1. Be honest to yourself and your host or guide about your riding ability and weight.
2. Read up about the ride and be sure it is the type you are looking for – a ride is what it is, and if you don’t fit it having read all the info, then it’s not the ride’s fault! Any questions beforehand – ask.
3. Get saddle fit, or you if can’t or don’t have the time then take ibuprofen and don’t moan.
4. Check the kit list, you may not need to take water bottles, seat savers, saddlebags and many more.
5. Remember to check the local weather just before you leave. The right clothing will make or break the trip.
6. Lipsalve, lipsalve, LIPSALVE!
7. If you have any problems, ask the guide or host if they can help while you are there. Your problems may be very easily sorted in situ, don’t be shy and British about it, spit it out!
8. Respect the guide’s instructions as he or she knows the horses, terrain and riding style. Horses don’t all have the same instruction manual and it’s risky (and rude!) to assume you know better than the horse’s owner.
9. Chillax man – it’s not a competition but a riding holiday, take it easy and take each ride as a different and individual experience. Riding in the Dordogne is different to riding in the Okavango Delta, celebrate the variety.
10. Remember you’re in a different country, watch and learn rather than judge!
For more information on Dordogne Riding visit www.dordogneriding.com.
1. My best tip is to wear your boots and have your joddies and riding hat in your hand luggage if you’re flying – just means that if your luggage gets lost, you can still crack on with your riding.
2. If you are going to be riding for long hours, wear cotton jodhpurs, otherwise you do risk chaffing which can be very sore and uncomfortable.
3. Take strong painkillers – it doesn’t matter how fit you think you are or how much you ride at home, when you’re on a horse 6 – 7 hours a day for a week, you will hit a point where you need a little help with some pain relief!
4. Bring insect repellent. Invest in the best that you can buy and get advice from the destination as to what might be there when you are riding, and buy accordingly.
5. Wear a hard hat, which is lightweight and has air vents, especially if you’re riding in a hot country.
For more information on Zara’s Planet visit www.zarasplanet.co.uk.
UK Horse Riding Holidays with Caeiago Riding Centre
Our clients find that a long hot soak in the bath, or a relaxing aromatherapy massage, works wonders after a long day in the saddle, especially if their muscles aren’t used to this amount of riding!
For more information on UK Horse Riding Holidays with Caeiago Riding Centre visit www.horseridingholidaysgb.co.uk.
Church Farm Holidays
1. It is important to check first whether the holiday centre provides horses or whether you bring your own.
2. Also you need to check the type of riding available. Things to consider: Is it straight from the centre, are there planned routes and can you be accompanied, are they suitable for dogs alongside?
3. Consider what the routes are like: are they on tracks useable all the year round, are they on soft or hard ground, is it hilly or flat?
4. Make sure you have checked the accommodation fully, especially important to check pet allowances if you want to bring yours with you, and whether it will be a long distance between your accommodation and the stables.
5. Consider the horse accommodation and riding facilities at the centre. Are the stables ample size and constructed well? Is there a good provision of hay, straw and other feeds, as well as mucking out tools? Is there safe off-road parking for vehicles, horseboxes and trailers?
Finally, and if we were to give only one tip it would be: Check out the British Horse Society’s Horses Welcome website, www.horseswelcome.org, to choose or book a holiday at assured standards.
For more information on Church Farm Holidays visit www.churchfarm.uk.net.
Riding Holidays In Spain
1. Never, ever, “over-horse” yourself by overstating your riding abilities. Help us to match you to the right horse for your abilities by being totally honest, and you will have a far more enjoyable and safer holiday.
2. In summer in the southern Mediterranean expect to ride only in the early morning or later in the afternoon / early evening, as responsible stables will not use their horses in the fierce mid day heat.
3. When inquiring, it is worth checking how good the access road is and how close to town you are if you wish to sample the local night life. Many stables are based in the sierras and the access tracks here can be a challenge.
4. Always put on a high factor sun screen (at least a factor 30) and don’t forget to put it on the back of your neck!
5. Make sure you take your camera, as on longer rides the horses will have saddle bags. Last week we spotted golden eagles, bee eaters, egrets and a wide variety of finches, and that was just on a 3 hour ride out!
For more information on Riding Holidays In Spain visit www.riding-holidays-in-spain.com.