You can gallop along the beach, herd cattle in the Rockies, take dressage lessons, go on wilderness pack trips or do trail rides in some of the world’s most spectacular places.  Large parts of our country are now densely populated and closed to riding tours by highways, fences, shopping malls and housing developments, but there are still vast expanses where one can ride freely as people used to do a century ago when horses were a prime medium of transportation.

There are a myriad of dude ranches, riding stables and trail rides on offer in the United States, but it is difficult to find riding tours which meet international standards of quality.  Insurance problems in many states make riding very costly and often rights-of-way for horse travel have been lost to fences, shopping malls, highways and housing developments.  Nevertheless, Equitours has been able to find some first class equestrian adventures and huge areas still exist where people can ride in open, unspoiled country as they used to everywhere a century ago.

One excellent place for people to ride at many levels on a wide variety of excellent horses from purebred Arabians to Percherons is the Bitterroot Ranch, the Equitours headquarters for over 40 years.  At the Bitterroot one can take trail rides in small groups divided according to skills so that less experienced riders are not frightened and good riders are not bored by slow, nose to tail rides.  There is an extensive obstacle course where advanced riders can practice their jumping skills, chances to herd cows and pack trips into the Greater Yellowstone Wild Ecosystem are also a possibility.  Certified instructors can help you prepare for the most challenging international rides.

World class dressage instruction on superb Lusitano stallions is available in Massachusetts in the summer and in Florida in the winter.  Guests can take instruction or go on trail rides using well trained Quarterhorses in the Texas Hill Country all year.  There are also outstanding trips on sure-footed ranch horses along the border of Utah and Arizona which have been particularly popular.  This area is arguably the most breathtakingly beautiful part of the world.

I have been on many adventure vacations over the past 20 years - this was the best ever: Challenging but the hosts made it seem easy; educational; lots of fun; food & campsite top notch; horses were well behaved, very well trained & very well cared for; there was not one cuss word, harsh language or even a raised, irritated voice the entire week, just laughter, joy & compliments!

Mary Looman

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