Ten great equestrian holidays

You’ll quickly discover four legs are good on these exciting horse riding adventures



horses iceland

Ride across a glacier on an Icelandic pony, then relax in a natural volcanic hot spring. Icelandic ponies are a breed apart, with an unique gait, the tolt, suited to the wild and wonderful terrain. You’ll experience frozen scenery to melt your heart. Íshestar offer tours from €895 for four days (two days riding). Includes accommodation and meals. Flights to Reykjavíc not included. shestar.is

South Africa

Horses south africa

Award-winning Horizon Horseback combines luxury, lovely horses and big-game spotting in South Africa. Fly to Johannesburg and let the fun begin. Safaris can be tailor-made, and all levels of horsemanship catered for. Guests return again and again to what they call Horse Heaven. From €210pp per night to €2,136 all-inclusive for seven nights, with three in neighbouring Botswana. ridinginafrica.com


Horses england

Feeling a little Jane Austen? Become immersed in the Cotswolds in small groups, staying at stately homes and grand houses en route with Stately Rides. You’ll canter through woods and valleys, and along ancient bridleways, before enjoying candlelit dinners with charming hosts. And the horses? They have marvellous manners, of course. From two to five days from £550 (€690) per night. statelyrides.co.uk

Ride the Caucasus and see spectacular mountains from the backs of horses who know what they’re doing – useful when you’re picking your way across an Angel’s Pass. You’re entering an isolated wonderland of meadows and fairytale towers surrounded by snow-capped peaks. Add to that the legendary Georgian hospitality and it’s one to remember. Nine-day tours start June 27th and August 1st for £1,525 (€1,916) excluding flights to Tbilisi. wildfrontierstravel.com

Co Monaghan
Bring your horse to Castle Leslie or ride one of theirs across 1,000 acres of countryside, complete with cross-country course, woodlands, gallops and lakes. The estate has an indoor school, expert tuition for beginners and experienced riders alike, and a spa to unwind in afterwards. The castle is lovely, but rooms in the Lodge have views of the stableyard. You and your horse can stay (though not together) from €140pps, with three-day packages starting at €770 including meals and riding. castleleslie.com

Wild, mysterious, magnificent – Mongolia is both awesome and awesomely remote. Discover it on horseback, with a 14-day trek through the steppes at the southern fringes of the Siberian Taiga, where shamans still weave their rituals, and local hospitality abounds. See mountains, rivers, meadows and lakes, and maybe have a life-altering experience or two. Departs June 24th £2,545 (€3,200) excluding flights to Ulaanbaatar. wildfrontierstravel.com

Co Mayo
“Next stop Tír na nÓg!” yelled my friend as we galloped through the tide at Clew Bay and I half believed her too. Go!Trekking has short breaks including accommodation, meals and marvellous horses in this gorgeous part of Ireland. Stay at the Westport Woods Hotel and mix mountain trekking and beach-riding over a few glorious days. All levels of experience catered for. From €199pps for a two-night stay. gotrekking.ie

The Argentineans are legends when it comes to horses, so join them for a 10-day adventure from April 2nd, and spend Easter rounding up steers at the 10,000-acre Estancia La Rosita. You’ll also ride through the northern Argentine wetlands to stay, gaucho-style, at neighbouring estancias. It costs £2,850 (€3,580) excluding flights to Buenos Aires. wildfrontierstravel.com

Traverse Spain’s Sierra Nevada on an amazing equine adventure at altitude. Dallas Love trains the Andalucian and Arab horses herself, and leads the rides too. Follow ancient Moorish bridlepaths over the mountains and stay overnight in local villages en route. Choose from week-long trips to shorter breaks from March to November. Suits experienced riders. Short breaks from four nights start at €550. spain-horse-riding.com

Willie Leahy knows his horses. Master of the Galway Blazers, he’s the largest breeder of Connemara ponies in the world and the ideal person to bring you through this very special part of Ireland. Choose a six-day trip, from April to October, galloping on beaches, winding over mountains, and forging lakes. Stay overnight in B&Bs en route, and picnic with the horses each day. €1,385 all inclusive, and highly recommended. connemara-trails.com

Travel tip
If you haven’t been riding for a while, get a couple of lessons in first. Brush up on your skills while making sure you don’t spend the first part of your holiday with screaming muscles. Always be honest about your riding ability, and the type of riding you enjoy – that way you can be matched up with your ideal animal. If you say you’re a stronger rider than you actually are, the horse will find you out – guaranteed. 

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