Happy Thursday Hidden Gem Travel community! It’s been one year since the world shut down, and thankfully we are now on the road to reopening. The travel business is brisk with people ready to plan their next long-awaited and much-deserved vacation, myself included 😊
This month we’re talking about vacations that allow you to pursue sporting activities, and this week it’s all about horses and equestrian experiences. You may be surprised to learn how many options exist.
As a girl, I loved horseback riding and always felt free and happy when riding.
In riding a horse, we borrow freedom. – Helen Thomson
Do you or does someone in your family love horses, horseback riding, and everything equestrian? If so, this newsletter will inspire you to dream about a vacation with equestrian experiences and suitable for everyone in your travel group.
Read on for the scoop on where you can ride horses on your next vacation…
The Salamander Resorts cater to the equestrian crowd. Gorgeous Half Moon in Jamaica should be on your list for the future, and it’s part of the Virtuoso network which means you get the perks.
Close to home in Middleburg, Virginia not far from DC, Salamander Resort & Spa has on-site stables, trail rides, and equine-centric programs that range from polo to yoga on horseback. A long weekend’s itinerary would include visiting historic sites, dining in gourmet restaurants, and visiting award-winning wineries. The resort is also family-friendly with children’s programs, a pool, and even ziplining.
Road trip anyone?
Ranches out west
Horseback riding is a big part of a trip out west when you stay at a ranch. Ranches range from 3-to-5-star experiences. In the past, I’ve mentioned Virtuoso network’s Brush Creek Ranch. Here’s a video to check out and let me know if you’d like to learn more: https://vimeo.com/bcrvideo
As a huge fan of Utah, I recommend The Lodge at Blue Sky near Park City, another Virtuoso network property. The expansive 3,500-acre Wasatch Mountains retreat has its focus on the great outdoors year-round, including family trail rides. The views are incredible from the Lodge’s 46 rooms. Relax in the gorgeous spa and infinity pool with sweeping mountain views.
For the grown-ups, High West Distillery, Utah’s largest whiskey distillery, is located on-site. The Refectory restaurant offers tastings and tours. For the kids, there’s a fantastic children’s program.
Hidden Gem Tip: If Arizona is calling you and wellness is your focus, the equine experience at Miraval in Tucson is incredible! I’ve had this experience and it’s powerful as part of the entire Miraval experience.
Hawaii’s Paniolo Experiences
In Hawaii, I’ve personally explored paniolo (cowboy) country on the Big Island and rode a horse on the beach on the Hana side of Maui… heaven!
If you find yourself on the island of Oahu, Kualoa Ranch, a private nature preserve 45 minutes north of Waikiki Beach, is well worth a visit. Kualoa offers a 2-hour horseback riding tours trek through the spectacular scenery of Ka’a’awa Valley, the landscapes where they filmed the Jurassic Park series. This is a bucket list check for anyone who loves to ride horses!
Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic
For a Caribbean getaway that’s an easy flight, consider Casa de Campo Resort and Villas, a Virtuoso network property in the Dominican Republic. Their extensive equestrian center is impressive. Beginners can learn to ride English or Western-style and how to groom the horses.
Private guides will take you on rides through their cattle ranches. Water buffalo herds, sugar cane fields, and lakes will be on display. If polo is on your to-do list, there are group and individual lessons from experts. Fun idea – hire ponies for a stick and ball tournament which is a unique family activity!
Ireland or Italy?
In Ireland, horse enthusiasts can visit the Irish National Stud located about an hours’ drive from Dublin. The grounds are open with prize stallions and the Horse Museum. It’s a gorgeous property and unique experience. I’m planning to visit later this year and will report back!
In Italy, you can ride on horseback through the Chianti vineyards. You’ll ride through lush vineyards, rolling green hills, shady woodlands, and olive groves. At the end of your ride, you’ll have a delicious Tuscan lunch of course paired with the perfect Chianti!
Uruguay, South America
This place is unique and very cool! Grab your gaucho garb and head to Virtuoso network’s Estancia Vik José Ignacio, a 12-suite working estancia set on 4,000 acres.
Beyond its white adobe walls lies bold architectural design and funky artwork by acclaimed contemporary artists. The living room’s white sculpture and Google Earth-inspired ceiling are surreal!
Foodies won’t be disappointed as there’s a dedicated barbecue room with an open pit.
The myriad of activities includes biking, canoeing in the lake, full-moon and beach-side horseback riding, polo, tennis, and surfing.
Horse enthusiasts love this ranch – riding the wide-open plains is epic!
Inspired? If you’re ready to learn more about where to ride horses on your next vacation, here’s the direct link to my calendar to schedule a chat: https://calendly.com/hiddengemtravelconsulting/45min
.Wishing you and your family continued good health,