Preparing for your Riding Holiday
For the majority of situations: light hybrid riding/hiking boots with a decent sole and heel, worn with short chaps.
Dressage lessons: short boots with chaps (or long boots if you prefer).
Horseback safari: light hybrid riding/hiking boots with short chaps. Long boots can get very hot. Full chaps can be useful because they protect from thorns. Don’t take your best leather boots as they could be damaged. If visiting the Okavango Delta during high flood waters then it may be worth taking two pairs.
Ranches and cattle drives: short boots with chaps or cowboy boots.
If travelling in remote locations, then take a pocket torch with a dynamo which doesn’t require batteries, choose biologically friendly liquid soap for washing in rivers and take a hybrid solar charger for charging your batteries.
We always recommend that you take your own hard hat to ensure a good fit. On some rides hard hats are compulsory. Nowadays there are many manufacturers of lightweight helmets, such as Troxel, which are ventilated and more comfortable in hot climates. There are also products available which fit over your helmet to make them look more like Western hats or to provide a brim for shade.
Can be essential dependent on your destination. Waterproof over trousers and jackets such as Barbour or Goretex protect against persistent rain. Avoid ponchos or flapping capes as they do not protect well and can frighten the horses. Always dismount your horse when adding waterproof layers.
Whatever you usually ride in and are most comfortable in - make sure you have worn them before travelling so you know they don’t rub. Breeches, jodhpurs or a pair of jeans (without inside seams) are the most common. On ranches your guides will likely wear jeans or thick canvas trousers.
Are often, but not always provided for you - they are fixed behind or in front of the saddle and allow you to bring small items with you, such as water bottles andsuncream. If you need to buy your own then choose flexible materials which are light and waterproof, but bear in mind that not all horses are happy to carry one. Leather or nylon laces are a cheap alternative for tying extra layers/jackets to the back of your saddle.
10 PIECES OF ADVICE FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS
1 - The best pictures are taken on foot! With the agreement of the guide, ride ahead of the group, dismount your horse, choose the sport mode and take photos of the group approaching you.
2 - For pictures taken on horseback, try to ride slightly to one side of the group, keep hold of your reins and talk to your horse.
3 - Take pictures of the horses and their riders in motion. Focus on a section of the group - odd numbers of riders seems to work well.
4 - Early morning light or late afternoon light is preferred.
5 - To frame your subject well, move him out of the centre and respect the proportion of 1/3 sky, 2/3 earth or vice versa, and ensure there is something of interesting in all four corners of the picture.
6 - Use the automatic "burst" mode because horses rarely stay still for long adjustments!
7 - Favour a compact camera which has a built-in stabilizer and UV protection filter. Bulky cameras are not sensible on horseback.
8 - Take enough spare batteries with you and save your battery life by avoiding using the screen and not letting the batteries get cold.
9 - Protect your camera from dust, bad weather and falls by keeping it in your jacket, bumbag or in a bag attached to your belt and put the lanyard over your head.
10 - Ask the consent of people you meet on the trail before taking their photographs.