When you think of “adventure travel,” what crosses your mind?
- White water rafting?
- Scuba diving?
- Something as sedentary as a cruise ship or land rover safari?
Those ideas lose their “adventure” status when you compare them
to galloping on a horse in Africa with a zebra and wildebeest
racing along side you, or quietly observing the elephant and
How can a traveler visit the remote parts of the world’s most
beautiful and interesting places while . . .
- Practicing a fascinating sport
- Avoiding polluting
- Keeping in harmony with history and nature
- Being free to explore exotic locations
- Making friends in remote places, and
- Sharing the experience with a willing animal?
Have you ever considered the tremendous advantages of adventure
travel on horseback? A horse can take you to beautiful and
remote places which are difficult to reach in any other way. At
the same time, you can practice a challenging sport which has
been a favorite of mankind for millennia.
Destinations like Africa, Asia, Europe and South America offer a
wonderful variety of adventure tours on horseback. Though
comparatively little known to Americans, the British and
particularly the French have highly developed the riding tour
concept in many parts of the world. In many locations in the
United States rights-of-way for horses have been lost, but many
still exist in other countries.
Horses and horseback riding are deeply woven into the culture and
history of most cultures from Argentina to Ireland. This is how
our ancestors traveled and for those with a sense of history
there is no more appropriate way to go. If you arrive in a
foreign place on horseback, you will most likely be
enthusiastically greeted by locals with waves and smiles which
greatly facilitate meaningful contacts. Those who arrive by bus,
on foot or on a bicycle are usually ignored. Horses are a great
introduction and ice breaker almost anywhere.
If you seek a wilderness adventure, then horses are the way to go
unless you want to walk and carry your equipment. Riding tours
can take you from inn to inn, castle to castle, palace to palace
or from one comfortable camp to another. Costs are very
reasonably compared to biking or bus trips.
Horseback riding adventures vary widely in the skill and
experience required to handle them safely. Most of these tours
move out at all paces and include some good gallops so that one
can cover 15 to 35 miles in a day. Beginners need several days
of instruction before attempting even an easy trip, but those who
are reasonably fit, not too overweight and have open minds can
catch on very quickly. A week of intensive riding with good
instruction can easily prepare most people for the less demanding
One of the enormous advantages of travel on horseback is that you
are sharing the adventure with a willing animal who is also
interested in the sights and sounds and who loves a brisk gallop
on a beach or open plain as much as you do. A day in the saddle
is also great exercise and riding is an excellent way to keep fit
while having fun. It is far more interesting and satisfying than
sitting confined in a bus or land rover all day which really
isn’t adventure travel at all. Another dividend is the keen
appetite you develop after a day in the saddle for the delicious
food you will be served.
On an African ride, a good horse can outdistance an irate Cape
buffalo or elephant and keep you safe. Comfortable camps are set
up for you each night, the food is excellent and the service
superb. Or try a horseback tour visiting the castles of the
Loire Valley and ride into the courtyards on your horse like a
knight of old. You can gallop along forest tracks where the
French aristocracy once chased the wild stag. There is a broad
spectrum of possibilities available for horseback riding
If it appeals to you to travel in harmony with nature without
using polluting, noisy machines or an unresponsive bicycle, then
you should look into horseback riding tours.