Category: Blog

Eliminate confusing horse jargons (Part 1)

In this article, we will discover a variety of confusing horse-riding-related terms and jargons. 

Collection

When learning the physical ability of a horse, you quickly find that for a horse to do anything athletic, they must learn how to engage their hindquarters (hind end) and lift their forequarters (front end), also called as “being/ having collected”. As riders, we should focus on helping a horse improve its athletic ability by teaching them how to maintain collection at all times. One sign of a collected horse is a rounded topline (similar to a slight downward arch from poll to tail, with the back is the high point of the arc). Riders can assist a horse’s collection by directing them to give to pressures from the bit (bend at their poll and neck gradually) while pushing and riding forward with their hind end (also described as engaging their loin, hind legs, hindquarters, hocks, etc.).

A horse that is uncollected may travel downhill, with their withers (head and neck) put lower than their hind end. These horses may also get a nosed-out appearance or appear resistance to the bit. A horse that is uncollected, appear to be “heavy on their forehand” will be more potentially to stumble, trip or likely fall. These horses will also have a much more hard time performing athletic maneuvers such as transitions, stops, lead changes, jumps, etc.

Half halt

Half halt is probably one of the most-often mentioned yet still most confused terms in all of horseback riding jargons. While experts across many disciplines will distinct their explanation of this commonly used riding jargon, in short, a half halt is a coordinated effort to combine leg, seat and hand together in order to gain a horse’s attention, develop their collection, increase their balance and get them ready for an upcoming maneuver. The methods in which a half halt can be taught or mastered may vary, but the results are often similar: a horse who is more in tune with its rider is more ready to perform an athletic task.

Riding breeches and chaps

Riding breeches fit well, decrease the risk of blisters and, increase independent from the material, can also help riders to sit better and increase stability in the saddle. Riding breeches are a little tighter in order to avoid unnecessary creases that could result in blisters. The seams on riding breeches are also put where they do not cause discomfort. Riding breeches can been made from various types of materials – cotton, micro polyamide, polyester, and elastane are widely used.

Riding breeches can be full seat, knee-patch, partly paddle or completely unpadded. Full seat breeches generally enables a better grip on the saddle, while many people find that they get deeper into the saddle with unpadded or knee-patch breeches.

Riding breeches are created to be worn with riding boots, but they are now also worn together with riding shoes and short chaps/gaiters. On the other hand, if you have jodhpurs which are somewhat straighter and a little wider at the bottom, these can be worn with riding shoes. Jodhpurs many have a foot strap that is put under the foot to prevent the trouser leg riding up when sitting on the horse.

There are also various types of covers to provide protection and keep riders clean, dry and warm. Chaps are a practical, commonly used and simple to wear over riding breeches, riders can also take them off and put them on when being on the horse. The majority of chaps are made of suede, nappa leather, or waterproof nylon which work brilliantly in rain and foul weather.

Thermal riding breeches are also available for riders to use in winter. These can either be worn over riding breeches or simply over thermal leggings, for instance. The advantages of thermal riding breeches over normal salopettes is that they are usually made with zips that go the full length of the legs, making it easier to get them on and take off, and that they normally have a full seat, giving riders a better grip on the saddle.

Where to Go on a Horse Riding Weekend Getaway in Europe

When you don’t have much time left for long vacation, it doesn’t mean the fun should stop. In fact, an extended weekend, or even a regular weekend, is enough for a great adventure.

There are many benefits that horse riding weekend brings. Beginner riders can experience what a horse riding holiday is like without spending to many days in the saddle. For experienced riders, it can be a wonderful getaway to refresh your riding skills before joining a longer trip.

Europe has a long history of horsemanship and an abundance of destinations for horse riding including natural parks and stables. There are a countless number of riding trails that take approximately a couple of hours to several days to finish. And most of the long trails can be divided into smaller sections.

In this article, we take a look at the best destination for a horse riding weekend in Europe, which is Andalusia, Spain.

For a short yet intensive adventure in Southern part of Spain, try a horse riding weekend getaway in Andalusia – the place in which horsemanship are not only tradition but still part of everyday life.

Home of the Andalusian horse breed and an incredible landscape of many types, this is the premier destination in Spain, featuring coastal and mountain trails for all riding levels, as well as ancient Roman and Moorish tracks that are suitable for many types of transportation as well as walkers.

Jerez de la Frontera, the birthplace of the Spanish thoroughbred, is one of the best places on earth to study how to ride and improve your skills. You can start with short rides in the countryside or take lessons first. Jerez is also a great base camp for the advanced rider to enjoy beach riding in Cadiz.

If you have two or three days to spend, you must try to ride the strong Andalusian horses around the region of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the highest in mainland Spain. Seeing some of the most impressive scenery in the country, featuring lush valleys, pine forests, clear water rivers, and alpine meadows. Riding through unspoiled wilderness, visiting remote areas that can only be reached on horseback.

On the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the culturally rich Alpujarra region has many spectacular horse riding trails of all difficulty levels and old paths that lead through traditional villages, beautiful farmlands, gorges and green olive groves.

The best Horse Riding Weekend Getaway in Europe

Bundoran, Ireland
The wild Atlantic Way is the most popular horse riding trail in Ireland, stretching the entire length of the country’s west coast. Luckily, it is consists of many short and picturesque trails that you can take on if you’re short on time.

Donegal is the wildest and the most remote county in Ireland with hundreds of kilometers of beach and woodland tracks for both beginners and pros. There are heather-covered moorland, bogs, mountains, hills as well as rugged coastal cliffs.

Reykjavik, Iceland
Birth place of the sturdy and reliable Icelandic horse, featuring fjords and glaciers, lagoons and volcanoes, the Northern Lights and the Midnight Sun, Iceland is a must-visit of any horse lover’s bucket list.

Bundoran is an excellent base camp to discover the many Atlantic Way beach trails along Donegal’s coast. On a horse riding weekend in Bundoran, you’ll get the opportunity to canter along Trawalud Strand, Tullan Strand, and Rossnowlagh Strand, as well as combine beach riding with gentle trots in the surrounding countryside.

If you don’t have enough time to visit a larger chunk of the country on horseback, there are numerous short tours that last from a couple of hours to a couple of days. For weekend horse riding in Iceland, the most popular trips begin at the outskirts of Reykjavik going across the lava fields, and are suitable for both beginners and pros. Some tours even stop at the famous Blue Lagoon for travellers to relax and rejuvenate in the mineral-rich water.

If you’re expecting to spend two or three days in the saddle, then you can reach certain sections of the Golden Circle and visit the most famous attractions such as the Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss Waterfall.

Rila National Park, Bulgaria
If you’re searching for an affordable horse riding destination with pristine nature and colorful landscapes, Bulgaria is the one.

Get on the saddle and explore the unique terrain of the Rila Mountains, the highest in Bulgaria and the Balkan Peninsula. Riding trails will take you across serene pastoral scenery, pristine nature, virtually untouched forests, beautiful shores of glacial lakes getting the freshest air and the best views.

What parents should know about horse riding for kids

Your child might love the ideas of owning and riding ponies just like imagine on the bedroom wall’s photo, but before committing to riding lessons, teach them that horse riding is more than just a fun recreational activity but also can be a dangerous (and expensive) hobby.

Even if your child begins by riding on the smallest, slowest pony in the stable, it’s worth to remember that horses are temperamental beings. You must be aware of that and sign an indemnity form. You must make peace with being falls and injuries, and prepare to invest into protective gear. 


Talk to a certified instructor

Before registering to a riding school or a lesson package, talk to a couple of instructors to ensure your child is physically and emotionally ready for lessons. While riding lessons can benefit a child in many ways, make sure that they are physically strong enough and emotionally mature enough not to lash out in anger at a horse when things don’t go their way.

Teach your child to be responsibility

If your children start begging for her own pony, make sure yo teach them the tremendous responsibility of caring for such demanding animal. Let her observe the entire process at the stables, including cleaning the stables and grooming the horse, etc. So that they understand everything that riding entails, including safety and caring for a pony. Your child must know that a real horse is a different story from those on the bedroom walls.


On your own visit each riding school before making your decision. Carefully observe and research the riding schools in your area, asking plenty of questions about the safety standards and possible hazards before settling. 

Let the children stay around horses before riding to see how your child reacts around them first before making a decision. Teach them that horses can be gentle but they won’t respond well to loud noises and sudden movements

Horse Riding Weekend Getaway in Europe

Wales, UK

The home of pony trekking, Wales is a luxury trail riding destination in the UK. There are three national parks – Snowdonia, Pembrokeshire Coast, and Brecon Beacons – there’s no other way to discover its raw beauty, intricate sandstone tops, and Celtic ruins than by horse riding.

In the northeast of Wales, you can join a trail riding weekend to the remote areas of Berwyn Mountains, parts of which are close to the Snowdonia National Park. These trails are suggested for intermediate and advanced riders.

Brecon Beacons National Park provides some of the most amazing horse riding trails in the world. Hay-on-Wye is an excellent camp for discovering the 600 miles (960km) of tracks and bridleways for all levels of riders. By far the most spectacular trails are those that cross the remote Black Mountains.

Remember the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, which runs for 186 miles (300km) along Britain’s coastline, covering many type of maritime landscape. The entire trail makes up 35,000 (10,670m) feet of ascent and descent. But you can choose to take on certain sections of the route, some easier than others.

Alentejo and Ribatejo, Portugal

Birthplace of the famous Lusitano horse, a challenging terrain, and sunny climate, Portugal is an amazing destination for horse lovers. And what better way to discover the charming countryside in the Centro Region than on a horseback?

If you’re expecting a city break beyond the ordinary, there are many equestrian facilities available near Lisbon. Just north of the capital, there are trails that are suitable for both beginners and intermediate riders such as enjoy fantastic beach rides on the Setúbal Peninsula.

In Ribatejo, one of Portugal six historical provinces, there are numerous coastal trails, passing by sand dunes and lagoons, to explore the power of the Atlantic right beneath your feet or visit the traditional Portuguese villages and taste the fantastic cuisine and wines of the region.

Have a truly authentic experience in Alentejo as you ride through the charming forests of Grândola Mountain, with their famous cork, and pine trees. This is one of the last untouched areas in Portugal, with trails suitable for all levels.

Where to Go on a Horse Riding Weekend Getaway in Europe (Part 4)

Lombardy & Tuscany, Italy

It isn’t hard to see why Italy, the nation of romance, history, and culture is such a famous horse riding destination. The country features every kind of riding terrain one could possibly wish for, from beaches and rustic path through countryside to lakeshores as well as alpine trekking.

If you’re looking forward to spending a holiday or a horse riding weekend in Italy, you can’t miss Lombardy which is home to the Stelvio National Park, the biggest protected territory in the Alps, as well as another 25 regional parks. All of which makes the area a paradise for nature lovers.

Most popular horse riding tours in Lombardy are designed around the gorgeous lakes, hills and valleys at the foothills of the beautiful Alps.

Parco dell’Alto Garda Bresciano also known as Upper Garda Park has plenty of short tracks of all difficulty levels, featuring stunning views of the lake and the mighty peaks of the Bergamasque Alps. Ride the horse through beautiful valleys, vineyards, and picturesque villages to witness a breathtaking alpine backdrop will make a lifetime memory.
The province of Como offers numerous trekking itineraries. In which, riders can ride along the lakes shores for a few hours or an entire day. The picturesque Valle d’Intelvi bridges Lakes Como and Lugano offers trails on both sides of the valley, appropriate for all levels.

However, please be aware that according to Italian law, children under 14 are not allowed to ride horse on their own on public roads.

Hilly Tuscany has trails for all levels and tastes. The many stables in the region has everything one wishes to explore in the region of unspoiled natural beauty on horseback, either for a few hours or a couple of days.

Hop in the horse and take a visit to castles, vineyards, valleys and a countryside while exploring the region’s rich history, delicious food, and finest wines. You can mix these with visits to the great art towns of Florence and Siena, or the popular vineyards in the Chianti region.

Top Affordable Horse Riding Holidays (Part 2)

6 Days trip of Horse Riding in Essaouira, Diabat
Having dreamt of a Moroccan adventure? Why not turn that dream a reality by joining a horse riding holiday in Morocco?

Ranch de Diabat offers a holiday which allow you to explore the various landscape of Essaouira – Including the vast sand dunes, the deserted beaches and the peaceful fishing villages.
On this trip, walking along trails and across rivers for a minimum of 5 hours a day. In the evenings, you will enjoy traditional Moroccan meals at the bivouac as you feel the warmth of the campfire before laying on the hay in a Berber tent.
On the final day, you will be able to experience the coastline and the city of Souiri where you will have spare time to shopping or having a traditional massage before finishing the night with a lovely dinner at a beautiful hotel in Essouira.

Price: Starts at US$666 per person for All year round
Skill level: Appropriate for Intermediate & Advanced riders

4 Days Midweek Horse Riding Getaway in Queensland
Thinking about going on a quick horse riding trip during the middle of the week? Worry not. If you currently in Australia, this is the perfect excursion for you!

Situated in Lockyer Valley, Queensland, the friendly people at Fordsdale Horseback Adventures will welcome you with open arms like no other.
Lucky for you, situated just a short trip from Brisbane, Queensland is one of Australia’s top horse riding places which means that there are plenty of amazing trails for you to explore during your trip!
There are two options to choose from – The first is appropriate for beginners which includes riding lessons in the farm’s round yard in the morning and afternoons, before short trail rides. The other option is perfect for intermediate and advanced riders where they can enjoy longer trail rides with or without riding lessons

Best Horse Riding Destinations in Italy (Part 2)

Often known as Italy’s green heart, Umbria features a fresh green landscape which is popular as even more authentic than its neighboring Tuscany. You’ll be breathless by this region’s stunning panoramic hilltop views despite being small in terms of area. There are countless number of attractive relaxing horse riding trails that allow riders even beginners to explore the whole region in a short period of time.

Umbria boasts plenty of trails passing through soft rolling hills, olive groves, terraced vineyards and quiet wood paths where you will explore with the local expert guides and a well-trained horse best suited for your skill level.

As a rural region, in Umbria horses is companion to locals, the means of transportation; hence, you can rest assured knowing that the horses you’ll ride are well-groomed and cared for.
More experience riders will absolutely enjoy discovering Umbria’s hilltop castles and monasteries, beautiful valleys covered with wild poppies and small villages located around the tranquil Trasimeno lake. Within close distance easy to reach on horseback, you’ll be able to visit the cities of Spoleto, Assisi, Perugia and Orvieto.
Some extra activities must-include are truffle hunting, visiting the vineyards and tasting the exquisite local wines and hand-made cheese. 

Tip: Arrange time to visit magnificent Cascata Delle Marmor, the world’s highest man-made waterfall built by ancient Romans, managed by the power plant and being turned on and off a few times a day to demonstrate to visitors about its spectacular full flow.

How to get there:
The best airports to land on are Rome (FCO and CIA) and Perugia (PEG) which are well reach by train to Spoleto, where there are various riding centers offer pick-up and drop-off services. Due to the close distances to Rome, visitors might want to combine horse riding adventure with sightseeing in The Eternal City before or after the trip.

Best Horse Riding Destinations in Italy (Part 1)

Featured gorgeous weather, beautiful scenery, rich cultural heritage, delicious cuisine and exceptional wines, it’s hard to resist visiting Italy at least once in your life.

A long tradition of horseback riding dating back to ancient and a internationally passion for horses make Italy even more attractive for hoé riding enthusiasts. Are you ready to discover everything this “Bel Paese” (beautiful country) has to offer? Saddle up and let steady Italian horses take you on a journey through the best horse riding destination of Italy.

Tuscany

Have you ever look at Val d’Orcia by Van Gogh? This and many other of his paintings have been inspired by Tuscany’s tranquil countryside scenery featuring yellow-brown fields and lush green hillside.

This serene hillside region is perfect for riding through remote rural trails, vineyards, olive groves, farms and trees, while breathing in the fresh scent of wild herbs in the air. On your way, you’ll explore charming medieval villages and fortresses hidden away in the hillsides. Some of the famous iconic villages that of a must-do visit include Talamone, Orbetello and Monte Argentario. A horse riding holiday in Tuscany is highly recommended for those who dream about leaving their busy day-to-day lives in picturesque countryside.

In Tuscany, one can find horse riding holidays suitable for all levels, from first-timers to advanced riders. However, since there are too many accessible trails and stables with calm, and well-trained horses, this region is particularly ideal for beginners who are looking to develop their horsemanship and skills quickly.

While Tuscany is fairly huge region, one of the most beautiful areas for the ultimate horse riding experience is the Maremma region, featuring the medieval city of Grosseto as a starting point. From that, journey through rust-colored tracks and grassy hills, pass through winding avenues with chestnut, almond and fig trees and experience some horseback-swimming in the clear water.