May 16, 2024

How to Choose A Horseback Riding Trip

- By Wild Women Expeditions

Continue reading How to Choose A Horseback Riding Trip

Back in the day, women who rode horses were Wild West outlaws, notorious for horse theft, stagecoach robberies, gambling and sharpshooting. From Madame Mustache to Stagecoach Mary to Big Nose Kate and Belle Starr, they were crack shot legends who could ride sidesaddle with two pistols while wearing black velvet. Some were members of Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch gang and part of Buffalo Bill’s famed show.

The Wild Women Expeditions gang is a little tamer but if you want to feel the freedom and power of travel by horse, we have seven adventures dedicated to horseback riding, and two adventures that include a day of riding. 

Photo: Jenny Rae Bateman Photography

How do you choose the trip that’s just right for you? We’ve broken down some of the things to consider, as well as summarizing the riding requirements and highlights of the trips to help you narrow down your choices. Your schedule and desire to see a particular country will play into your decision as well; however, it’s also really important to consider the riding and fitness levels required for the trip, so you’re not in over your head and on the verge of panic, or chomping at the bit, disappointed to rarely go faster than a walk.

Accommodation, Food & Scheduling

Iceland Horse accommodations

Photo: Jenny Rae Bateman Photography

You’ll also want to consider the type of accommodations and food that you prefer. Some trips are tent-based with simple (but delicious!) camp meals, while others are mostly based in hotels and guesthouses with a mix of home-cooked, local/pub or fine-dining options. Consider whether you’re looking for a more backcountry experience or a more upscale trip. Budget may also be a consideration. Generally, a longer trip with more amenities will be more expensive, depending on the country. Doing a trip in or near your home country can help keep travel costs down.

Scheduling is also a concern for some, where jobs and other obligations narrow the window of opportunity to travel, so you’ll need to consider what will work best with your schedule. See the website for dates for all trips.

What’s Important To You?

Banff Horse Julie-Anne Davies

As for the riding part of the trip, a good place to start to help narrow down the possibilities is to ask yourself a couple of key questions. “Do I want to do a trip that is primarily horseback riding, or would I prefer a trip that has different activities, but includes an opportunity to ride a horse?” and “Would I prefer a trip that uses Western tack and riding style, or English tack and riding style”? Not sure about the difference? Check out this video in our Facebook Group.

Please note that many of the trips impose maximum rider weight for the safety and comfort of both horse and rider. Where a maximum weight is not recommended, it is generally safe to consider 200-220 pounds a good guide. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis depending on rider height and riding ability. For instance, an experienced rider who is six feet tall and at the maximum weight recommended will have a different impact on the horse than a beginner rider who is five feet tall and weighs the same. If you have questions or concerns about rider weight, please contact us before booking your horseback riding trip. 

Photo: Stacey Nedrow-Wigmore

Set amongst the stunning blue hydrangeas of Faial Island, this trip includes three days of English-style riding and can accommodate both novice and more experienced riders by breaking up the group as necessary to make sure all riders are able to have a riding experience geared to their ability. 

The first riding day includes instructions and getting to know your horse, and the subsequent two days, trail-riding with picnics, scenic views and a visit to a volcano. There is also hiking, a vineyard tour, and whale-watching on this trip, as well as opportunities to swim in the ocean. 

We ride English style on the famous and ancient breed of Lusitano horses, known for their intelligent and willing natures, along with the agile and graceful movements that have won them notoriety in dressage competitions in the Olympics and World Equestrian Games. Includes three days of riding (out of eight).

Explore the rugged Scottish Highlands by horseback. This trip offers lots of variety, with riding, hiking, a boat tour and a castle and culture tour. We stay in the same quaint 150-year old farmhouse the whole trip, and most meals are home-cooked for you there. Horsemanship is emphasized, and time is spent on groundwork developing a bond and communication with your horse. Riding trips include exploring the hills and valleys, beaches, cliffs and meadows, either riding out from the farm, or within a short driving distance. This trip is for intermediate riders who can maintain rising trot and are comfortable cantering in open fields.

We ride for 5-6 hours a day, English style. The terrain is rugged and good fitness is recommended. Includes four days of trail riding and one day of mounted archery (out of 10). 

Banff Horseback Riding Tour Julie-Anne Davies

This beginner-friendly Western riding trip takes us deep into some of the most beautiful mountainous areas that Canada has to offer in Banff National Park. Basic fitness and riding skills are all that are required for this novice-friendly trip. We ride 4-6 hours a day, sometimes leading our horses over rocky or steep sections. The maximum rider weight for this trip is 210 pounds. Includes five days of riding (out of seven). 

This trip is a cultural and scenic powerhouse, suitable for confident novice riders. We travel through stunning mountainous regions, including a trip to the famous Machu Picchu. We ride comfortable gaited Peruvian Paso horses and saddle mules, staying in hotels, B&Bs and with local families. The terrain is mountains and valleys, and the riding pace is mostly at a walk. The saddles used are similar to western saddles, but locally made. They are well padded and comfortable for the five days we spend on horseback on this trip. Other days, we explore by foot, so participants need to be reasonably fit to ride and hike at altitudes up to a max of 15,800 feet  (4800 m). Hotel, guesthouse, mountain hut and Inka lodge accommodations. Includes five days of riding (out of 10).

Photo: Jenny Rate Bateman Photography

On this journey, we explore the iconic land of fire and ice, riding comfortable gaited Icelandic horses over varied terrain from rocky hills to grassy trails, gravel roads, and a black sand beach. Most days include around 4-6 hours on the trail, with lots of breaks for the horses to graze. This trip is friendly for novice riders if you’ve taken some lessons (using English or Icelandic tack, rather than Western). There are also opportunities to split the group so that more advanced riders can feel the speed and stability of the Icelandic horse. Accommodations are a farm guesthouse with 2, 3 or 4 to a room, and two mountain huts where we sleep communally or in rooms of 4-6. There is also time for sightseeing at some of Southern Iceland’s most fascinating natural sites. Includes seven days of riding (out of nine).

India Horseback Riding Tour Group Cline Owen

This adventure takes us through the heart of colorful Rajasthan and deep into the Thar desert. Riding the unique Marwari horses, intermediate and advanced riders immediately fall in love with their eagerness, combined with steadiness. The terrain is varied and the days long in the saddle, and riders are rewarded with beautiful views and luxurious remote camps, as well as cultural experiences along the way. We use English tack and riding style on this trip, with padded Indian Calvary saddles. The maximum rider weight is 200 pounds. We spend four nights in boutique hotels and 6 nights in luxury tent camps. Includes eight days of riding (out of 11).

Step back in time and travel as the nomadic people of Mongolia have for over 3000 years. Intermediate riders enjoy the challenge of long riding days on the open steppe. We walk, trot and canter using traditional Mongolian horses with handmade Western saddles and tack. Aside from your first and last nights in hotels, this is a rustic backcountry adventure, where you’ll stay in tents or gers (yurts), traveling ancient Nomadic routes. You will spend up to 5-6 hours a day in the saddle, on various terrain, with long breaks for lunch and a siesta! The maximum rider weight for this trip is 210 pounds. Includes eight days of riding (out of 10)

Other trips that include optional horseback Riding

Yellowstone National Park Adventure

We have one day of riding on this adventure in the appropriately named Paradise Valley. We saddle up for a half-day horseback ride up into the Absaroka Mountains and enjoy lunch overlooking the Valley. 

Women’s Wilderness Retreat

On our last day, we start with an in-depth session on horsemanship to explore how a horse connects with us and why this relationship is so important. As our confidence builds, we learn and practice basic riding skills until we feel confident enough to head out on the trail. The afternoon is spent on a short but glorious trail ride where we experience a small taste of backcountry riding.

Are you ready to choose your next Wild Women Expeditions Horseback riding adventure with confidence? If you need further information or guidance, please contact us by email ( or call us at 1-888-993-1222. We’re here to help you get your giddy up on!

Trips Featured above:

Azores Horseback Riding Tour > Click HERE

Scotland Horseback Riding Tour > Click HERE

Banff Horseback Riding Tour > Click HERE

Peru Horseback Riding Tour > Click HERE

Iceland Horseback Riding Tour > Click HERE

India Horseback Riding Tour > Click HERE

Mongolia Horseback Riding Tour > Click HERE

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