I’m a little late with my New Year’s aspirations (better than resolutions) but I’m still thinking about where, when and how I want to get in the saddle this year. My plan is to find an instructor willing to take me out on a few English pony trekking lessons to prepare me for the speed and duration of riding trips in parts of Europe. I’ve also made a list of excursions I’d love to do this year, even if I only get one (or hopefully two) crossed off the list. Here’s my dream ride selections so far:
Mountain Top Inn and Resort in Vermont claims to offer all the outdoor activities I can fathom, but of course the highlight is riding, including trails through the Green Mountain National Forest. I’ve been to Stowe and surrounding areas, though not on horseback. So the Inn’s three-day riding experience that includes lodging and breakfast and two-hours of riding each day, along with use of pool, hot tub and fitness centre is on my fantasy equine vacation list. Best part is, it’s dog friendly so you can bring Fido too. (Or in my case, Victor).
Irish Castle and Monastic Ruins – Five days of riding across the Irish countryside sounds amazing, especially the ride for novice levels. However, I’ve been on trail ride before in Europe (see my Wales posting) and their standards of ‘some experience’ are radically different from mine. (I’ll definitely have to bone up). The excursion stops at castle ruins, a small town and maybe a pub, then overnight at a farmhouse inn. How can you get more classically rural Irish? Sign me up, as soon as I can get a week off, a ticket to Shannon, and a little more confidence cantering across open fields. Frankly, any equine adventure through Ireland is on my bucket list.
Spanish Riding School – Any Spanish Riding school will do, but there was one in particular I researched years ago and I’m trying to determine its current status. Participants stay in a castle, take riding lessons on the school’s beautiful Andalusians in the morning then head out with the castle’s owners to local villages and restaurants in the afternoon. Before flying home, I’d have to spend a day or two in Barcelona, of course.
Cowboy Treking through Banff – Luxury trail rides is the promise The Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies association, which is once again planning horse vacations through the Canadian Rockies this summer. Landscapes are beautiful, yet I rarely enjoy hiking through them. Put me on a horse, however, and suddenly the world of foliage and fauna is spectacular. According to promo material, this ride includes “mountain peaks and green valleys, crystal clear streams and forest trails, outdoor home cooking, horses and great fun.” Forget skiing, clearly mountains are for sure-footed Quarter horses and a comfortable western saddle.
Now, I just have to get there.