Holidays on Horseback: The Best Equine Retreats Around the World

From corralling like a cowboy to trekking Kyrgyzstan’s ancient silk route, these are the five horse-riding retreats we think you’ll be galloping to book. Unbridled adventure awaits.

In riding a horse we borrow freedom

Helen Thompson Woolley

There is something thrilling about exploring new ground on a horse. Bound to their gait, you're able to surrender yourself to your surroundings without distraction, becoming one with the landscape as you twist and turn to the beat of your steed. American writer Helen Thompson Woolley once noted that "in riding a horse we borrow freedom", and it's this quest for a life unfettered that has us dreaming of a back-to-basics, nature-fuelled holiday on horseback. Like the idea of riding off into the sunset? Read our round-up of the world's best horse-riding retreats below, from gaucho-style mountain treks to a horse safari in the Serengeti and a Tuscan farmhouse offering equine-fuelled therapy.

Saddle up: five of the best horse-riding holidays around the world


Serengeti Horse Safari, Tanzania

Best for: Big Five sightings

Tapping into the “safari of old”, this horse-riding safari adventure begins just a short drive from Mount Kilimanjaro, and sees you following herds of wildebeest, gazelle and giraffe on their migration across the vast Serengeti plains. By day, you’ll become one with herds of cantering zebra, creep up on grazing gazelle and peer up at the graceful giraffes who wander these endless grasslands. By night, you’ll find yourself sitting around campfires and sleeping out in the wilderness, tucked up in your mobile safari tent, enjoying a full-immersion experience in this storied African landscape.


The Great Trek, Kyrgyzstan

A landscape of epic contrasts, the portion of the ancient silk route that this expedition passes through cuts between deep fertile valleys, desert-like canyons and lush grasslands backdropped by filmic snow-dusted mountains. You’ll need to be fit and fairly confident on horseback for this one – some days you might be in the saddle for over 10 hours. In addition, all riders are expected to tack up their horses themselves, and everyone mucks in to pitch up and take down tents each day. The trade off, though, is a genuine immersion into Kyrgyz culture. You’ll stay with local herders in yurts and experience one of the most intrepid parts of this hauntingly beautiful ancient trail.


Zapata Ranch, Colorado

Best for: feeling like a cowboy

Embrace the cowboy within you at Zapata Ranch, a working cattle and bison farm that offers guests a true western wrangling experience (think cattle-herding with the ranch hands at sunset), as well as a chance to roam the dramatic sand dunes, meadows and wetlands of the nearby Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Either enjoy a gourmet meal of local produce and meats (including bison from the ranch’s own herd) back at base, or slip a sandwich into your saddlebag and ride off into the surrounding cottonwoods.


5305 CO-150, Mosca, CO 81146, US


Casetta, Tuscany

Best for: equine therapy

The therapeutic power of horses is something that’s been felt by humans the world over for centuries, but it’s only recently that this has been harnessed as an official form of emotional therapy in itself. Leading the march for such equine experiences is Casetta, a 270-year-old Tuscan farmhouse in the Chianti region, which has partnered with contemporary equestrian therapy facility Alterreno to offer a three-day healing experience. Guided by horse whisperer Angelika Schneider, you’ll learn how to face your greatest challenges and develop a deeper understanding of how you connect with others, all through the connection you make with your newfound equine companion.


Via Roveta 12, San Vincenzo A Torri, 50018 Scandicci, Italy


La Constancia, Estancia de Montaña, Argentina

We’re convinced there’s no better way to explore Cordoba’s humpbacked skyline than on horseback. Sitting at 2,884m on verdant Mount Champaquí, family-run homestead La Constancia offers riders of all levels the chance to explore its enchanting mountainous surroundings in true gaucho style. Either ride out independently, join a guide on one of many nearby trails or follow along the path by foot to San Javier to discover its traditional stone and wood-carving legacy.


Quebrada del Tigre, X5875, Córdoba, Argentina

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