All too often, a holiday meant to be a break away from my everyday routine can turn into a series of rushed photo opportunities rather than a time to relax. Frequently, I return home more exhausted than when I left. Do you ever feel like you need to have a holiday to recover from your holiday?
That’s where travelling Wales by horseback comes in – it’s a unique way to travel as it allows you to slow down and truly enjoy the process of creating unforgettable memories. The slow travel movement, which focuses on rejecting the hectic thirty-countries-in-thirty-days-tour travel trend, allows you to really connect with the local culture and invest in the smaller moments of each day. Slow travelling allows you to fully unwind, unplug and rejuvenate, and slow travelling by horseback has the added benefit of becoming besties with a Welsh Mountain pony!
How does slow travelling by horse work?
The best way to get the most out of horseback travel is to join a riding tour group. There a number of companies operating in Wales which offer riding packages. These tours range from one-day trips to five-night trips and even include trips spanning two weeks. Choosing the length of your trip depends on both your riding ability and your time constraints. If you haven’t been horse riding in a while, it might be a good idea to ease back into it with a two-day ride rather than a week-long adventure…
Where to stay and expect during a horse riding tour expedition?
Accommodation during horse riding tours often depends on the tour package you’ve purchased. Shorter tours commonly involve staying at a large farmhouse, with tours returning to the house after each day of riding. Being able to sleep in the same bed each night is a luxury of these short tours. Longer tours may involve staying at various cabins, pubs or bed and breakfasts along the route. Don’t worry – the tour company will transport your luggage between locations, so you won’t have to think about it. If you opt for the tours which last over a week, be prepared to pitch a tent and eat some campfire food.
Lack of experience with riding on horses?
If you’re worried about being an inexperienced rider, don’t be! Even with some basic riding knowledge, you’ll be able to partake in a horseback tour of Wales. You’ll be matched with a pony that suits your level of expertise. More nervous, inexperienced riders are paired with sweet, gentle ponies who prefer to plod along, while more experienced riders are matched with the more spirited, high-strung ponies. All riders are accommodated for when traveling Wales by horseback.
4 Reasons You Should Do Horseback Riding in Wales
1. Get off the beaten track – literally!
Joining a horse-riding tour not only gives you access to an experienced tour guide who will teach you about the history of the area, but you’ll be guided through parts of national parks not accessible by foot or car. These Welsh Mountain ponies are born and bred for this mountainous terrain and are perfectly suited to climbing up steep hills without breaking a sweat.
2. Sticking to your budget is easy
Do you ever blow your carefully planned travel budget for the first two days? It’s difficult to spend excessively while you travel Wales by horseback – often you’ll be in quite isolated areas where shops don’t take credit cards. Tour companies include all meals in the tour packages, so there’s no need to splash your cash, and you’ll get a chance to try the local delicacies. You’ll return from your holiday not only well rested but with your bank account still intact.
3. Develop a strong relationship with a pony
While traveling Wales on horseback is all about the exhilarating canter along stunning beaches and the thrill that comes from cresting a mountain and gazing out across the countryside, it’s also about the connection you create with your trusty steed. You’ll be in charge of tending to your Welsh Mountain pony, ensuring that it is brushed down and fed after each leg of the trip and that its equipment is maintained. These ponies are incredibly social beings and will reciprocate your attention with deep affection. Creating a personal bond and friendship with your pony will most likely be the highlight of your trip.
Read my adventures in Snowdonia National Park
4.Experience more of Wales
Possibly the biggest reason you should consider traveling by horseback is that this mode of transportation allows you to see more of Wales in the same amount of time. Most tourists will only spend a few hours exploring the expansive Welsh national parks. Trekking through these national parks on foot can be a slow and arduous journey, and many people are forced to focus on exploring just one area due to time and equipment constraints. Traveling by horseback, however, provides you with the ability to explore three mountain peaks in the time it would take you to walk one on foot. With four legs carrying you instead of two, the distance you can cover is far greater on these ‘horse trails’. Add this to the strong relationship you develop with your pony, and you’ll be unable to deny that horseback is the only way to travel Wales.
The natural beauty of the Welsh terrain lends itself perfectly to horseback travelling. People who slow travel experience a deeper understanding and connection to the countries they travel through. Ditching the frenzied sightseeing and rushed travel from Destination A to Destination B can significantly improve the experience of a holiday, and leave you feeling refreshed rather than exhausted. Slow travel through Wales on horseback and you’ll be sure to develop a strong relationship with your pony and create unforgettable memories for yourself or with your loved ones.