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We have developed the Equestrian Travel Guide to help you easily identify these businesses to ensure that your next vacation or day trip will be a wonderful experience. We are here for horse lovers in all areas, including international destinations, and for riders with all levels of experience and expertise. Many people think that equestrian day trips or vacations are just for experienced riders but our member businesses are uniquely able to handle first time riders right through to those with their own horses.
Be sure to check out our member feedback and read about the amazing outings and vacations that guests have experienced. Our website is designed to help you choose the right vacation or package for your needs and this feedback is helpful in discovering all the wonderful rides that are available. And the end of your next equestrian vacation we would appreciate your feedback to help others in selecting a great ride option.
Enjoy your time on the website and, if you have any questions, please contact us. We are here to make your next equestrian outing a truly positive and memorable experience.
Planning a truly memorable vacation is not an easy task, especially if you want something that is out of the ordinary. However, if you are longing for a day outing or a longer holiday there is one way to get back to nature, enjoy experiences with family and friends and spend time with some of the most magnificent animals on the face of the earth. Equestrian vacations of all varieties are the perfect match for that relaxing getaway for couples, families or groups of friends.
Equestrian Vacation Options Available
Often people assume that all riding vacations are traditional trail ride and camping types of outings. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Different small and large sized facilities in countries around the world offer a huge range of options to choose from. Most are more than willing to work with you to create the perfect vacation experience for you and your group.
For those that want the traditional multi-day vacation a trail ride is a great idea. You don’t have to be an expert horseperson to participate and, depending on the outfitter, you can choose to stay in luxury types of cabins or other accommodations if tenting isn’t your preference. Just keep in mind that you may need to work up to a multi-day ride if you aren’t a regular rider. A few daily rides and riding tours of shorter duration will quickly get your legs into shape.
Shorter daily rides are great for the entire family. Kids will learn equestrian skills and Mom and Dad can sit back and relax while enjoying the beauty of the great outdoors. There are wonderful riding tours of pristine wilderness areas, historical sites and some of the most beautiful scenery the world has to offer. With well trained horses and expert guides even if this is your first horseback vacation you going to feel right at home in the saddle.
Specialty equestrian vacations are also available that can include more of a dude ranch vacation for that authentic western experience. Beach rides are fun and offer the rider the option of spending time in the surf and sun as well as getting away from it all. For a romantic option or a getaway for you and your friends you really need to consider a horseback winery tour, a very popular option for a day ride in some of the most scenic areas of the country.
Those horse owners that want to bring their own horses will also find equestrian vacations that offer horse accommodations. This can all be arranged prior to your arrival to ensure that everything will be ready based on your specifications.
The Key Factor In Choosing An Equestrian Vacation Facility
Planning and booking your equestrian vacation and riding tours is easier than ever with websites and information online about the facilities available in the area you are interested in. However, it is important to realize that the industry is not formally regulated and there are considerable differences in the quality of both the rides and vacations offered as well as the care of the horses and facilities.
One way to ensure that the company that you hire for your equestrian vacations is going to meet your expectations and provide superior care for their horses and guests is to select a company that is a member of the ETA. The Equestrian Travel Association (ETA) was developed as a voluntary option for businesses that offer riding vacations, horse accommodations and dude ranch vacations to commit to a high level of excellence in horse and customer care wherever they may be located.
The ETA is governed by an Advisory Board made up of members involved in all aspects of the equestrian field. These Advisors support the members of the ETA in their quest to provide the very best possible care for their horses as well as outstanding experiences for their customers in all areas of the industry. All members also agree to adhere to the standards as set forth by the ETA, allowing consumers to plan and book their next equestrian vacation with confidence.
Our handy online Equestrian Travel Guide will help you select the location, duration and type of ride based on the providers operating in your area of interest. All the companies listed in the guide are members of the ETA and provide the same high quality in customer service and care for their animals.
Choosing an ETA member for your next equestrian vacation gives you peace of mind. You will know that the owners care for their horses and also care for their customers, ensuring that the riding tour and vacation you choose will be everything that you dreamed and more.
Whenever I head out on a new riding and wine tasting adventure, I try to make my mind a blank slate with no preconceived ideas about where the journey will take me. However, when we pulled into the dirt road leading to the south end of the Kundle Estate, my sixth sense told me this was going to be a ride I would never forget.
One look around gave me a hint of what was to come. There were hundreds of fragrant grape vines, endless cattle pastures and a beautiful lake that leads to a quaint building. The cherry on top of this sundae was the very warm welcome of Erin Ellis of Triple Creek Outfitters. Erin is the owner of Triple Creek Outfitters which offers guided horseback rides at the Kundle Family Estate Winery in Sonoma Valley, CA. This is the heart of the glorious California wine country!
Erin quickly introduced me to my special mount, Mac. Mac is special because he is one of many horses Erin has rescued. And like most orphaned and turned-out animals, Mac showed his gratitude by being the perfect gentleman. In addition to the rescue horses that Erin rehabilitates to work with the program, she also offers well-mattered mounts for her guests.
We began our ride through the Hereford grazing pastures. Riding along the cattle fields we experienced one of the seven different microclimates that the Kundle Estates offers. The property stretches along two miles of the Sonoma Highway and reaches an altitude of 1,400 feet above the valley floor, spanning across rolling hills into the neighboring Mayacarnas Mountain range.
Not long into the ride we came to the ruins of Dunfillian Winery where California’s first cabernet was crafted from a single varietal, bottled and labeled. These stone ruins were also a landmark that was featured in the movie, BottleShock.
As we continued our ride we began to understand what Erin had mentioned about the changes in climates because we soon needed our jackets. Once we reached the mountain top, I was completely speechless. There were literally thousands of acres of beautiful vineyards as far as the eye could see. While riding among Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, I learned that the Kunde family is committed to a holistic approach to wine growing and believe in sustainable farming. One of the many examples throughout the estate is a group of nesting boxes that were painted by local school children to naturally control rodent populations.
Riding on we reached a secluded area where Erin had set up tables and chairs for us to enjoy lunch while taking in the enchanting scenery. This lunch spot is a favorite of the Triple Creek Outfitters’ 2.5 hour lunch ride. Whether it is the delicious food provided by Triple Creek Outfitters or the very romantic grove overlooking the Kunde Estate, this particular location has seen many suitors on bended knee asking for hands in marriage!
Once we were completely full and our horses well-rested, we rode on through the century-old vineyard, the Drummond Cabernet Sauvignon. This vineyard is a tribute to the Kunde family legacy. In 1879 these vines were planted by Capt. John Drummond who imported cutting from the renowned Chateaux Margaux. Today these gnarling bud wood vines live and thrive among century old olive trees on top of the Olive Hills of the property.
I realized while we were riding through the estate that the art of wine making is very similar to horseback riding. There will never be a time when you know everything. You are constantly learning as each horse is different and unique, so is each grape and each season. It is all more of an evolution of learning than a final destination of expertise.
The official wine tasting takes place on the Mountain Top. Where else can you sit 1,400 feet above the valley floor sampling wine from the vines with which you became intimate on your ride? While we tasted the different varieties and looked out the panoramic view, we learned how each wine is made and produced. At the Kindle Family Estate Winery, everything comes full circle. We rode through the vineyard, looked down on the grapes and sipped a sensational experience. It was the perfect end to a perfect day.
A special thanks to Erin Ellis of Triple Creek Outfitters for welcoming me with open arms. It was a pleasure meeting and getting to know Erin and her horses, and I look forward to our next ride together.
I also want to thank the friendly, knowledgeable staff, especially Len, at the Kunde Estate for the one-of-kind Mountain Top Tasting. I appreciate your time and dedication to the art of wine making. Thank you for making my experience a memorable one.
While planning for an equestrian vacation, there are a lot of important factors to consider if you wish to make sure that your horseback adventure is a fun experience that meets your expectations. In addition to the regular concerns of any vacation, there are also some special considerations related to equestrian travel. The right location, the appropriate weather, and your personal riding ability are some of these that you should definitely explore before making your final horseback travel plans.
The right location
Before you schedule your travel plans for your equestrian vacation, you should first determine what type of terrain you want to trek on horseback. Whether you want to adventure with your mount through mountain trails, grass covered countryside, deep serene valleys, or sunny beaches, you will need to investigate the destinations you are interested in to make sure that the specific environment is available for a horseback ride during the time you visit there. Also, since the different locales offer various types of rides such as one-day or multi-day adventures, you will want to ensure that they offer exactly what you want. And make sure that your actual endurance and stamina levels can handle the terrain, since some may require dismounting and mounting again several times when there are difficult trails or other hindrances.
Weather that works for you
You also want to consider the weather conditions of your travel destination since this can quickly destroy your dream ride if the climate is not what you expected. Your vision of riding along a sunny beach will be quickly ruined if you find yourself in a condition that is cold and raining. For example, the San Francisco area is generally a breezy, moist and cold climate, and is known for its windy breezes even during their dry summers, so it is not the best choice if you prefer a warm weather horseback ride. Always check into the normal weather of the area and its expected conditions during the time of your trip.
At your riding level
Another crucial factor in planning your equestrian vacation is to accurately determine your riding level so you will select a horseback adventure and a horse that matches with your riding ability. Though there may be some different classifications at various locales, they are generally beginner, novice, intermediate and advanced. Beginner is either little or no experience; novice is experience in walking, trotting and short gallops; intermediate is a regular rider that includes long gallops with the ability to ride for hours on end; and advanced is all of this with the ability to control a spirited horse. A beginner or novice would probably not want to participate in a long cross-country adventure consisting of multiple days. Trying to participate in a horseback adventure that is above your riding ability can hinder the pace of other riders and make the whole event uncomfortable for everyone.
There are also some other things you may want to take into consideration as well, such as the experience of the ride leader, the condition of the horses, the tack used, lodging, and safety conditions. It is suggested you seek out this information before making final plans. And if you are traveling with friends or family members, make sure the horseback adventure will be the right one for everyone involved so that all of you have an enjoyable time.
Equestrian travel is a vacation planned around horseback activities that allows
you to experience rides or tours that offer an exciting adventure. It allows you to
experience your dream horse ride while on your vacation in a different
environment and location. Whether horseback riding on the Kohala Coast in
Hawaii or upon the Gaelic Trails to the Cliffs of Moher Ride in Ireland, you can
experience a thrill of freedom that lifts you up out of the stress of mundane life.
There are horseback rides and tours available all over the world from the
mountains and valleys of South America to the deserts of Egypt. Whatever you
contemplate as your dream ride, there is most likely a horseback adventure
already awaiting you that will meet your expectations. There are usually a large
selection of horses, allowing you to find that perfect horse you can bond with for
that special ride. And after you encounter your first horseback vacation, you may find yourself longing for more. The good news is that there are so many more horseback adventures throughout the world, that you could not possibly experience them all in a lifetime.
Another great thing about equestrian travel is that there are a large variety of options that have been created to cater to the needs of almost everyone. There are daily rides that can range from a few hours to a full day, but there are also long multi-day rides for the more ardent rider. In addition, there are dude or guest ranches in the United States and Canada that allow the rider to experience the real feel of living the old western lifestyle of a ranch rider as a cowboy or cowgirl. And then there are the lovely beach rides, where you can gallop along the shore of your favorite beach as the waves crash gently by your horse's feet. If you have ever imagined yourself on the back of your chosen horse in the location of your dreams, then you will hopefully experience that adventure on a real equestrian vacation sometime in the future. Fortunately, planning equestrian travel is no longer a difficult task since this is a growing industry. There are numerous equestrian vacation agencies that can assist you in finding a
horseback adventure that matches your personal needs and requirements.
Overall, equestrian travel can be a different type of vacation that many have not
yet experienced, but a fun and exciting one for those who like horses.
Meghan Brady, Member Liaison for the Equestrian Travel Association, communicating with all association members, while creating awareness for the equestrian travel industry by communicating with the public, travel agents and the media.