For travellers who seek the finest that the world has to offer

13 luxury horse riding tours for globetrotters

It’s time to saddle up and see the world from a new perspective with horse riding tours that take guests into the heart of their destination, where adventurous spirits run wild and free.

An enthusiasm for equestrianism has long been associated with luxury. Renowned fashion houses such as Hermes, Burberry and Ralph Lauren have equine iconography at the core of their branding, while manufacturers such as Ferrari and Porsche have adopted the animal as a sign of power and speed. Horse riding has evolved from a skill of necessity to an Olympic sport and aspirational pasttime, one that few get to experience, let alone master. Naturally, our collective fascination with these beguiling animals has inspired a raft of unique horse riding tours around the world. To discover a destination on horseback is to see it from a new perspective – a raw, tactile and invigorating experience.

Saddle up for a safari ride in Africa

Discover the untamed beauty of wild Africa from atop a faithful steed. African Horse Safaris specialise in thrilling equestrian adventures in Kenya, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana for riders of all levels. Experience cantering across endless savannas alongside zebras, trail riding through spectacular mountains, or wading through lush flood plains. African Horse Safaris’ guides are seasoned equestrians with a passion for conservation. Each of the horse riding tours adheres to principles of sustainability, conservation and cultural authenticity. The multi-day journeys include stays at lodges and open-air camps handpicked to provide guests with natural yet luxurious surroundings that promote rest and relaxation. Whether travellers are experienced hippophiles or novice riders, each safari is customised to match preferences, ensuring a personalised adventure that suits comfort and skill levels.

People riding horses among elephants
© African Horse Safari

Horseback beach trekking in Sri Lanka

Located on the east coast of Sri Lanka is Karpaha Sands, a beachfront resort of luxury tented suites that blur the boundaries between indoors and out to delightful effect. The retreat now hosts eight-day horse riding tours that can be tailored to suit any skill level and style of traveller. Renowned Vonfidel Ranch is just 45 minutes from the resort and serves as the starting point for horseback jungle trekking, while sunset and sunrise beach rides and swimming with horses experiences are available onsite.

Two days of the horse riding tours are dedicated to total indulgence at Karpaha Sands Shanthi Spa, where guests can revitalise mind, body and spirit with a range of therapies and massages expertly crafted to enhance overall well-being and complement the equestrian adventure. Embracing a strong focus on sustainability, Karpaha Sands celebrates the natural beauty of the region while providing an extraordinary escape for discerning adventurers. Expect a whirlwind trip punctuated with world-class cuisine, conservation experiences, curated picnics, idyllic open spaces, tranquil creeks, local villages and an endless stretch of pristine beaches.

horse riding in sri lanka
© Karpaha Sands

Canter across kingdoms in Egypt

Ride Egypt has launched the Tombs, Dunes and Kingdoms Ride, a horse riding tour that takes explorers through the heart of Egypt to experience the country’s history, landscapes and culture on horseback. The equestrian expedition traverses sands from the pyramids of Giza to the majestic dunes of the Sahara Desert while guests are educated on the archeological significance and intriguing tales of Egypt’s ancient civilisations. Highlights of the horse riding tours include riding the Giza plateau from Cairo, seeing the Sphinx and Valley of the Kings, venturing out to the hidden Fayoum Oasis, a hot air balloon ride and visiting UNESCO World Heritage site Magic Lake in Wadi El Hitan.

© Ride Egypt / Christiane Slawik

Ride the Patagonia trail in Argentina

Join an eight-day safari through the Andes that follows the infamous ‘Pass of Tears’ mountain trail. Hosted by Jakotango and facilitated through Black Saddle, this horse riding tour is for those with wild hearts. Each day, riders mount gaucho-trained horses fitted with traditional raw hide bridles and recado saddles. The ride is slow, mountainous and beautiful, and accommodation varies from luxurious Kenyan safari tents with beautiful bathrooms to campsites. This is an intermediate to advanced rider experience that immerses guests into the traditional ways of the Argentinian explorers.

person sitting on horse at cliff edge
© Black Saddle/Jakotango

Master dressage at a castle in Italy

As if staying in an ancient castle in Umbria isn’t romantic enough, Castello di Reschio is owned by the aristocratic Count Antonio Bolza, an equestrian master with a stable of skilled dressage horses and prized breeding stock. The estate’s indoor/outdoor Equestrian Centre offers multilingual instructors who can introduce novices to the joys of riding or lead more experienced equestrians into new realms of knowledge, including the art of dressage and horse riding tours through wild pockets of the property. Even non-riders will enjoy the theatrics and grace of weekly dressage performance in the imposing Teatro.

A woman standing in a stable with a horse
© Castello di Reschio

Discover eucalypt forests in Australia

Tucked into a remote valley flanked by dramatic sandstone escarpment and bordered by the wild Wollemi and Gardens of Stone national parks, One&Only Wolgan Valley is among Australia’s most exclusive rural resorts, a luxurious oasis three hours’ drive from Sydney. Immersion into the splendour of the bush is the cornerstone of this incredible paradise – and there’s no better way to experience the 2,800-hectare conservancy than on the back of one of the resort’s friendly, well-schooled horses. Explore winding trails through native eucalypt woodlands, traversing river crossings, glorious scenic hills and open grasslands on a 1.5-hour tour (or longer) horse riding tours tailored to your riding ability. One-on-one lessons in an arena are also available to help develop riding skills and gain experience grooming, saddling and caring for horses.

woman patting horse
© Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley

Swim with horses in Indonesia

There’s nowhere on Earth quite like Sumba, a breathtakingly beautiful island in Indonesia where the traditional culture based on horses and the sea permeates everyday life. Its sole luxury resort, Nihi Sumba, has embraced this legacy, operating in harmony with the Sumbanese horsemen and their colourful lifestyle. Hotel guests can not only enjoy the spectacle of the resort’s stable of horses wandering free along the pristine beach, but they also have the privilege of swimming with the handsome animals in the Indian Ocean. A team of equine experts, led by a resident horse whisperer, accompany guests on beach and village horse riding tours; experienced riders can also try their hand at the local sport, pasola, a high-adrenaline custom of throwing spears from the back of the agile Sumbanese ponies.

Horses swimming in the ocean with people
© Nihi Sumba

Canter the woodland trails of Scotland

Although best known as a golf resort, the five-star luxury Gleneagles estate is also an equestrian mecca, with a covetable stable and indoor arena as well as 343 hectares of woodlands and manicured grounds. Its famed Equestrian School offers indoor and outdoor coaching for riders of all abilities, with dressage, cross-country and show-jumping tuition all available. Trail horse riding tours are also on offer across the glorious – and sometimes challenging – grounds of the estate, while children aged three years and older will love the ‘Own a Pony’ program where they can learn the basics of horsemanship.

a castle in a field of grass
© Gleneagles

Learn to play polo in Britain

The grandeur of the British aristocracy is evocatively captured on the manicured 97-hectare estate of Ascot’s Coworth Park, with jaw-dropping equestrian facilities – including its own polo fields – the main attraction. Explore the beautiful, wildflower-strewn Berkshire countryside from the back of one of the property’s immaculately presented horses, or sign up for lessons in dressage and jumping on a selection of well-trained schoolmasters. For experienced riders, there is also an allweather gallop track, while polo lessons are available from April to September under the tuition of the Guards Polo Academy.

A woman standing in front of a stable with a horse
© Coworth Park

Climb hills with Peruvian pasos in Argentina

Estancia Los Potreros is a family-owned working cattle station and horse stud in the moody hills of Cordoba and it gives guests an insight into the gracious lifestyle of a traditional Argentine estancia, catering for experienced, adventure-loving riders. Days spent here include horse riding tours and treks into the hillside on working criollo or homebred Peruvian pasos, as well as fun and informal polo lessons, gaucho games or watching the gauchos at work. Accommodation in the century-old homestead is comfortable and tasteful, while mealtimes are a joy as bottles of free-flowing malbec accompany hearty, home-cooked meals over a communal table.

two people riding horses through long grass
© Estancia Los Potreros

Live out your wildest cowboy fantasies in the USA

America’s enduring ‘dude ranch’ tradition reaches new heights at one of America’s most prestigious properties, Montana’s The Ranch at Rock Creek. The 2,670-hectare property features nine private homes as well as lodge accommodation, with customised horseback experiences an essential part of the all-inclusive itinerary. Live your cowboy fantasies as you gallop across sagebrush-clad hillsides under the state’s famed Big Sky; learn Western skills such as barrel racing, calf-penning and roping in the arena; or watch the wranglers compete in the weekly rodeo.

Many people riding horses through a field
© The Ranch at Rock Creek

Journey into Middle Earth in New Zealand

New Zealand’s newest luxury lodge, The Lindis, is a showstopper, an architectural masterpiece that blends harmoniously into a glacier-carved valley overlooked by snowcapped peaks in the South Island. This is Lord of the Rings territory; and there’s no more fitting way to explore the mythical landscape than on a steed. Boasting a stable of 12 horses, the horse riding tours provide a choice of three treks, each catered to different riding levels and traversing countryside dotted with streams, sub-alpine herb fields, wetlands and native beech forests teeming with wildlife.

Two people riding horses over hills
© The Lindis

Venture into the wilderness in Australia

Leading horse-trek agency Globetrotting has teamed with El Questro on this four-night journey into the Kimberley wilderness. Riding station-bred stock horses for up to six hours a day, this is a challenging adventure rewarded by stunning vistas of red-rock gorges, dips in remote swimming holes and soulstirring sunsets. Two nights glamping under the Milky Way at a luxury bush camp are followed by two nights of sheer comfort at El Questro, where you can enjoy gourmet meals, river cruises and helicopter flights along with your horse riding tour.

Two people riding horses
© Globetrotting Kimberley

Read more: 

Inside the Coworth Park
Horse riding in Costa Rica
Inside the UK’s most famous horse-racing event

This article originally appeared in Signature Luxury Travel & Style magazine. Subscribe to the latest issue today.

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