If you're traveling alone, don't fear! There are lots of great riding vacations and ranches for solo travelers. On my recent trip to Botswana, Africa, I met many solo travelers on the?Okavango Delta Horse Safari. Many had left their non-horse-loving spouse at home so they could freely enjoy their equestrian vacation and ride as much as they wished.
On a riding holiday, many times, you'll encounter other solo and single travelers and will definitely be traveling with people with the same interest... in horses! Sharing a common passion is an immediate connection.
Here are five great trips that I've personally tried that are great if you're traveling alone and many more options for the solo equestrian.
Botswana Okavango Delta Horse Safari--Ride from island to island on horseback in one of the world's great wilderness areas. The Okavango Delta is the largest inland delta in the world. This trip is great for adventurous intermediate to advanced riders who want to see wildlife on horseback!
Clonshire Equestrian Training in Ireland--Saddle up and brush up your riding skills in Ireland with Sue Foley, an accomplished competitor who has won the Dublin Horse Show and?is a British Horse Society (BHS) certified level II Instructor. Sue takes great care with her riders and guests. You may actually stay in the Foley house, getting a true Irish home experience, or in the pretty village of Adare in the lovely Dunraven Arms. This is a great trip if you want to work on cross country, dressage training, show jumping or flatwork and get the feel of a real ?locals? stable in Ireland!
When I visited this 300-year-old farmhouse in Galway, Ireland, it was all single women travelers, so this vacation is great for the solo woman or perhaps also the solo man. You will feel right at home in the cozy accommodations and on the strong, Irish horses, exploring ancient Irish castles and monastic ruins. This trip is great for all types of riders?? beginner to advanced. Beginning riders should choose the residential ride, where they stay each night in the farmhouse. More advanced riders may consider the Galway- Clare- Burren Trail Ride?or the Irish Castle & Monastic Ruin Ride.
Stay at a 16th century hacienda that is also a British Horse Society approved riding center and enjoy local food, Andalusian horses and culture. I like this equestrian vacation because of its diversity. You can horseback ride on the beach, take lessons in dressage and see top riders perform at the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art in Jerez. Like most riding holidays, you'll be in a small group of riders, typically up to eight, so can enjoy personalized instruction and time in the saddle.
There are a lot of great vacations for those going it alone in Iceland, but you may not be able to beat the camaraderie on a horse drive. When I was there, I went out with a group of jovial farmers and rounded up 50 horses. It was wild and fun, but the local Icelanders, who love their horses and love sharing their lifestyle with travelers, were the best part. The ideal traveler to Iceland is adventurous, curious about other cultures and a competent rider, as you will ride fast!
Check out Equitrekking Travel?s Best Picks for more great trips for solo travelers.
Tips for Women Travelers: If you are a female contemplating traveling solo, keep this in mind. It can definitely be a liberating and confidence building experience. To alleviate some fears that go along with solo female travel, make sure to do your homework. Preparation can take out a lot of the guesswork.
Ask the establishment or tour operator if they welcome solo women travelers? You may want to check out smaller trips or destinations, as small groups can make meeting people easier. In a smaller group, fellow travelers are also more aware of who you are, so that you don't get lost in the crowds. Ranches can be particularly good for solo female travelers and many have women only travel programs.
As with any travel, when you are looking to book a trip on your own, ask lots of questions, do your research and be prepared for change. AND when you're traveling solo, follow safety precautions and most importantly, follow your instincts.
About the Author: Darley Newman is an equestrian travel expert and the host and producer of the Emmy-winning?Equitrekking TV series?on PBS and international networks. She travels the world riding horses with local people. Learn more about great dude ranches, guest ranches and riding vacations in the?Equitrekking Vacation Guide?and at?EquitrekkingTravel.com.