service, H&C+ — you can go journeying across mountains, moorland and rivers with Emma Massingale and her unbroken ponies (Emma Massingale: The Highlands), or travel the length of Costa Rica with Elsa Sinclair and Andrea Wady with two rescued horses (Taming Wild: Pura Vida). Or, choose from one of many other documentaries that are there and ready to inspire.
When we are able to travel again, you’ll no doubt be eager to make your next adventure one to remember. So, why not tick one of these top destinations for horse lovers off your list? Not only will you be able to experience amazing cultures and landscapes on horseback, but the horses you meet no doubt will be memorable too.