Between the two of us here at Outside Rein, we’ve racked up a lot of airline miles. Hailing from California, we naturally spend a significant portion of our “time off” on the west coast visiting family. However, when vacation calls we often opt for a bit of adventure (and have been known to pack half chaps and a helmet in our carry-ons).

Astride a steady steed, we’ve traversed a Big Sky dude ranch in Montana, the vast Kenyan savannah, and even the beaches of Sumba island off the coast of Bali. We have been fortunate enough to view some of the world’s most incredible landscapes through the ears of horses. Thus, a freshly booked trip to Reykjavik to trek through lava fields on Icelandic ponies recently had us chatting about all of the equine-centric vacations we’ve yet to experience.

Or course, we’ll update you on our Nordic adventures in a few weeks, but if you’re still hemming and hawing about where to vacation this summer, below we list a few of the more interesting riding retreats that we’re hoping to cross off our bucket lists one of these days.

Chile Nativo

If you seek the road less traveled, this pilgrimage promises “100% adventure.” Offering both multi-sport or trail-only ride packages that take you far from any tourism, Chile Nativo’s Patagonia Active Travel lives up to its name with point-to-point journeys that include an intimate feel for estancia life with local Gauchos.

We must admit that “wine” was the first activity we typed into a search of equestrian vacations. While the Willamette Valley is a draw for such diversions, it also happens to be dramatically picturesque on horse back. We read many reviews of this particular excursion, which promises to be thrilling for experienced riders who welcome the adrenaline rush of galloping at length on challenging terrain. And then there’s the wine.

For those of us with travel companions who may not be so keen on long days atop a horse (why not, though?), Il Paretaio offers the perfect compromise. This charming Tuscan B&B and equestrian center is home to more than thirty horses, and guests can choose to explore surrounding vineyards on guided horseback tours, or to simply take advanced dressage lessons in the morning then venture out into Chianti on two legs rather than four.

Adhering to our prescribed balance of glamour and grit, Golden Hill Country Chalet & Suites in Austria definitely bends more in the direction of posh. The combination of summer horse holiday and wellness spa, enveloped by the Old World, is luxuriously romantic. Plus, the hosts are devoted to preserving the heritage of their surroundings with sustainable practices to thwart ecological issues. Top the trip with a stop in Vienna to view a world-famous performance at the Spanish Riding School.

From mountains and meadows to the Gobi desert, Stone Horse Expeditions in Mongolia has something for everyone. Compared to some of our other choices, this one is a bit rugged (think actual camping, not glamping), which we think adds authenticity to the experience of a distant culture. After all, what’s the point of going all the way east just to feel like you’re in the west?

New Zealand

In true New Zealand style, Poronui is an adventurer’s paradise. Fly fishing, hunting, hiking, and shooting are a few of the activities that accompany horseback rides over New Zealand’s legendary terrain. All horses are well-schooled in many disciplines, and the skilled tour guides are as versed in the surrounding flora and fauna as they are in horsemanship. Though this tour is only available October through May thus won’t be suitable for summer travels, the long trip to New Zealand requires a bit of lead-time anyway.

Outside Rein is a service with a unique point of view, delivering a variety of equine-related topics to your inbox every Friday. If you’re not signed up, please do! We promise we’re not spammy, and we frequently offer exclusive discounts on products you’ll love, but only to our email subscribers. See you next Friday!

Sign Up For Our Weekly Email