Things to Consider When Booking a Luxury Horse Riding Holiday

Whether you’re dreaming of pony trekking across the stunning Welsh Brecon Beacons, a trail ride through the Andes or flying over fences within the breathtaking scenery of Dartmoor National Park – an equestrian escape is a holiday like no other!

For those travelling with their companion, a riding holiday is an opportunity to bond with your horse through new and exciting experiences, away from the routine of everyday life. Guests who choose to hire horses from us experience the thrill of Dartmoor atop forward-going hunter types, learning about the terrain on the moor from the horses and soaking up the landscape as they go.

Whenever or wherever you go, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind before you book your horsey holiday…. 

Insurance 

First things first, Insurance. 

Before booking a horse riding holiday, whether it be a trekking cross country on Dartmoor or cantering along with a beach in an exotic location, insurance is an absolute must.

When shopping around for horse riding travel insurance, you need to consider:

  • Does your policy cover you and your horse
  • If you’re heading abroad, make sure you’re insurance covers overseas travel.
  • You need to make sure your insurance covers all the activities you’ll be enjoying on your riding holiday; those planning on jumping, eventing or playing polo will need additional cover. 
  • Be prepared – make sure your insurance provides sufficient cover for personal injury, emergency medical expenses, legal expenses, personal liability and any other unplanned circumstances.

Duration

Duration is a big consideration when it comes to a horse riding holiday, you must remember – if you’re not used to riding for extended periods of time, 7 full days riding is going to be tough going! 

For the health and safety of you, and your mount, pick a horse riding holiday destination and activity that will suit your riding ability and stamina; while you might love testing your riding skills, you’ll be in unfamiliar surroundings, and possibly even a different climate – don’t put yourself, or your horse in danger. If your horse is used to gentle one-hour hacks rather than exhilarating canters across Dartmoor – it’s wise to have a vet make sure they are sound before you travel.

Your yard/ holiday provider should advise you on the best holidays and experience to best suit your riding ability.

At Liberty Trails, we create bespoke luxury horse riding holidays, tailored exactly to your needs. Book a consultation today, and let us turn your dream equestrian escape into a reality  

Will you take your own horse or hire one?

When booking your equestrian escape – you need to ask yourself how much of a holiday you actually want. Do you want to be up at the crack of dawn feeding and grooming your horse, or would you prefer your ride to be tacked up and waiting for you each morning?

Many of our guests choose to hire one of our forward-going horses, turned out in the evening and fed, groomed and tacked up each morning by a member of Liberty Trails staff, but others choose to bring their own horse to ride.

If you plan on taking your own horse on holiday, you’ll need to consider his stamina and pick a riding activity that suits his abilities. Those enjoying a short break on beautiful Dartmoor will need to ensure their horse is comfortable working in vast, open country and challenging terrain.

Transport 

If you choose to take your own horse on your luxury horse riding break – how will your horse get to your chosen horse riding holiday location?

Legislation states that all vehicles used for towing and horseboxes under 3.5T should have a current MOT certificate, and horseboxes over 3.5T should have an up-to-date plating certificate.

If you’re transporting your horse in your own trailer or lorry, it’s important to carry out the necessary checks before embarking on your journey, particularly if your trailer has been out of use for some time. 

These checks must include but are not limited to:

  • Checking the body of the vehicle or trailer for signs of damage including damp, rot and rust. 
  • Inspection of interior vehicle safety including flooring, breast bars and partitions.  
  • Ensuring tyres are sufficiently inflated, have adequate tread, and are free of any stones and bulges. 
  • Testing of all electrical connections, light and indicators.
  • Ramp checks. You should check your ramp for signs of damage or corrosion every time you load your horse; any damage should be inspected by a professional before travelling.

If you’re heading further afield, you may need to fly your horse to your chosen holiday destination, and although the prospect of waving goodbye to your equine companion while they board a plane can be a daunting one, thousands of horses are safely transported by plane every year. 

Horses will typically fly in the pressurised deck of a cargo plane, where they are accompanied throughout and provided with hay and water by qualified equine air travel staff. Once your horse has arrived in your destination country, he or she will be required to spend a period of time in quarantine. The quarantine time can vary greatly by country, from 7 days in America to 14 days + in Australia. 

Just like riders, horses travelling abroad must have appropriate vaccinations and travel documents. While the requirements vary slightly from country to country, when travelling internationally with your horse, you will require:

  • Health certificate issued by DEFRA, countersigned by a vet
  • Horse Passport
  • DEFRA-issued export license (if travelling abroad)
  • Equine insurance documents
  • Vaccination and other related documents
  • Any documents required by the destination country

Naturally, the cost of equine air travel varies depending on destination and provider, but you should expect to pay anywhere from £3,000 upwards to transport your horse by plane.

Animal Passport

Regardless of destination, whether it be Dartmoor or Denmark – you must carry your horse’s passport with you at all times. It is a legal requirement that the passport be kept with the animal, even at your home stables.

In June 2018, the UK government introduced new legislation requiring that all horses, ponies and donkeys be microchipped by October 2020; and while we are still six months away from the stipulated deadline, for your horse’s safety, and your protection we strongly advise your horse is microchipped.

Equipment

When booking your horse riding holiday, it’s important to establish which equipment is supplied by your riding centre or yard, and which equipment you’ll need to bring along yourself. Many yards and riding centres are happy to provide riding hats, however, most of our guests chose to bring their own. 

The basic equipment you’ll need for yourself:

  • Riding hat.
  • Jodhpurs or other suitable riding trousers.
  • Sturdy boots with a small heel – your boots should be suitable for the type of riding you plan on doing. Wellington or paddock boots are not suitable.
  • The terrain on Dartmoor is fast-paced and rugged; for the health and safety of our guests, we recommend even experienced riders wear a body protector.

Even in the height of summer, the British weather can be unpredictable. We strongly advise our guests to pack for all eventualities – it’s not unheard of for us to experience hail in June out on the moor!  

Obviously, if you’re bringing your own horse, there’s a long list of equipment you’ll need to bring along for him. The basics are:

  • Feed & supplements – even if you choose to stable your horse on full livery, feed and supplements should always be provided by the owner on a self-catering basis – a horse riding weekend is no reason to disturb your horses’ usual nutritional schedule!
  • Tack – naturally, you’ll need to bring your own tack including saddle, reins and bridle, as well as saddle pads, rugs, boots, wraps and any extras you use in your day-to-day riding.
  • First aid kit – heaven forbid you should need it, but we always recommend travelling with a small, but comprehensive equine first aid kit, in case of any minor injuries. 
  • Grooming equipment – your horse will need to be groomed each day to remove loose hair and dirt, and their hooves picked before and after exercise to prevent infection.

Here at Liberty Trails, we offer bespoke luxury horse riding holidays, tailored to meet your exact wants and needs. To book a consultation, or to discuss your next equestrian escape, call one of our luxury riding holiday coordinators today on 01822 851463.

To check availability please email enquiries@liberty-trails.com

Our UK Riding Holidays

THE ULTIMATE ADVENTURE

Ride wild and free across Dartmoor and explore one of the most spectacular landscapes in the UK.

A FAST-PACED, EXHILARATING RIDING EXPERIENCE

Bring your own horse or hire one of ours and relish the thrill of riding at hunting pace across Dartmoor.

THE HEIGHT OF LUXURY

Enjoy opulent rooms, unparalleled service and indulgent spa treatments to revive, relax and restore both body and spirit.

Close Up shot rider and Horse at stables

SUPERB STABLING

Your horse will have the care and attention of our resident yard manager in our exclusive stable yard in the heart of Dartmoor.