Disney has shaped our lives in more ways than one. One of them is the picture of the couple (usually male and female) riding off into their happily ever after. End Scene. Cue romantic music! Although we hate to admit it I secretly suspect that on at least one of our holidays with our significant others, whether we are gay, straight, poly, or bi we all wish to experience this romantic scene in it. Since I like horses and romance I thought I’d help out my readers and give them some exotic places to fulfill their Disney dream of riding off into a sunset.
The Best Places to go Horseback Riding
Hawaii, as many people know, is a small cluster of eight islands off the coast of the USA. It’s just a six-hour flight from Seattle Washington and is a popular vacation destination because of its beautiful jungles, tropical waters, and lush scenery so different from the mainland USA.
Because Hawaii is an island, horses aren’t native to the land. The first horse was brought to Hawaii as a gift for one of their kings in 1803. The king liked horseback riding so much that he ordered more horses brought to the island. Thus, began the tradition of the Paniolo aka the Hawaiian cowboy. In Hawaii, the horses were used to keep the herds of cows in check.
Hawaii is an excellent place to ride horses, because apart from the idyllic beaches, Hawaii offers unique scenery ranging from active volcanoes, lava flows, to grasslands and jungles. Riding horses in Hawaii will provide you with a range of many different views and scenery that you’ll love. Letting you live out your Disney daydream. 😉
Koh Samui, Thailand
Another one of the best places to go horseback riding is Koh Samui. A tropical island in the Gulf of Thailand. It’s more well-known sister Koh Phangan, is famous for her Full Moon party and other wild jungle parties. Koh Samui is usually the calmer of the two islands, but it still has beautiful view. Horses haven’t been in Thailand very long. It wasn’t until the early 1900’s that they were brought into Thailand. Still signing up to ride one of these majestic creatures in front of glistening teal water will set your heart a fire!
On your horseback ride on Koh Samui you’ll ride both on tropical beaches and in the lush green jungle. While riding through the jungle you might see some lizards like the Tokay Lizard, small geckos, multitudes of birds, and maybe even a water monitor lizard. (They look like mini komodo dragons.) Sometimes if it’s a hot day you might even see a snake! On the beaches you’ll most likely see a Pacific Reef Egret, jellyfish, doves, and maybe even a sea eagle. Even I haven’t seen those here! Let me know if you see one!
Gili T islands, Indonesia
This might not be horseback riding per say but I still think it’s an amazing horse experience. It will definitely add to your romanticism towards horses. Saying the Gili T islands in Indonesia are beautiful is an understatement. If you’ve read my other blog post about them, you’ll know how conflicted I feel towards them. Still if you decide to go visit you’ll find this is one of the best places to go horseback riding, but I’d recommend this other unique horse experience.
How to get there
To find this experience you’ll need to walk. The Gili’s are very walkable and so you’ll want to walk from the main beach and strip area towards the far side of the island. Essentially, you’ll walk past one of their main dive schools and take a left. It’s your only option and is hard to miss. You want to time your walk a little before sunset. As you walk along the road, once you get near the other beach keep an ear out for the plodding of hooves.
A little bit before sunset is the time when the horse owners take their horses down to the ocean to bathe! I got lucky and ran into a mare with her colt. Happily, followed them down to the beach and watched as they got into the water to cool off. I even helped bathe them. It was one of my favorite experiences I’ve had in my life. If you love horses and want to share this experience, follow the above instructions.
I loved my horseback riding experience near Tucson Arizona. This area is one of the best places to go horseback riding because we got to do a trail ride through the dessert. Riding through a dessert is different than riding anywhere else in the world. Especially with big saguaro cactus and the delectable prickly pear cactus dotting the brick red ground. It’s easy to imagine being a wild western cowboy roaming through the desert taking care of your cattle in the hot sun.
Of course, the best times to go riding are in the mornings or late afternoons before it gets too dark or too hot. As you ride through the desert you’ll also need to make sure that you keep an eye out for rattle snakes as you won’t want to have your horse step on them. Since you’ll be riding at the same time that animals like to be active you might get lucky and see a coyote, jackrabbit, deer, and birds like the road runner. Yes, they do exist! Who knows you might even spot the actual coyote and road runner acting out their cartoon.
Loire Valley, France
I’ll admit I haven’t yet ridden a horse through this part of the world yet, but you can bet your bottom dollar that next time I visit France I will make sure to visit the Loire Valley for an amazing horseback ride.
The reason why the Loire Valley in France is one of the best places to go horseback riding is because you are surrounded by magnificent chateaus. Or in English, you’ll be surrounded by lovely castles and grand French estates that will leave you feeling like you traveled back in time. Now that I think of it, this might be time for a photo op! I’ll have to pack my royal robes.
As you canter across the grassy landscape, it’s easy to imagine what it might have been like to live here in medieval or even less modern times. With the sunlight glinting off of golden grains of grass and the smell of hot horse in your nose, you are feeling what many royal and aristocratic French felt time and time again. You and your riding party could even imagine that you are part of a royal hunt!
Here are some chateau’s you’ll definitely want to check out.
Cheval et Chateaux : They have 4 -7-day tours in the Loire Valley and Normandy.
Chateau de Montsoreau – This Chateau is open every day in summer for self-guided tours.
Abbey de Fontevraud – This Abbey is open every day except December 25 and some parts of January.
The Spanish are proud to be the owners of some of the oldest horse breeds in the world. Their horses are known as the Andalusian horse which originated from, you guessed it, Andalucía. Andalucía is the southern region of Spain. This is the part of Spain that has a strong Moorish history and is closest to Africa. The Andalusian horse is known as “La Pura Raza” in Spanish or “The Pure Breed”. This breed of horse was really important in shaping European history and in founding many other different horse breeds.
Horse riding in Sevilla, while it might not be quite as stunning as in the Loire Valley is still one of the best places to go horseback riding. Horseback riding here will provide you with a more rural view of Spain. Also, imagine that your experience of horseback riding is the same experience that a Roman living in Spain riding his horse would have felt too. That hot, dusty, flat, landscape probably isn’t that much different. Yes, surprisingly Spain is pretty desert like when you look really closely. Also, you’ll be taking a ride on the back of some of the oldest breed of horse in the world. Pretty cool if you ask me.
Cappadocia is an ancient region which lies in central Turkey. It is known for having stunning scenery including fairy chimneys and ancient cultural heritage. This region of Turkey is also extremely high and was formed from ancient volcanos. It’s had a long history of human settlers. There is even a UNESCO world heritage site called Aktepe “White Hill” near Göreme and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia.
This is hands down one of the best places to go horseback riding because this region is truly breathtaking and exciting. The scenery is so unique and full of history. It’s quite possible that you could stumble across an ancient archeological site on one side of a hill and then find a modern town on the opposite side.
Criollos are the horses of preference in this region of the world. They have the nickname as “The World’s Most Dependable Horse. ” Guess where they originated from? You got it from the reliable horse from Sevilla Spain the Andalusian horse. The original parents of the Criollo breed were brought over in 1504. Since then, this horse breed has been adapting to the sometimes-harsh climate of the South America. Apart from the Arabian horses hold the world endurance record, the Criollos horses are the second best. They can go for weeks eating very little food due to their low metabolism. This makes them great at surviving in Argentina’s strenuous environment.
When you visit Argentina, you’ll undoubtedly want to visit the Patagonia region. This is an ideal place to ride one of the endemic horses of Argentina. A top the back of this beautiful creature you’ll get to experience the wonder of the Patagonia area from a whole new quiet, more traditional perspective. You might even be able to sneak up on some animals as you peacefully explore the beautiful mountains of Patagonia.
No matter where you are in the world, the best places to go horseback riding are waiting to be explored and ridden. Whether you are in the tropics or colder climates horses can be found around the world. Horseback riding is such a great way to explore a new country and area. Horses have roots that connect you to deep cultural traditions and teach you more about the area where you are traveling. Let us know what you think! Where are the best places to go horseback riding? Is there a best place to go horseback riding that we missed? If so let us know by leaving comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t wait to hear from you!