My previous blog, how to choose a riding holiday part 1 covered how and when I discovered the fascinating world of horse-riding holidays. Specifically, how I selected my first two horse riding-holidays to Iceland and Egypt. The activities on these horse riding holidays were so sensational; I couldn't get them out of my head. I was enthralled and I wanted to share my incredible experiences. I would write these stories from a genuine and independent point of view outside of the travel industry. By the summer of 2012, I had come up with the idea of The Horse Riding Tourist - a series of non-fiction travel books that would give readers an idea of what to expect should they go off and explore on horseback.
This blog post is going to move on to how the third and fourth horse riding holidays that feature in my travelogue: The Horse Riding Tourist - Near and Far* came about. Those of you who have read my previous blog will know two of the biggest considerations when choosing a holiday is time and money. As the holidays that feature in The Horse Riding Tourist are for the time-bound, those of us who can only go away for up to a couple of weeks at any given time, these two subsequent horse riding holidays were chosen based on the same amount of time but a smaller budget than the precursors.
In the nine months between Egypt and my third holiday, my life had changed. Now there was a plan to write about all my riding adventures. A loose timeline was mapped out and future horse riding holidays listed. This was a long-term project that I was and still am passionate about and enjoy. With all this whizzing around my head, the big question was: Where to go next? There was only one answer. If I was going to spend the next twenty-odd years riding and writing then a very special place had to feature sooner rather than later and that place is home. I was born and brought up in Cornwall, a county on the southwest peninsula of Great Britain. With a breath-taking coastline, golden beaches, rugged moorland and enchanting woodland there really is no place like home. If I was going to write about holidays, then the destination closest to my heart had to be on the list. It was time for a staycation. Because my usual tour operator doesn’t have any holidays in Cornwall and I live there, I typed in ‘horse riding holidays’ in my internet search engine and perused the responses.
The dominant return was ‘Cornish Riding Holidays’, a family run business known locally as Wheal Buller Riding School. At the time the offer ticked all the boxes for a horse riding holiday: Onsite accommodation, plenty of riding hours each day, flexible check in and check out dates and of course the must do beach ride. After much time spent looking at the website photos and activities, I contacted Cornish Riding Holidays direct and booked a five-night break during the first week of September. This trip had all the excitement and anticipation of the two earlier holidays as I reside in mid-Cornwall and Cornish Riding Holidays is in the west. Though I had ventured down to the west of the county on occasions during my early years, I wasn’t familiar with the area. This was to be an adventure on my doorstep.
Because I had opted for a stay-at-home holiday, I still had money in the holiday fund to choose another break. The final horse riding holiday that features in The Horse Riding Tourist – Near and Far was my riding trip to the Mediterranean island of Mallorca. In my frequent browses of the Unicorn Trails brochure, I had constantly gone back to one of the many Spanish horse riding vacations on offer. In the photo that accompanied the details were horses and riders on a white-sand beach next to a clear blue ocean beneath an azure sky. The additional details promised traditional Spanish accommodation, a swimming pool, a Mediterranean restaurant and many hours of horse trekking each day. The establishment (Son Menut) also offered a week dressage programme as an alternative holiday and a thriving horse sale business. In October 2013, I was in desperate need of clement weather and hours of relaxing, yet fast riding. This Spanish retreat was perfect.
As you can see from reading this blog and my previous blog, my first four holidays were chosen for different reasons: seduced by natural wonders, a bucket list vacation, a staycation and a much-needed retreat. If you have never considered a horse riding holiday before, then get browsing through brochures and websites. If you have always dreamt of doing a particular trip or have wanted to see a particular country or sight, again get browsing. Always read the reviews on offer and ask questions either with your host or your travel agent. Save your money and budget each month. But most importantly of all follow your dreams.
My next blog post will consider riding experience, which is an important factor when choosing a horse riding holiday and for pre-trip preparations. To be notified of future blog posts and publications, you can follow me on facebook and twitter.