With summer here and the snow vanishing (or not), how are you meant to get your mountain fix for the next few months?
Well, my personal favorite way is to go horseback riding. There’s something uniquely peaceful about ambling down a trail with nothing but birdsong and clip-clop to be heard. Or, for the more experienced rider, galloping up a hill at full speed! Here’s a few places, in no particular order, around the world where you can saddle up and enjoy the local scenery.
For an experience Down Under, try Megalong Valley Farm in Australia’s Blue Mountains. They’ve got a wide variety of rides that go all over their beautiful property, from a quiet half-hour walk around the farm to the five-hour Cox’s River Day Ride. As a special touch, you can ride one of their —you know, the big Budweiser horses—on your Australian adventure.
You probably know Mt. Hood’s Ski Bowl as a prime place to hit the slopes, but in the summer, they also offer guided horseback rides through Mt. Hood National Forest. You’ll be able to really take in the scenery of the Cascades. Rides can be as short as thirty minutes, or you can book ahead of time to get an overnight experience. They also offer pony rides for kids under eight.
If there’s some Irish in you, (and really, after two pints of Guinness, the Emerald Isle ancestry magically appears in us all…), then there’s nothing for it but a trip through Connemara on the namesake Connemara Ponies. Western Ireland’s unique, rugged landscape is perfect for horseback riding. This is a week-long trip, with four to six hours a day on horseback, so be prepared to walk bowlegged for a while afterward.
Spend a week riding Icelandic Horses in the Sugarbush area of Vermont’s mountains. Icelandic Horses, though pony-sized, are more than strong enough to carry a full-grown adult, and their signature “tolt” gait makes for a comfortable ride. Each day involves a 5-6 hour ride through a different part of the area, with the riders returning to the comfortable inn each night.
Black Mountain Ski Resort offers horseback riding during the summer. Visitors can choose from a daily one-hour ride, an overnight ride, or a longer riding holiday. The trails start at 1,250 feet and go up to 2,000 feet, higher than any other ride in the area! They also offer pony rides and arena riding lessons for children.
This is the merest tip of the iceberg when it comes to the possible places to ride; check your favorite ski resort to see if they offer summer trail riding. The Riding Tours website can help you find unique equine vacationa all around the world. Remember, keep your safety in mind when going on a riding trip. Make sure you’re given a well-fitted helmet to wear. If you feel unsafe or that your horse is too much for you, don’t be afraid to inform the guide—it’s their job to make sure you have a good, safe experience. Most of all, have fun exploring the mountains in a new way!
(Photos courtesy Riding Ireland, Riding Tours, and Ski Bowl)