UPDATE: Check out Holly from Far and Ride’s top tips for packing for a riding holiday, written 2015: Packing for a Riding Holiday.
When you have finalised the arrangements for your riding holiday the team at Far & Ride will send you holiday information and for every destination we will supply you with a suggested packing list. Here we run over the main things to consider when deciding what to take on a riding holiday.
Whilst the list may vary depending on the country you are visiting, it is important that you take with you a properly fitted riding helmet which complies with the current EU and British standards. The minimum standard is the EN1384, but other acceptable standards include PAS015, ASTM F1163 and the Snell 2001. If you are a total beginner or a very occasional rider, you may not wish to invest in a helmet at this stage. Many of our holiday destinations will provide you with a helmet but of course, this may not fit you as well as one you have had fitted in the UK and you cannot be sure that the helmet complies with the high standard we are used to in the United Kingdom. Some riding helmets are very lightweight and vented so more comfortable in hot weather.
It is also very important to take suitable footwear. Once again if you are a beginner you may not wish to invest in proper riding boots. The most important point is that the boot or shoe has a definite heel to ensure safety in the stirrup. It is possible nowadays to buy boots which you can use for riding but are excellent also if the terrain dictates that you walk beside your horse for a while. So a pair of comfortable boots which you can also walk in is very important. Ankle boot with half legs chaps are favourite for comfort.
Riding trousers or jodhpurs together with half leg chaps will ensure you are comfortable for long hours in the saddle. If you are riding Western then you may decide to ride in jeans or normal trousers. It is important to remember that whilst your jeans are comfortable for every day wear, the seams on the inside legs may cause painful rubbing against the stirrup leathers. Two pairs of trousers or jodhpurs is usually enough.
Riding gloves, personal toiletries (and those special towels which pack really small are good). You will need to check if you will be provided with saddle bags but a waist bag is always handy to carry your camera and small items whilst riding. As well as your camera you must remember to take spare batteries. You may need to pack a good quality insect repellent. Some have much higher percentage of DEET and a spray to stick will be easier to use. A torch on a trail or safari may well come in handy. A few plastic bags will definitely be handy to protect items which may suffer in the rain
It is advisable to travel with a small medical kit that includes any basic remedies you may need such as antacids, painkillers, antihistamines and cold remedies. In some countries it might be wise to take anti-diarrhoea medication such as Imodium and oral rehydration sachets, water purification tablets or drops.
If you wear prescription glasses or contact lenses you might want to take some spares.
If you are lucky enough to book a safari or a riding holiday somewhere hot you will need long sleeved shirts to protect against the sun as well as a couple of cotton t shirts. For game viewing – clothing should be of a neutral colour, avoiding white, bright or vividly patterned clothing. Studies have shown that most African game animals are able to see bright blue over any other colour. Avoid black because it attracts insects.
Remember that the tropical/equatorial sun is strong and you can burn quickly. Wide brimmed hats are preferable to baseball caps for sun protection. Both sunglasses (elastic is useful to keep them in place whilst riding) and a good quality sunscreen (rated SPF15 or higher) should be used including lip salve. For those fair skinned it may be wise to take a complete sunblock .
A pair of flip flops, swimming costume and shorts for when you get a chance to relax. It may get chilly in the evening so a fleece is a must and sometimes a lightweight jacket could be useful. Waterproof mac or poncho will not take up much space but may prove very handy.
Depending on where you travel you may need to take medication for malaria. We will advise you if the area in which you are traveling has mosquitos carrying malaria.
A camera with a zoom lense and a pair of binoculars are essential for game viewing.
Winter riding/cold weather
For trails where the weather is inclement – it is vital that you pack correct clothing to keep you warm and dry. Silk vests and thermal underwear will be a good base followed by layers of warm clothes. A good waterproof/windproof coat will prove a good investment. Waterproof trousers and waterproof gloves are light to pack and will be invaluable if it is really wet. Plenty of socks and a spare pair of boots are a good idea.
Not always for the fainthearted – but those wishing to holiday on one of our camping trips may wish to take their own sleeping bag. Bags may be provided and whilst they are usually clean you may prefer to bring a liner with you. Lightweight sleeping bags are not expensive and are not difficult to pack. A couple of travel towels will be useful. It is very important to have a torch or small flashlight with spare batteries. Insect repellent is definitely a must, wet wipes and a small bottle of disinfect hand gel could be invaluable.
There are many places to buy equipment, the following is a quick list of online stockists to get you started. They supply most of the riding equipment you’ll need for your holiday:
- Shires Equestrian UK – A fantastic mail order service offering everything you need for your holiday and for your horse at home. We recommend them highly for their choice, quality and reasonably priced products combined with fast efficient service.
- Derby House – Equestrian retailer in the UK catering to all sections of the horse riding community from pony club to show jumping, showing to dressage.
- The Saddlery Shop – Dedicated internet tack shop, with an easy to use website and a broad choice of equipment.