My 2 girlfriends and I would like to go on a really great 50th birthday riding vacation for all of us. I am looking for some ideas since I am the researcher for the group. Our abilities vary from excellent to average and 2 of us are more comfortable in western saddle. We all love to travel, so I am currently looking at Tuscany and one of them has said something about NZ. Anyone with great experiences???
2 of us deal with cattle regularly- so please no ranching/cattle drive type rides. Also 1 lives in WY, 1 lives in CO and 1 in NY -so very familiar with much of the US
Last edited by jubilee43; Dec. 1, 2009 at 11:42 AM.
There's also a ranch in Hawaii that does trail rides. Lots of movies and tv shows are/have been filmed there (off the top of my head I recall: one of the Jurassic Park movies, the tv show LOST, 50 First Dates, Windtalkers, one of the more recent Godzilla films...). I only took the bus tour (we called too late to do the horse riding) so I can't speak to what the trail rides are like but could be worth checking out. And then you're near Honolulu and all that too.
If you're not sick of the gorgeous WY/MT/CO scenery, why not try the Spotted Horse Ranch, just outside Jackson Hole, WY? Lovely place, and no 'cattle drive' type rides. They're also very accomodating about your riding skills, and won't put you with greenies or non-riders if you'd rather do something fast paced. There were 6 of us, and we always went out with just ourselves and our guide(s). Nothing like riding all day in the Grand Tetons!
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Can you ride English? Most European riding is English. I've done about 15 riding vacations and I recomend checking the various websites to see the following:
time frame you want to go
length, price, location
My first riding holiday was to Ireland in May '87 and it was a great choice. No language barrier, great horses, nice sized group, wonderful food, interesting terrain, and easy to get around as I flew in a few days early to sightsee and also went to London for a week after the ride. Willie Leahy's Connemara rides are lengendary as is he.
You do need to be prepared for the cold as Ireland never gets hot and it's the greenest place on earth so it rains alot. Did I mention it rains alot? But it's heaven on earth. And no too far to fly.
New Zealand is a lovely place to visit (I spent 3 weeks there traveling all over the North Island) but it's pricey and time consuming to fly there.
I've also ridden in Portugal (fabulous dressage trained Luisitano stallions), Australia, Canada, Hungary and the rest in the US.
the various companies that offer riding holidays that I know of are Hidden trails and Equitours. There are more, so google them. They are always eager to offer assistance.
The most important thing is to be in good shape for long days in the saddle and be able to post since you will trot alot.
Last edited by Heart's Journey; Dec. 2, 2009 at 01:42 PM.
Another thing that I had fun with was actually in Arkansas at a place called the Bar Fifty Ranch. They have guided trail rides (geared to your riding skills) or you can even rent horses for the day and go out on the trails yourself (they provide a map and the trails are pretty well marked). Their horses are gaited which was a neat change of pace from the sort of horses I usually ride and they were just really good horses. I was really impressed.
The ranch has cabins and rooms to rent and a really good breakfast they cook in the mornings. They're also not far from Little Rock and Hot Springs (I really like Hot Springs, myself).
It's not exactly "exotic" if you're looking to go overseas, but I think you can get a pretty good bang for your buck.
Also, maybe Monument Valley, channel your inner John Wayne.
I did a trip with Hondoo and it was FABULOUS!!! It was a camping trip, albeit very luxury with excellent food, but they also do inn to inn trips. There are no cows being driven. They have western tack, great horses, fabulous guides. Our rides were mostly walking, but honestly- I never felt compelled to want to gallop as the scenery was awesome and the trails got... exciting in places.
Or - for something different, go visit Hunters Rest (she posts here) and has a B&B in Virginia and will take you out hacking through hunt country. There are wineries, many "horsey" events, close to DC. I think she is all English saddles but her horses are all lovely, even with true beginners.
About ten years ago, my husband and I did a ride in Vermont on Icelandic Horses. I think the place is called Vermont Icelandic Horse Farm. the owner's name is Karen. We rode from one bed and breakfast to the next, over a period of 4 days. They have longer and shorter trips.
The Icelandics were wonderful! Sinfully cute, and it was like riding a sportscar with four gears, since they walk, tolt, trot and canter. The tolt is amazingly smooth and it was truly neat how they could 'shift gears' from trot to tolt with the right cue.
We also saw some beautiful countryside. We stopped and ate lunch every day - Karen had her mom meet us with a packed picnic lunch. We went in June but I can imagine doing it during the fall foliage would be wonderful. They have small groups, put together based on experience, and the trips range from just a weekend to 6 or 7 days.
The food was wonderful at the bed and breakfasts and it was neat meeting the other folks staying there. The place is located near the Sugarbush ski area.
I didn't actually manage to follow through, but looked around a lot at places to ride in southern Spain. There were tons, and the scenery there was spectacular. I was really disappointed we didn't manage to ride.
I did briefly ride in Morocco. The place we went, in Tangier, wasn't exciting, but while researching it I did find a lot of longer, more organized riding trips there. Again with the gorgeous scenery.
The Michigan Trail ride is awesome, but you need to be a member and be prepared to put some milage on your rear. It goes from one side of the state, all the way across to the other side, from lake Michigan to Lake Huron. It lasts for two weeks, you stay in primitive campgrounds in your own camper or tent. You take your rig to the next camp on the trail each morning and get brought back to your horses by a bus, then you ride to the camp where your rig is. It's a fun ride.
On a pony shopping trip to Scotland back in May, I met up with my best friend from high school (who happened to be in the same town in Scotland at the same time -- and we're both from the west coast of the US -- what were the chances?!) and on one day we went to a stable and rented ponies and were taken on a fabulous guided ride. We galloped through the hills of Scotland the backs of wide ponies, and I honestly can say it was one of the very most fun experiences of my entire life!
My "ultimate riding vacation" would definitely be in the UK. I love all the history, the countryside is the most beautiful I've ever seen, and there's no language barrier -- though they DO drive on the wrong side of the road, which takes a little getting used to!
I haven't looked lately, but in the past I've seen some amazing riding vacations offered in Ireland and Wales. I can't imagine anything more fun!!!!