Most people have a bucket list of things they would like to experience in life, so here is a list of 15 great horsey things all riders should try at some point. How many of these fun horsey ambitions can you claim to have done?
1. Watch the Grand National in person
How: If you’ve never ventured up to Aintree, this is a must. This season, the great race is on Thursday 4 April (2019), to find out more (tel: 0844 579 3001) or visit www.aintree.co.uk
2. Swim with your horse in the ocean
3. Ride out for a racehorse trainer
How: Manage an introduction and convince them that, perched atop half-a-ton of galloping horse, you’ll be able to restrain its power. Or, if you’re already confident, apply for a work rider vacancy. National hunt trainers do not require you to be a featherweight.
4. Ride side saddle
How: Learning to ride side-saddle is a completely different riding experience. If you want to give it a go, the Side Saddle Association can help.
5. Go on a horseback safari
How: An African safari is the rider’s equivalent of swimming with dolphins. The Okavango Delta in Botswana is a wilderness paradise of lagoons, islands and forests with the best game viewing in Southern Africa. Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia and South Africa also offer great riding experiences.
Check out these websites for some more information:
6. Have a go at the Golden Button challenge
How: If you’re an equestrian adrenaline junkie then look no further than the three mile race over Ledbury hunt country held in February. Anyone can enter — there’s just 28 obstacles between you and the finish line. Visit the Golden Button website for more details.
7. Ride flying changes
How: If you’re desperate to experience flying changes then try booking a lesson or two! Just look in your local newspaper or google lessons in your area. Make sure you call and find out what kind of facility you are going to and if they have lesson horses that can accommodate what you're looking for.
8. Try Reining
How: Fancy embracing your inner cowboy/girl? Then why not give reining a try! From spins to sliding stops reining could offer you a completely new equestrian experience. For more information visit NHRA.com for more information.
9. Go hunting in Ireland
How: There are plenty of ways to fulfill your dream of hunting in Ireland, like booking in for a holiday.
- Louis Murphy, manager of the Dunraven Arms Hotel in Co Limerick, organizes hunting package holidays. There’s a choice of nine legendary Irish packs such as the Tipperary and the Galway Blazers to join for a day out. Visit the website or email email@example.com for more details on packages available.
- Flower Hill House in Co Galway organizes accommodations, hunting and horse-hire with the East Galway and other packs. Cost: cap: around €100; horse-hire: around €130. Visit the website
10. See a horse sold for more than a million
How: For astronomical prices, head to Newmarket or Kentucky. In the US, the Keeneland July and September sales are the biggest and in England, you could be lucky enough to witness such sales as the filly who sold for a record price of 4.5 m guineas in 2014.
For more information, look here:
11. Try vaulting lessons
How: If you’ve got a pair of leggings and some pumps to wear, you can try your hand at vaulting. You won't need your own horse. For more information check out F.A.C.E. (Free Arts Creative Equestrians) 818-429-2115 or google for vaulting lessons in your area.
12. Herd cattle across the plains in Montana
How: This one’s not cheap, but definitely an unmissable experience — browse these websites for some more information:
- Ranch America — or call 020 3588 6032.
- 1880s Ranch — or email Sherri Jamison on sherrijamison@ to find out more.
13. Watch the Spanish Riding School
How: Under glittering chandeliers, the famous white Lipizzaner stallions perform the purest form of dressage in Vienna. As well as the evening performances, don’t miss their morning training sessions. Take a look at the Spanish Riding School website.
14. Go to a team chase
How: The season typically runs from the end of September to the beginning of November, then from the end of February to the beginning of April. Interested in having a go at team chasing? For more information visit www.teamchasing.co.uk.
15. Jump bareback
How: If you want to give it a go, the answer is to start small, build up and practice, practice, practice. Just remember, canter is more comfortable than trot! If you feel insecure riding with no saddle, start on the lunge so you can concentrate on your position rather than what the horse is doing.
There are many other exciting things to see and do that are horse related so get out there an experience some true equestrian fun!