From riding through Botswana's Okavango Delta to a horseback adventure at an 1890s Oregon ranch, here are ten of the most promising equestrian adventures to be had around the world.
La Dolce Vita
No, the cowboys of Maremma, Tuscany aren’t decked out in Armani and Gucci but the “butteri” have been around for at least 250 years. You will stay at L’Andana, chosen by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Leopold, as the site of one of his villas. On a local farm, the butteri will show you how to manage the Maremmana cows and catch the calves. All riding abilities welcome.
You can choose how many days you ride during your stay, giving you time to enjoy some of Tuscany’s numerous distractions. And, if you get a bit peckish, the hotel has its own Michelin-starred restaurant, La Trattoria.
L'Andana, in Tuscany
The Okavango Delta is a horse rider’s paradise and the Delta Ride is unlike any other. Rather than a permanent riding camp, a lightweight mobile camp is transported by a flotilla of mekoro (traditional dugout canoes) poled by members of the local community. The camp is extremely comfortable in lightweight tents with standing room and fully made-up stretcher beds.
The riding is unsurpassed and the wildlife is astonishing. The ride is only suitable for intermediate to experienced riders.
If you are a tad rusty in the saddle and could do with brushing up a bit ahead of the big ride, where better to get up to speed than at the gallops at Slades Farm, nestling in the Surrey Hills. It’s just 30 miles (48km) outside London and you can do anything from a half-day to a few days.
Costa Rica summer
If you want to combine horseback riding with a touch of wellness, where better than Florblanca, a luxury retreat set in the untouched Costa Rican jungle. When not riding, there’s hiking, zip lining or just stroll down to the beach and catch a wave or two. After a hard day in the saddle, unwind in the Bambu Spa or up your wellness quota with a yoga or Pilates class.
Red hot Chile
If it’s the gaucho life that you’re after, this eight-day horse-riding escapade along the Torres del Avellano trail in the remote Aysen region of Chile might be just the ticket. Each day consists of around five to seven hours in the saddle, trekking along sandy tracks through the vast Patagonian landscape of granite towers and beautiful rainforest valleys dotted with lakes and rivers. The tour is geared for experienced riders.
The Bulgarian Golden Treasure Trail ride is a unique opportunity to explore the cradle of Renaissance Bulgaria and spots where pre-Christian Thracian gold has been discovered. Ride on a five-day forest trail through rural pastures and mountains to the west of Sofia.
Song of Camargue
The Camargue is renowned for its beauty and wild horses. Your trip will start in Marseille before heading to the medieval village of Lauris, where the horses are stabled. These trail rides offer to take you through the delta plains of the Camargue with its pink flamingos and beaches, through ancient fortified towns and villages, over the Alpilles mountains and into the heart of Provence and the Rhône valley.
The Oregon Trail
The Long Hollow Guest Ranch is one of the oldest ranches, dating back to the 1890s. Guests spend their time helping the wranglers to move cattle from pasture to pasture and round up strays and there are opportunities to enjoy scenic trail rides across Oregon’s high desert landscape. The ranch caters to all levels of riders.
Enjoy rides through Oregon's high desert
Passage to India
Riding Marwari horses through the deserts of Rajasthan will kick-start the spirit of adventure of any rider. Itineraries are tailor-made to suit the guests, keeping riding ability and time duration in mind. The semi arid shrub and bush country makes for ideal riding terrain. Guests get the chance to experience rural Rajasthan up close. The opportunity to visit villages and interact with local folk is part of the horse safaris.
Jerez is the equestrian epicentre of Andalucia, as well as the sherry capital and a hotbed of flamenco. When not riding, you will visit the world-renowned Royal Riding School, National Stud Farm and a bodega
for a spot of sherry tasting. If you arrive during the Feria del Caballo (horse fair) in May, it is possible to ride in the celebrations (intermediate to advanced for Feria but riders of all abilities are welcome for all other riding).
A seven-night itinerary with Equestrian Escapes (01829 781123; equestrian-escapes.com) starts at £975, including accommodation on a B&B basis, but excluding flights and transfers.