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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.
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.