For many equestrians, we live in a day-in, day-out routine which is very satisfying. We take care of our horses, we maintain our property, we train our horses to be better partners and athletes. But every now and then, we want to shake up the routine and experience new adventures. Here are five bucket list adventures for equestrians looking for something big, bold, and new.
- Go riding in the Big City: Cities were built by horses, and some cities still boast riding stables. In New York City, Chateau Stables (www.centralparkhorsebackrides.com) offers riding on Central Park’s historical bridle path, offering unparalleled views of the midtown skyline, rolling meadows, and dense forest right in the heart of Manhattan. In London, historic Hyde Park (www.hydeparkstables.com) still offers riding through bridleways, with views of the city through the treetops.
- Ride on the open range: It’s the absolute opposite of Central Park. Go from concrete-and-steel canyons to real, actual stone-and-earth canyons by joining a cattle drive. Organizations such as Equitours (www.equitours.com) can find you the perfect ranch to get started. Not interested in heading west? The Great Florida Cattle Drive (www.greatfloridacattledrive16.com), hosted in January, traverses a traditional cattle drive trail with hundreds of horses, riders, and wagons, and ends up with an old-fashioned frolic in downtown Kissimmee, Florida.
- See the top level of your sport: Take a road trip and see the champions in action. They’ll inspire you to continue learning and training, and there’s nothing like the camaraderie of a big equestrian event! With Rolex Kentucky Three-Day-Event (www.rk3de.org) each spring, the Calgary Stampede (www.calgarystampede.com) in July, and the Breeders’ Cup World Championships (www.breederscup.com) in late fall, there’s always a big event for equestrians on the calendar.
- Ride a new gait: Most of us live our lives in three gaits. What about the exotic gaits you’ve never tried — quite possibly never seen? The Icelandic horse’s unique tolt is a prime example of a gait most equestrians will never experience. Find a nearby breeder and get in the saddle, or since this is a bucket list, plan a riding holiday to Iceland to try this horse in its native land. Check out www.riding-iceland.com.
- See the million dollar babies: Whether you’re in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, or any place else where horses are highly valued, there’s a top auction house where future champions are sold. See these top-dollar horses at every age from weanling to broodmare, visit with their sellers, and watch investors take in every angle before they walk into the sales ring. In the U.S., Fasig-Tipton auctions (www.fasigtipton.com) occur throughout the year near major racetracks and breeding centers — find one near you and see if seven figures goes on the board for your favorite horse.
Where will your love of riding take you?