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There is practically no limit where horse lovers can go on vacation these days. What was once limited to the grassy knolls of Ireland, stony estates in England, and wine tasting excursions in California’s Napa Valley has now expanded around the globe to include locations such as Patagonia, the Great Wall of China, Spain, Tanzania, Kenya, Morocco, and pretty much any other place riders could think to go. There are equestrian vacations geared toward beginners, professionals, and everything in between. An equestrian vacation can be a cattle drive at a dude ranch, classical dressage training, casual trails, or an extreme sports experience in the mountains of Costa Rica!
Preparing for an equestrian vacation takes careful consideration of the duration of the trip, the expected weather, and the terrain to be covered. Like all trips, there are some basic supplies and apparel that simply have to be brought, but this is not the sort of trip in which an extra suitcase or two can be handled or even allowed. Packing as lightly as possible while ensuring you bring everything you need is much easier with a checklist and some prior planning.
Your Horse Or Theirs?
One major factor is planning this holiday experience is to decide whether or not to use their mount or your own. Bringing your four-legged friend requires extra transportation, planning, and expense. It also means that the two of you will have shared experiences unlike any other. Of course, clinics and training sessions generally require that riders bring their own mount and horse riding equipment, whereas most dude ranches forbid the use of anything but their own animals.
Basic Horse Riding Equipment
Most equestrian travel companies provide a list of required and recommended horse riding equipment that should be brought. The most basic items that riders must bring include one or two halters, lead lines, saddle pads, a saddle, a bridle, a stable blanket and/or sheet, and a cooler. Trailering supplies will also be needed. Obviously, this is not the time or place for horse riding equipment that is worn, shabby, or likely to break. Riders should invest in whatever replacement pieces they need prior to packing for an equestrian vacation.
A sturdy blanket or cooler will help your mount recover from their strenuous day more easily each evening, and a nice lightweight fly sheet can help keep biting insects away. With all of the hours in the saddle each day, the saddle pad must be of the highest quality. Most riders prefer a saddle pad with extra foam and moisture-wicking properties or one with built-in pockets.
Packing For People
Packing lightly for an equestrian vacation means sticking to the basics for people as well as animals. Most of the gear must be carried by the rider or packed in a suitcase, depending upon the type of vacation that has been selected. Most companies provide lodging and food, but some require that riders bring their own sleeping bag.
Riders need to make room for clothing other than their equestrian apparel as well as rain gear, a camera, sunglasses, bug spray, basic toiletries, a towel, a washcloth, and sunscreen. Sealable plastic bags, wet wipes, and extra batteries for the camera are good to bring. A passport bag or money belt is an excellent way to carry valuables close to your body and separate from luggage.
Packing all of your riding apparel takes some planning. Many quality brands have stylish new travel bags for luggage as well as horse riding equipment, making identifying your property at baggage claim all that much easier as well as making you stand out in a crowd. Riders need to bring an ASTM/SEI-approved helmet, gloves, and paddock boots. Plenty of thick socks are a good idea, and comfortable breeches or jodhpurs are mandatory.
Breeches with a low-rise waist made with stretchy fabric are the best choice. A lightweight jacket that can adapt to changing conditions is extremely helpful. Make sure you choose one with the features you’ll need, such as an outer shell, a removable inner fleece, and a hood that can be concealed or removed.
Taking the time to select the bare minimum of riding apparel and horse riding equipment for an equestrian riding vacation will free up your time and your hands to enjoy an adventure you will remember for the rest of your life as being a truly magical experience, and one that you will want to repeat again and again!
write by Duncan