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Equestrian Tours in Southern Europe

The concept of the equestrian riding tour has had a glorious revival in Europe since the end of World War II. Unlike the United States, countries such as France, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria and Greece have kept open many rights-of-way for riders which offer opportunities to ride for weeks away from traffic in beautiful areas of great historic interest. In this part of the world it was only a few decades before the war that people traveled on horseback from inn to inn and town to town. In France many inns and restaurants are still called relais (relays) where travelers could find food, lodging, a place to keep their horses and often fresh mounts. Since one of the main attractions of a European visit is to see and feel the rich history, it is entirely appropriate to travel and discover these wonderful treasures on horseback as people did when these castles, walled towns and cathedrals were being created.

Another advantage of visiting Europe on horseback is that horses greatly facilitate local contact. People who ride up on a horse are considered special and somehow more trustworthy than those who arrive in droves by bus. Riders destroy the image many foreigners hold of ugly Americans driving up in big cars and talking very loud in basic English to make themselves understood. Horses help break the international ice and there is always a common bond between horse lovers around the world. On horseback one has the time to travel in depth without rushing from place to place by car and airplane. The cultural value of a trip is not determined by the number of attractions listed in the guide book one manages to see by racing around.

For riders interested in honing their dressage skills a visit to Spain or Portugal is must. Excellent instruction, the long standing ties to the tradition of the discipline and phenomenal schoolmaster horses make our dressage programs an opportunity that should not be missed.

Horseback rides in Greece, France, Spain, Italy and Portugal are usually organized so that on moving days riders can go from inn to inn or castle to castle each day and have their baggage transferred and waiting at the next night’s stop. It enables guests to move out at all paces during the day unencumbered by baggage. A delicious picnic lunch is usually served at midday along the route and both riders and horses can take a rest before heading out for the afternoon. Usually stops are made along the way to visit old castles, walled towns and other points of interest. Groups are kept small and seldom have more than a dozen riders.

Destinations Browsing Riding Vacations In Southern Europe

France is ideally suited for a horseback riding vacation. It was here that the idea of equestrian travel was reborn and is most highly developed. Ride leaders in France must take long courses and... Read more

Horseback riding in Greece offers one of the most attractive bargains in Europe.  The best place to go in the Greek Archipelago is the island of Crete.  It is the largest of the Greek... Read more

The Tuscan countryside has a stillness about it because many of the farms and buildings are abandoned as people have migrated to the cities. The fortresses and castles which were so important in medieval... Read more

Portugal was one of the leading countries during the age of discovery and had a vast empire in South America, Africa and Asia. Today a rich culture remains and its art and architecture draw... Read more

Horseback riding in Spain is an ancient art which contributed enormously to their military success and helped them become the most powerful country in Europe in the 16th century.  It was their magnificent Arab,... Read more

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"This vacation was one of the most fun, satisfying vacations I have ever had in my life. The wild flowers, scenery, the horses and of course our host are all truly amazing. Everyone in our group was astonished at how well behaved and talented the horses were.... Read More"

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