Travelling and seeing the world is such an important part of life, there is so much to explore that it seems a waste not to, but unfortunately travel can also have adverse consequences for the environment. We must take the steps to ensure that we are making the most out of our travelling experiences, whilst still being green. Horseback riding, an activity often overlooked whilst travelling, is similar to hiking and train travel as it allows you to explore your holiday destination more closely.
Why Horseback Riding?
Riding a horse can be great fun and despite the common misconception that it requires experience, there are trails that suit all sorts of people, even those who have never ridden before. Horseback riding provides a unique view of the world and allows riders to proceed in comfort at a steady rhythm. It’s also a great alternative for those who want to hike but don’t have the stamina.
Top Destinations for Horseback Riding
We’ve compiled a list of some of the most beautiful places in the world that are best accessed on horseback, so stick your feet into the stirrups, grab on to the reigns and get ready to explore!
1. The Golden Circle, Iceland
This trail consists of the Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss waterfall, all of which are near the country’s capital, Reyjavík. Expect to be steeped in folklore at the natural park, relax in the spa pool heated by the currents of hot water beneath the ground at the Geysir and gaze in awe at the rainbows thrown from the waterfall on a sunny day at Gullfoss. The extremely unique Icelandic horses are able to tölt, a fast gait that provides a very smooth ride, making them perfect for riding on the sometimes-bumpy terrain, so why not switch out your car for one of these sturdy little horses?
2. The Sunshine Coast, Australia
Impressive sand dunes, wide-open beaches, tall forests and swamps are just some of the sights on offer at The Sunshine Coast, not to mention the unique wildlife. Riding in this area, you might spot wallabies, koalas, kangaroos and colourful parrots, to name a few. A ride in the Great Sandy National Park can provide a great opportunity for some birdwatching as it is classified as an Important Bird Area, meaning it is important for the conservation of bird populations globally.
3. The Golden Treasure Trail, Bulgaria
Once the site where the pre-Christian Thracian treasure was discovered, the Golden Treasure Trail is now a stunning ride through the rural pastures and mountains lying west of Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia. Not only does this forest trail allow visitors to see some of the most beautiful sights Bulgaria has to offer, but it is also rich in history as you learn the back story of the discovery of the treasure. As well as this, the trail ends in the small town of Panagyurishte, a place steeped in history.
4. Banff National Park, Canada
Remote and quiet, riding on horseback is the perfect way to explore Banff National Park where vehicles are not allowed. You get to experience the majestic Rockies up-close, take in the sights and the sounds of the green forest and admire the impressive crystal-clear turquoise lakes. Horse riding is a way of life in Alberta, so it seems only fitting to see one of the most scenic countries in the world on four legs.
5. Doñana National Park, Spain
Nature lovers will be in paradise in Doñana National Park. Bird Watching Spain reports that 500,000 bird species visit the park every year. Alongside the abundance of wildlife, the park is a unique labyrinth of land and water, resulting in marshes, channels, lakes, beaches, forests and sand dunes. Travelling by horse allows a sense of freedom that might not be offered with other modes of transportation as you are able to tackle many of the different terrains.
6. The Ring of Kerry, Ireland
This loop of the Iveragh Peninsula in southwest Ireland’s County Kerry is usually undertaken by car, but travelling by horse provides a much more eco-friendly option as well as the opportunity to explore more closely. The trail starts in Killarney and heads through Kilorgin where a goat is crowned King every year, it also passes through the sandy beach of Derrynane and eventually ends in Muckross, next to Killarney again. It’s an incredibly unique trail with each town and village offering something new.
7. Cappadocia, Turkey
Based in South Central Turkey, Cappadocia is the home of the wonderful fairy chimneys, the geological oddities that draw in visitors from all over the world. They are mushroom-shaped rock formations formed from volcanic ash and carved to create underground caves for people to live in. The result is an area that seems almost otherworldly. Seeing this beautiful landscape on horseback allows you to escape the crowds to explore more comfortably.
8. Wyoming, USA
USA is one of the most diverse countries in the world and is well-known for its horseback riding culture. Wyoming is one of the biggest states in the US and is home to the first National Park in the world, Yellowstone. The state is famous for its ranches, such as Flat Creek Ranch, who provide great hacking opportunities for their guests in the beautiful countryside. Wyoming is the perfect place to live out your childhood dream of becoming a cowboy.
Ride Off into the Sunset
When planning your next holiday, why not try something new and hop in the saddle by fitting horseback riding into your itinerary? The environment will thank you and you might even make a new friend from it. For more ideas of green activities you can do on holiday, check out our blog article 5 Eco-friendly Activities To Do On Holiday This Spring.
Kiwano can help you towards the first step of becoming a green traveller by providing a list of approved green accommodations for you to stay at and giving you further tips on how to stay green as a traveller.