If a holiday combining the warm California sun, wide open spaces and one of man’s most beloved companions sounds good to you, you might want to consider an equestrian holiday. A quick Google search will turn up dozens of options offering everything from weekends on a dude ranch, to a week or more exploring the coastline, the Sierra Nevada Mountains or the Inyo National Forest. Just imagine yourself spending your days on horseback on one of these exciting excursions, only four of the many equestrian holidays available in the continental U.S.
First up, some California getaways offered by Vancouver-based Hidden Trails:
Redwood Coast Ride:
Revitalize yourself with a fabulous week riding in the natural beauty of California’s northern coast. The pace is suitable for notice to advanced riders, with long trots along deserted ocean beaches, and miles of riding through cattle ranches, redwood forests, and coastal mountain trails. At night, relax in a boutique-style inn in Mendocino with a stunning view of the Pacific coastline; enjoy dining and fine California wines. In addition to the great riding, spa services, tennis, and golf are available by appointment.
John Muir Getaway Pack Trip:
Discover lush meadows, deep canyons and snow-capped mountains during this most memorable four day, three night wilderness pack trip into the High Sierras. This excursion is suitable for families (children must be at least six years old), with most of it taking place at the walk. Make no mistake, however: you will be camping out. Single, double or family tents are provided, along with tasty camp food, and all camping and cooking supplies. Breakfast and supper will be prepared; you will pack your own lunch from provided supplies. You will, of course, need to bring your sleeping bag and mat, clothing and personal effects.
Pacific Crest Trail – High Sierra Wilderness
Forget the outside world during nearly four weeks exploring Mt. Whitney and Yosemite National Park. The pace is leisurely, but the organizers recommend a level of fitness and riding experience, given the length of this excursion. Seven layover days allow for time to rest, recover and enjoy the magnificent Sierra Nevada. Bring your fishing tackle for the ultimate wilderness fishing adventure. Again, all camping supplies and food are provided; you need only bring your sleeping bag and mat, clothing and personal effects.
If roughing it in the mountains Hidden Trails style isn’t quite your thing, you can enjoy western hospitality at a guest ranch like Marble Mountain Guest Ranch, located on the Salmon River in northwestern California. You will be lodged in a rustic cabin with modern amenities. Bountiful meals featuring home-baked bread and desserts, fresh vegetables, and choice meats smoked and roasted over native hardwoods are served in a spacious dining lounge. Trail rides are scheduled each day. Horseback riding lessons, swimming, rafting, kayaking, jet boat tours, and fly fishing are only some of the additional activities offered to guests. A family-owned ranch, children are of course welcome.
No matter what option you choose, remember that you will be spending your days – and in some cases nights – in the great outdoors. One thing that might not come immediately to mind as you pack for every possible weather condition is luggage. Quality, water-resistant gear will be a necessity to carry your clothes, gadgets, and valuables for a stress-free equestrian holiday. ecbc’s Hercules Backpack (pictured above) will fiercely protect your camera and other electronics from the elements so that you will never miss a spontaneous photo or video opp while enjoying the beautiful outdoors. There’s plenty of room left for snacks and beverages in specialized pockets. Add other essentials and a change of shoes and clothing for those night time dips in temperature. Smart packing and toting durable gear will ensure that you and your equestrian buddy are ready to hit the trail for unbridled fun!