Where to go horse riding

Gear up and take in the world on horseback, from Wild West adventures to tricks and flicksMonday, April 8, 2019

By Sam Lewis
Horses in the Camargue, France

If you're new to riding and tempted to see the world from the saddle, you're not alone. Specialist operator Unicorn Trails reports a 30% growth in equestrian adventures, including adult beginners looking to discover destinations as diverse as Ethiopia and Bhutan. And while classic favourites such as Spain and Greece are popular, there's a crop of new destinations for more experienced riders, too. In The Saddle has introduced Lesotho and eSwatini (Swaziland), while Ride World Wide is set to offer trail riding in Colombia for the first time, calling at coffee plantations and highland haçiendas.

Tricks and flicks
What:
Dressage
Where: Portugal
How: Olympic dressage rider Gonçalo Carvalho offers classical dressage lessons on Lusitanos in the town of Cascais. Other top trainers, including Rui Barroso and Nuno Velloso, also offer lessons at Quinta da Marinha Centro Hípico from €70 (£62).

Jump to it
What:
Show jumping
Where: France
How: Ex-international show jumper Johnny Harris and his wife have been coaching riders for over 30 years. An intensive week of show-jumping training at their yard near Bordeaux starts at £1,150 per person, half-board, including 10 lessons. harrishorses.com

Equestrian matchmaker

Beginner
Try… an Icelandic farm stay, with ample chances to saddle up and enjoy the countryside at a more gentle pace. unicorntrails.com

Novice
Try… grabbing a Stetson for a ranching holiday amid Wyoming's big-sky landscapes — a true taste of the Wild West. americanroundup.com

Intermediate
Try… saddling up for a thrilling trail ride in eSwatini (Swaziland), taking in the wildlife from the back of a horse. inthesaddle.com

Experienced
Try… a fast-paced horseback safari through the spectacular plains and wetlands of Botswana's Okavango Delta. rideworldwide.com

Want to see them in the wild?

Camargue, France
Admire herds of white horses galloping over the saline wetlands.

Gower Peninsula, Wales
Hike among hardy ponies grazing on the brambles and gorse.

McCullough Peaks, Yellowstone National Park
Marvel at magnificent mustangs, believed to be descendants of Buffalo Bill's horses.

Published in the the November 2018 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)