Choosing the Right Horseback Riding Vacation
Your budget and the location are your biggest choices when choosing a tour. The more isolated the location; chances are the pricier it is to reach. Your comfort level is important as well. Many horse riders are content with staying in basic cabins or camping with minimal amenities, eating simple food, and a guide that may not even speak the same language. Be sure to have a written contract stating everything included in your tour from the equipment down to the food.
There is a very wide variety of operators. Many are local operators who arrange trips with local guides or stays directly at their own lodges. Others are international booking agents that simply contract out local operators. Others are large, multi-national corporations that design custom luxury trips all over the world and use anyone from professional sport fishermen to unqualified naturalists.
Horseback Riding Tour Operators
- Cross County International (http://www.equestrianvacations.com)
- Featured in National Geographic and one of Forbes Best of the Web, these equestrian tours are some of the best around. Advanced training led by experts, castle to castle tours in Ireland, themed rides such as language learning and mother-daughter, and so much more.
- Equitours (http://www.equitours.com, Tel. +800-545-0019)
- A broad range of equestrian tours on six continents for varying skill levels make Equitours one of the best all around operators. They offer dressage training, custom tours, cattle drives, riding lessons, and a complete lineup of destinations suitable for everyone from the expert rider to the beginner.
- Hidden Trails (http://www.hiddentrails.com, Tel. +888-987-2457)
- This operator leads equestrian vacations all over the globe. Rides take place on beaches, mountain trails, lake shores, and everywhere else a horse can gallop.
- Perol Chico (http://www.perolchico.com, Tel. +011-511-9822-3297)
- This horse operator runs some of the most exclusive tours in Peru’s Scared Valley with numerous multiple day trips through the Andes and to Inca ruins.
- Riding Holidays (http://www.ridingholidays.com)
- Riding safaris in Africa and coast to coast tours of New Zealand are among the offerings of this horse tour conglomerate.
While most horseback riding without a tour operator is done by those that own a horse, the average person setting up their own tour is rare. It can be done though. You can speak with farmers and local horsemen to see about renting you a horse or taking you out in the wilderness. For isolated regions, set deep in mountain ranges, you will need to hike, camp, cook your own food, and often hire a local guide to lead the way. If you intend to spend many months on a horse exploring a particular region, you may even want to consider purchasing the animal. In many countries the price of a horse is what the local can afford, therefore even when a Westerner is charged a bit more, they still can find a horse for a price far lower than they would at home. Once you are finished with your ride you can sell the horse back or simply give it to a needy family.