Five years ago this month I launched Writing Horseback – Your Guide to Equestrian Travel Deals and Lodging Reviews. It’s been said that when you begin a travel blog you should pick a topic that is passionate to you. Like many young girls, I always dreamed of owning a horse. After owning three Quarter Horses in my youth, I moved on to college and pursued a career in journalism. In 2009 I created Writing Horseback, combining my passion for travel with my love of horses.
In celebrating five years of Writing Horseback I present to you five memorable horseback rides from around the world.
Best horseback riding vacation was in Bergen, Norway, riding this Fjord horse from Øvre Eide Farm
5 Memorable Horseback Rides
Bergen, Norway is a delight. The Norwegian people are beautiful and friendly, the landscape, with soaring fjords and magical Northern Lights, is stunning and have you ever laid eyes on a Norwegian Fjord horse? The Fjord horse is one of the most gentle and versatile horses I have had the pleasure to ride.
Øvre Eide Farm, located a mere 10 minutes north of Bergen’s city center in the countryside near Jordalsvannet Lake, is worth a visit if you want to connect with nature in a historic setting. They offer horseback riding, tours with the farm animals and a chance to sample Norwegian foods in a historic farm house.
Horseback riding through wild flowers at Lone Mountain Ranch, Big Sky, Montana
Big Sky, Montana horseback riding vacation
Big Sky, Montana is a favorite destination for horseback riding vacations. I’ve had the pleasure of horseback riding in Yellowstone National Park and riding through the wide open spaces of Big Sky. Montana offers so many opportunities for outdoor adventure travelers, from world-class blue ribbon fly fishing to skiing, winter sleigh rides and scenic trail rides.
One of my most memorable horseback rides was at Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Montana. Our group of four equestrians and a wrangler were all experienced riders so were were allowed to trot and lope on the trail. Ours was a magical horseback ride through Montana wild flowers.
Horseback riding holiday in British Columbia, Canada
British Columbia horseback riding holiday
Cariboo country is horse country in Canada. Home to big ranches – we’re talking the 38,472 acre Gang Ranch on the Frasier-Chilcotin Plateau west of Williams Lake – the Cariboo Chilcotin area offers some of the best horseback riding in British Columbia. Cariboo country is where Marlboro filmed their famous cigarette television commercials featuring ruggedly handsome cowboys riding beautiful horses in the rolling countryside.
One of my most memorable horseback rides in Canada was with the former general manager of Big Bar Guest Ranch, Flint Bondurant and wranger Bill Spoonemore. Once again I found myself riding a gorgeous Fjord horse, this mare was named Holly. The 105 acre Big Bar Ranch has a relationship with the neighboring OK Ranch, giving us access to an additional 1,500 acres to ride.
Big Bar Guest Ranch has changed hands since my visit, so I no longer consider my dude ranch review current. I hope to return to Big Bar Ranch to provide an update on the new ownership. If you have visited the ranch recently, please let us know your thoughts. I have also ridden horseback several other places in Canada and enjoyed all of my trail rides.
Horse holiday in Sao Miguel, Portugal
Horse riding holiday in Portugal
I had visited Portugal before, but I had never traveled to the Azores – nine volcanic islands situated in the North Atlantic Ocean. If you enjoy horseback riding, you’ll love riding in Portugal. However, if you are not an experienced equestrian, or if you prefer enjoying the scenery without riding horseback, I suggest a horse-drawn carriage ride.
The family-owned Equiazores offers Portuguese riding exhibitions with dinner at their São Miguel equestrian facility, horseback riding on the island and horse-drawn carriage rides around the town and the beautiful Lake of Seven Cities (Sete Cidades.)
On another day, I was able to ride with Quinta da Raiadas using an authentic Portuguese saddle. The owner met me in the small town of Ginetes on the island of Sao Miguel. He had planned to take me on a full day ride (six hours including lunch) around Sete Cidades (the Lake of Seven Cities) but due to a recent hip replacement, I was not confident in a day long horseback ride. Instead, Owner Salomão Oliveira adjusted our plans to a half day ride with lunch at a local restaurant.
Horseback Riding Vacation in Wickenburg, Arizona
Horseback riding vacation in Wickenerg, Arizona
Rancho de Los Caballeros Naturalist Dick Fredrickson of Wickenburg, Arizona said it best, “for many people, the Sonoran desert is like coming to another planet.” With giant Saguaro cactus the size of Paul Bunyan, feral burros and birds like the Roadrunner zipping their way around jumping cholla – also known as teddy bear cholla – this places makes for a memorable horseback ride.
I confess that I like a massage or a dip in the swimming pool after horseback riding in the Sonoran desert, so I was all over Rancho de los Caballeros. This family-owned dude ranch gets my vote for a luxury Arizona vacation destination. Horseback riding in the Sonoran desert was certainly one of my top five best horseback riding vacations.
Celebrating 5 years of Writing Horseback
While it is difficult to whittle down my 5 most memorable horseback rides to one blog post, I have tried to present memorable horseback rides around the world.
Over the month of July, I plan to present five blog posts celebrating five years of Writing Horseback. Stay tuned for my 5 Memorable Dude Ranch Vacations, 5 Best Meals on the Trail, 5 Best Horseback Riding Photos and my 5 Worst Horseback Rides.
What are your most memorable horseback rides?
Article by Equine Writer Nancy D. Brown