Planning your first riding holiday is an exciting feeling - but you will likely have many questions before you are ready to book your trip of a lifetime!
1. Who can go on a riding holiday?
Everyone is welcome on our holidays, but it is important you choose a holiday that is suitable for you in terms of riding ability and levels of comfort. Some of our holidays are suitable for novice riders, whereas some are reserved for experienced riders only (see our page on riding levels). Big game safaris in Africa, for instance, are only open to competent riders who can ride well. We also have centre-based holidays that are open to riders of any ability: in general, riders will go out in groups of similar levels, unless they prefer to stay with their friends or family. Over the years, we have welcomed riders of various nationalities, ages, and with varying amounts of riding experience. Whoever you are, and whatever you are looking for, we will help you find the right riding holiday.
2. Can I join as a solo rider?
Absolutely! Not everyone has a horsey mate or other half willing to spend their holiday on horseback. Solo riders are very welcome on our riding holidays. In fact, most of our guests go on these trips on their own. On a horseback holiday, there are no strangers: only friends waiting to be made.
All our rates are based on a double or twin room. As a solo rider you may be required to pay a “single supplement” as you may end up in a single room, but we will try to find another rider (of the same sex) so you can share, unless you specifically ask for a single room. Some of our holidays do not implement single supplements – please make sure to ask us.
3. Can I travel with a non-rider?
We also have holidays suitable for both riders and non-riders, which is the perfect excuse to convince your partner or non-riding friends to join you! We will select a holiday that offers options for those who do not wish to ride. On safari, for instance, they could enjoy a walking safari, boat safari or game drives. On some of our ranch holidays, non-riders can enjoy a spot of archery or clay-target shooting, go on hikes or go mountain biking. The same goes for trail rides! Please make sure to look out for the “non-riders welcome” tag on our rides!
4. Do you have suitable options for a family holiday?
Certainly – not all the rides on the website are suitable for families or younger riders, but we do have a large selection of family riding holidays. Sharing the passion of horses and travelling with your family can be a headache, particularly if not all the family are riders. However, we have a solution for this problem! The best solution is a holiday in a place which is dedicated to riding: a ranch, guest house or equestrian home which offers active, fun and culturally interesting alternatives. Centre-based stays can easily adjust to families with young children. Mobile trail rides are better suited to older children, with some being accessible to non-riders. Some rides offer the opportunity to travel some sections of the trail on a camel, walking or on a mountain bike.
5. What is the best horseback holiday for me?
We have many riding holidays available and choosing the right one can seem a daunting task. The best thing to do is to get in touch with an Equus Journeys advisor and list your requirements: preferred destination(s), budget, dates, standards of accommodation, type of riding… Someone from the team will get in touch and send you a list of appropriate options. We are always on hand should you want to discuss a specific holiday in more details, or if you are unsure about any aspects of the trip.
6. How much will it cost?
We have a holiday for every pocket. Some of our trail rides in Europe are reasonably priced and we can easily work with a small budget. Horse safaris and luxury holidays are more expensive but if you give us a budget to work with, we will provide you with options.
7. What type of horse will I ride?
It depends on the holiday you have selected. Our local guides have their own string of horses that are suitable for the ride and environment. On a riding expedition or a mountainous trail ride, the horses are usually tough and extremely sure-footed. On safaris, the horses are brave and schooled to perfection. On a US ranch holiday, you can expect to ride hardy Quarter Horses with good “cow sense”. Many rides will offer you the opportunity to ride local breeds: the Icelandic horse in Island, criollos and paso finos in South America, the Mongol horse of Mongolia… This is a really exciting feature of our riding adventures!
When making your booking you will be asked to provide specific details regarding your riding experience and tell us more about your riding preferences, so our guides can match you with the most suitable horse. You will usually ride the same horse for the duration of your holiday. If you feel that the horse that has been allocated to you isn’t the greatest match, please speak to your guide as they may be able to swap your horse with a different one, or give you advice to help you and your horse better understand one another. Other holidays (usually centre-based ones), will allow you to try out a variety of horses.
8. What sort of accommodation can I expect?
On a horseback riding holiday, accommodation can vary from camping to luxury hotels, with everything in between! For each of our rides, the website will provide information on the type of accommodation you can expect. Please make sure to check this, as it would be unfortunate to book a camping trip if you cannot stand the thought of camping.
9. Who will ride with me?
Group size is usually 4-10 riders, plus guides. Sometimes less, sometimes more. In Iceland, you can ride with up to 20 other riders! Numbers vary from one ride to the next, and this is always clearly outlined on our website. Your group will most likely be made up of international riders coming from all across the world, although some rides tend to attract more French, German or American riders, for instance. If you are a little nervous about who will be on the ride (we know it can be intimidating, especially if you are a solo rider or new to the whole riding holiday concept), please let us know and we will endeavour to find out about the other participants' ages and nationalities if we can.
Our guides are all experienced and good at their job. They are usually local to the area you will ride in and always happy to share their knowledge of their country with you.
10. Can you cater for special requests and special dietary requirements?
Most rides will cater for special dietary requirements but we will need advance notice so preparations can be made for you. Please make sure to inform us at the time of your booking. On some rides, there may be a small supplement for this. If you have any other specific requests please do let us know, and we will do our best to accommodate.
11. Are there any restrictions or limits to your holidays?
There can be. First of all, each ride has its own weight restrictions so you should be mindful of this. Fitness levels are also important and you should choose a ride accordingly – altitude trails and athletic rides, for instance, require you to be really fit and healthy. In general, multi-day trail rides are reserved to riders with reasonable levels of fitness, but we also have relaxed holidays and short breaks.
12. Am I expected to groom and tack up my horse or participate in other preparations?
You are expected to look after your horse on most rides - it allows you to bond with them. You are not generally requested to help with anything else, although any help you may want to give with feeding or watering will normally be received with gratitude! On the other hand, there are a few rides where riders are not allowed to tack up the horses for safety and insurance reasons. In that case, grooms will do this for you.
We do have a few camping trips where everyone will be asked to help put up the tents or wash the dishes, for instance. If that is a problem, please talk to us so we can steer you in the right direction.
13. What do I need to bring?
You will need to bring your riding gear: boots and riding helmet. Please let us know if you do not have a helmet, as not every ride will be able to supply one. In any case, Equus Journeys always recommends that you bring your own hat to ensure a proper fit.
The website provides detailed information on what to bring, so please make sure to check the supplied packing list before you go.
14. Can you help organise a horseback adventure for a large group?
Yes, we can easily organise a holiday for a large family, a group of friends, or any other group type. We can also offer discounts for group bookings so please make sure to contact us.
15. What do “open” and “guaranteed departure” mean?
An open departure is a scheduled departure that has not yet reached the minimum numbers to operate.
A ride is shown as “guaranteed” once the minimum number of riders has been reached. However, please note it does not guarantee availability. We do try to make sure our availability is accurate but it is possible the ride has been recently filled, which may not show yet on our website. If you are interested in booking a ride, please contact us and we will make sure there is space for you.
16. What is included in the price?
This can change from holiday to holiday. In general, we include transfers (but not always – this is sometimes an additional expense), accommodation, meals, and your riding activities. We base our rates on two riders sharing a twin or double room. If you would like to guarantee a single room for yourself, a supplement normally applies. There may also be a single room supplement if you are travelling on your own (see above). It may happen that a trip needs a minimum number of riders to operate. In that case, a small group supplement may be needed to guarantee a trip, which will be refunded once the minimum number has been met. Some trips will just not operate without, say, 4 riders: if we fail to guarantee a departure, it is our policy to refund your full deposit ahead of time or make alternative arrangements. Flights are never included in the price and there can be a couple of extras such as hotel nights before/after your trip, drinks, park fees, visas, etc – this is all explained very clearly in the “dates and prices” section of each holiday. If you are unsure, please contact your advisor who will check this for you.
17. Do I need travel insurance?
We require all our riders to take out a travel insurance policy that covers medical expenses and repatriation to your home country. You should be mindful of the conditions of your usual policy: do they cover riding? If they do, does that include cattle work (if going on a ranch holiday) or riding with wildlife (if going on safari)? Will you be covered if you don't wear a helmet? This should be the first thing you do after booking your holiday and we cannot emphasise enough just how important this is. A good insurance policy will reimburse the cost of your holiday if you cannot go (if you or an immediate family member get injured or fall ill before your departure), will help cover your expenses in case of a delayed or cancelled flight, and most importantly, will take care of your medical bills if you need medical assistance during your trip.
Some credit card companies will act as travel insurance if you have used your card to pay for your holiday. Make sure to check conditions with your bank before taking on another policy – there is no point in being over insured. If you are an EU citizen travelling within the European Union, your European medical card will entitle you to healthcare services in all member countries, although repatriation is not included.
This insurance should be arranged when the initial deposit is paid, and details of the same provided.
18. What about flights to my destination?
Flights are not included but we can organise this for you upon request, or advise you on the best route to your destination. Please be mindful that our itineraries sometimes include your days of travel and you may need to land on Day 2 (mainly for holidays requiring an overnight flight, such as Asia or Africa). We can check your flight plan before you actually purchase your tickets.
19. Can you help with visas and vaccinations?
We will help you understand what documentation is required for each ride. Some countries require you to organise a pre-arrival visa, such as Mongolia or Tanzania. Others like Zimbabwe allow you to get your visa on arrival. In the United States, you need to organise your ESTA (electronical travel authorisation) online. We are here to help and will point you in the right direction, using resources such as the UK foreign travel advice (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice) or US travel advisory (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/) but ultimately, it is your responsibility to get your paperwork in order and we will not fill in any applications on your behalf.
You also need to get the proper vaccinations and required medication (depending on where you're going!). A good resource for this is https://www.masta-travel-health.com/.
20. How do you select your rides?
All our holidays are hand-picked with care. New partners have to go through a rigorous selection process to ensure they comply with our standards – they are usually guides who have been recommended to us by guests or other agencies, and who can boast excellent reviews. The safety of our riders is one of our main concerns when it comes to adding a new holiday on our website, as well as the health and well-being of the horses – but keep in mind that visiting a new country offers the opportunity to meet other cultures with different mentalities, therefore it is important to accept these differences and respect the local way of life. Whenever possible, we try to endorse responsible travel by collaborating with guides who are receptive to the matter. We visit our partners as often as we can to make sure they provide our riders with the highest level of care. We are proud to work with a fantastic selection of local guides and companies with a very high satisfaction rate.
21. Why book through Equus Journeys?
Booking a holiday through a travel agent takes the hassle out of the planning. We will give you unbiased feedback on the rides and steer you in the right direction. We also take care of the aspects of your holiday you'd rather not organise. As a travel agent, once we have found the right riding holiday for you, we will organise your journey from the moment you arrive at the local airport/train station to the moment you fly home. Flights are not included in our rates but we are able to offer you a quote if requested, or help you find the best route to take if you would rather book your own flights. We will organise your transfers to and from the airport, and can easily arrange additional hotel nights before or after the ride, including extensions! Booking through a reputable agency also offers a financial guarantee, as we are 100% financially protected. Please note that our rides are competitively priced and our commission is not added on top of your holiday, making it no more expensive than booking through another platform.
22. How do I book?
The best way to book is to call an Equus team member. We will help you decide which holiday to book, check availability and send you a detailed quotation. We will also set up your personal online travel space where you can add your personal/riding details, flight plans, etc. We do require a 30% deposit to confirm your booking, payable online in your travel space by credit/debit card (euros, pounds, US dollars) or over the phone (payments in euros and pounds only). Direct transfers can also be organised, but we do not take cheques. The balance is payable 40 days before your scheduled departure date. You can see our booking conditions online.
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