Do you dream of a horsey vacation, but think you could never afford it? Well, think again.
[top image: Flickr: Grand Canyon NPS]
There are plenty of affordable options to get away from it all while enjoying time in the saddle–from roughing it around the campfire to intensive, all-inclusive dressage clinics and even foxhunting in Ireland! And most packages are customizable to your level of riding and what you want to do on your trip.
Here are a few of our top picks:
Camping in a State Park: Free-$25/night
Forget saving up for a vacation home–if you’ve got a trailer, a high-tie line and a tent, you’ve got all the accommodations you need for a weekend horse camping getaway. And aside from being one of the least expensive ways to go on vacation with your horse, another benefit is that horse camping is just as fun for non-riders in your group who can use the day to go fishing or hiking.
Horse Channel has a handy list of supplies you might need, and a guide to everything you need to know before your trip. Finding a park that offers horse camping near you is as easy as a Google search, but the Horse and Mule Trail Guide also has a state-by-state directory.
But you don’t necessarily have to stay close to home! Horse camping is available fairly inexpensively in many of the most famous state parks. For example, the Grand Canyon’s rates for overnight camping with your horse are surprisingly inexpensive, at $20-$25 per night. Space is limited, though–maximum capacity for the entire park is 12 horses and up to four trailers.
California Redwood Country…Plus, WINE: $50 per ride, or $955 for all-inclusive weekend
Love wine? Love riding? (Is that even a question?) Why not combine the two passions? Spend your days trail riding through ancient redwoods or galloping on the beach, and your nights sampling the amazing California wines from the Mendocino coastal region. Ricochet Ranch doesn’t have on-site accommodations, but they will help you to plan a horsey wine country weekend that will suit any budget.
Hunt with the Galway Blazers: 500 euros (about $690) for the weekend
Of course, airfare is the killer here if you’re flying from far away…but if you’re got some frequent flyer miles to burn, why not have the weekend of a lifetime foxhunting in Ireland? A holiday package at the Slieve Aughty Riding Centre includes hacking out, cross-country schooling, exercising hounds, and of course plenty of this:
A Dressage Clinic Intensive: $975 for three nights
Do you find yourself doodling your next dressage test pattern in boring meetings? Maybe a weekend of 100% dressage, 100% of the time will help you take your scores to the next level! This dressage clinic vacation includes lessons on and off the longe-line with Lusitano horses at Sons of the Wind Farm in Merrimac, Massachusetts.
Go Off the Grid at a Dude Ranch : $850 all-inclusive for three nights
Apps, email, cell phones…who needs that crap when you’re riding in the beautiful mountains of the Shoshone National Forest? The Diamond 4 Ranch in Lander, Wyoming offers a weekend package that includes meals, lodging and anywhere from four to seven (!) hours of riding a day, depending on the route. Better pack some Anti Monkey Butt.
Have you ever been on a riding vacation? Share your go-to spots in the comments!