Considering horseback riding can be done in the extreme cold and high in the mountains or in the sticky heat of the tropics, the weather can’t exactly be pinned down. The weather in many tropical destinations is often extremely hot and sticky. Rain can last for weeks, even in the desert, and even during dry seasons a strong bout of rain can occur, therefore waterproof and easy drying clothing is a good idea. Protection from the sun in the form of hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen are important in most rainforest locations, particularly those where you will be in rivers and lagoons. Nights, even in the hottest deserts, can be bitterly cold. In more temperate climates and mountains, rain or snow can appear at any time. One minute there’s sun, the next the sky is full of thick gray clouds. Always be sure to prepare for any possible weather condition while riding.
Many are surprised when visiting third world countries about the conditions of the horses. While operators that cater to foreign tourists generally guarantee that their horses are well fed and groomed, you’ll find that the horses provided by local guides often are skinny and full of sores. In most cases there is little you can do. If you find someone abusing a horse and not caring for it properly you may report the issue to the local government but don’t expect a warm reception. Sometimes speaking or volunteering with an NGO or animal rights group can help.
Food and Water
When traveling in a strange country eating strange foods and the chance to drink unfiltered water is quite common, as are certain ailments. Medicines to counter these travel illnesses are recommended such as antibiotics and diarrhea medicine. Only drink bottled water in many third world countries, as the chance for cholera and water borne diseases is still high in many tropical countries. If you cannot get bottled water or intend to drink water from mountain streams and rivers, or just want to cut down on your plastic bottle waste, try iodine tablets, purifying drops, or water filters.
In many of the world’s best horseback riding destinations are in regions surrounded by dense forests where insects, and especially mosquitoes, are everywhere. Diseases, not to mention annoying bites, result from these winged creatures and in tropical areas protection/vaccinations for malaria and yellow fever may be necessary. In places like Brazil you can’t even enter the country or get a visa without a yellow fever vaccination. To combat malaria there are several things you can do. Malaria tablets such as doxycycline or mefloquine are recommended to prevent the sickness, although you need to check which pill works in which part of the world as some mosquitoes are resistant to some medicines. The best protection against malaria though is basic protection against mosquitoes such as bug spray (best with DEET), mosquito nets, wearing long sleeves, mosquito coils, and the countless other remedies.