On a recent solo trip to upstate New York, I decided to try something I'd never done before; horseback trail riding. And I fell in love. I was a little anxious about doing this on my own. These are large animals and you never know what could go wrong. Luckily I found Painted Bar Stables, owned and operated by Erika Eckstrom. They specialize in horseback riding classes and trail rides for all levels. I couldn't have asked for a better experience! I decided to ask fellow bloggers for their recommendations and put together a list of horse trail rides that will actually leave you speechless. If you are looking for an activity on your next vacation check out the following horse trail rides around the world.
Horse Trail Rides Around The World
Horseback Riding Classes in Upstate NY, USA By Pamela From Travel Like a Chieff
Painted Bar Stables is located in Schulyer County, N.Y., in the Finger Lakes wine region. Whether you are a beginner or advanced rider, there is a horse and a trail for everyone. Erika knows all her horses' personalities and does a fabulous job matching riders with the right companion.
Pepsi, a 20-year-old veteran horse was my match and a great one at that. Erika takes the time to thoroughly explain what will happen on the trail and how to manage your chosen horse. Just like people, the horses have their own personalities and can respond differently.
The stable is set amidst the Seneca Lake wine trail and the landscape is beautiful. Depending on the length of the horse trail rides you can enjoy the Finger Lakes National Forest or stay close to the stables for shorter rides. If you are interested in horseback riding classes or simply horse trail rides, you can book here.
Horseback Trail Riding in Viñales, Cuba by Talek from Travel with Talek
About 4 hours west of Havana, in the capital of Cuba, is the beautiful Valley of Viñales. This lush terrain is dotted with massive limestone cropping also known as Mogotes. It is the central tobacco-growing region of Cuba where the best Cuban cigars in the world come from.
There are many things to do in Viñales. You can explore underground caves and rivers, visit tobacco and coffee plantations, party the night away on the main drag, Cisneros street or enjoy an authentic roast pork meal in the countryside. One of my favourite activities is to go horseback trail riding through the luxuriously green countryside. You can rent horses for a couple of dollars an hour. The guides are real-life Cuban cowboys who will show you the most exciting and spectacular scenery in the area. You can trot through rivers, gallop across meadows or stroll through town on your horse. This has got to be one of the best horse trail rides anywhere. Read more about Horseback Trail Riding in Viñales, Cuba here.
Horseback Riding Excursion at Estancias Torres del Paine, Chile By Cambpell & Alya from Stingy Nomads
My first horseback trail riding experience started in Argentina where I went on a long trip riding a horse. A couple of years later when we were in Torres del Paine, a beautiful Chilean National park in Patagonia, I decided to repeat my experience and went on a horseback riding excursion. It was fantastic!
We had previously explored the park quite extensively on foot. We did the O circuit and spent a week in Torres del Paine but riding a horse around the park was an entirely different experience.
The tour at Estancias Torres del Paine was easy to arrange, we didn’t even book in advance. There are different routes to choose from like a short one hour walk or a whole day tour. We decided to do two paths: Cerro Paine route that takes riders to the part of the park rarely visited by hikers and Nordenskjold Lake. Both are about 3 hours long.
The routes offer spectacular scenery of the mountains, lakes and rivers, we even got a chance to see some animals like guanacos, armadillos, condors and foxes. The ride was very relaxing, all horses were calm and well-trained, so anybody could do it, even children. All tours start in the morning but not too early, between 9 am and 11 am. Best time to visit Torres del Paine is summer, December to March, when it’s warm and sunny.
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Horseback Trail Riding in Song Kul, Kyrgyzstan By Megan From Megan Starr
One of the most renowned places in the world for its culture around horses and riding horses is undoubtedly in Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia. And one of the best places in Kyrgyzstan to sit atop a horse and explore the gorgeous landscapes is around Song Kul in the Naryn region.
I had never been to this region before but had a chance to go there on a trail marking project this June. It was very cold, and I was quite sick. The trail I was to be marking was the "Starry Nights at Song Kul" trail, and it was ideal for horseback riding.
While I didn't spend my time actually riding a horse as it was carrying our gear, I did have a few chances to ride when we encountered landscapes that were intimidating to me as a person who is scared of heights.
My horse, Pelet, did a great job carrying me over those areas that I didn't trust myself. If you go to Kyrgyzstan, look up horseback riding opportunities in whatever part of the country you're in. There will be plenty available, and the scenery will be jaw-dropping! Read more about Horseback Trail Riding around Song Kul in the Naryn region here.
Horse Riding in Iceland by Allison from Eternal Arrival
I went on a magical trail ride in Thingeyri, a small beautiful village in the Westfjords region, on my most recent 7-day trip through Iceland. I went on this ride in early August, a perfect time as the days are still nice and long in Iceland. Thingeyri is located so far north in Iceland that it has a very brief tourist season from May to September only. So, I was lucky to visit Iceland during the time of year when I could actually go to Thingeyri.
The coolest thing about this trail ride was that I was able to try tölting, a rare gait that only Icelandic horses know how to do. Every other horse only has 4 gaits (walk, trot, canter, gallop), but Icelandic horses have 5!
Tölting through the Icelandic countryside was magical and a lot of fun. It is suitable for people of all ages and levels, from beginner on up. But I recommend the ride to slightly more advanced riders so that you can take advantage of how fun tölting is! Contact Simbahollin on their website to book and find out more about horseback trail riding here.
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Horse riding in Dunfanaghy Beach, Donegal, Ireland by Teresa from Brogan Abroad
I’d been horse riding a few times before, but always through the woods or designated paths and fields, so when I was exploring the Wild Atlantic Way in Donegal, Ireland’s northernmost county, it was the first time that I would be riding on the beach. It was such a fabulous experience that it remains one of my fondest memories of my Donegal trip.
In the village of Dunfanaghy, you will find the stables of the same name. This family-run stable has horses of all sizes and suitable for all abilities, so if you are a beginner, the owners will find a horse for you. And the same goes if you are a seasoned rider.
Dunfanaghy Beach is just across the road from the stables, so it’s very convenient. The rides usually take about an hour, although you can make them as long or short as you like.
Riding on the crescent-shaped open beach gave you a real sense of freedom. And the dramatic landscape around made it an extraordinary experience. But my favourite part of was when we crossed the bay at low tide, with the water at ankle level. The mirror reflections in the water really emphasized the grandiosity of my surroundings. I often think about this ride, and I’d love to do it again!
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Horseback Ride Near Salento, Colombia By Kate From Our Escape Clause
The lush jungle landscape of Colombia’s coffee triangle is enough to make even the biggest skeptic wonder if they have just stepped foot into a fairytale--with stunning fields of green, babbling brooks, and secret waterfalls, a horseback ride near Salento, Colombia, is nothing short of magical.
Descend into idyllic valleys, cross rivers, and climb to beautiful viewpoints on horseback in this magical place, and you sure won’t forget it anytime soon.
It’s easy to book horseback rides in the town of Salento, with same day or next day service usually available. Groups are usually small--when we went on Valentine’s Day, it was just us and a guide!--and the ride can be catered to most skill levels, depending on the experience level of the group.
For an extra-special experience, horseback rides are also available in the nearby Cocora Valley, the coffee triangle’s most famous landscape and home of the tallest palm trees in the world. We personally loved horseback riding through the quiet, deserted landscape and then hiking the more touristed Cocora Valley, but both options are available in and around Salento." Read more about horseback trail riding near Salento, Colombia here.
Blazing Saddles Horse Trail Rides, Anglesea on the Great Ocean Road, Australia By Jane From Explore The Great Ocean Road
Blazing Saddles is one of the best trail riding centers we have ridden with, and the location is just fabulous. Based in the little town of Aireys Inlet at the beginning of the famous Great Ocean Road, these folks really know how to operate trail rides.
The horses are all well cared for, the saddlery is comfortable, and good quality (really important!) and they cater for all riders from total beginners to advanced riders. The trail rides operate all year round and any season is lovely to go for a ride.
The rides go into the Aussie bush and can also go down to the coast where they ride on a long, beautiful, sandy beach. Total beginners can't go on the beach ride for safety reasons as it is a long ride, but the bush rides are perfect if it is your first time on a horse. People with some experience can join the beach ride, most of us dream of riding along long golden beaches!
More information and bookings can be made on the Blazing Saddles website.
If you are planning to visit the Twelve Apostles and explore the Great Ocean Road, we have a complete 6-day itinerary with what to see and do including horse riding, camping, waterfalls and spotting koalas in the wild.
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Horse Trail Rides in the Dune woodland of DeHaan By Sinjana From Backpack & Explore
The Dune woodland of DeHaan is truly a hidden gem in Belgium. In a country with so many famous touristy cities to visit, De Haan is a coastal municipality of the Flanders region which has surprisingly remained an unperturbed, undiluted natural beauty hidden from the tourists.
The woodland is a natural park with coastal flora and fauna that includes exotic migratory birds and trees that are over a hundred-year-old. There is a separate track for horse-riding in the woodlands which makes it an excellent place for taking horse-riding lessons as well. Spread over 152 hectares, this is a paradise for nature lovers, and the light-dense forests offer a perfect terrain for horse-riding as well. And you can ride all the way through the woodlands to the riverside as well as into the longest Flemish beach across the North Sea. Read more about things to do in DeHaan in a day here.
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