Few things can match the romance or sheer exhilaration of exploring a new country on horseback. Here's a selection of horse riding holidays to suit all tastes.
One for the cowboy
If you fancy donning a boina, the beret-like hat worn on the Pampas, and riding gaucho-style through Argentina, then you should stay at an estancia a traditional Argentinean ranch in Sierra Chicas, a region hugging the Andes in the heart of Crdoba. Resting in rooms heated by wood-burning stoves, you'll spend the day riding into 15,000 acres of estate, and beyond into "isolated villages, stunning waterfalls and ancient churches, eating asados (Argentinean barbecues) and sampling local wines", says Samantha Warwick in The Guardian. A ranch-based Activity Week fully inclusive of all meals and drinks, riding and accommodation costs from £175 a day (www.farandride.com; tel: 0845-0066 552).
Fox hunting in Ireland
The Irish have a legendary passion for horses. So it's perhaps no surprise that fox hunting is alive and well across the Irish Sea. Irish hunts are happy to take on guests for the day and arrange the rental of a horse, as long as you phone ahead.
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The County Clare hound and harrier hunt in the west of Ireland has a good reputation for craic and devilment. A local farmers' hunt, it rides on Sundays and Thursdays from Loop Head on the Atlantic coast across to Cratloe on the border with Limerick and up to Doolin in the North. Guests can ride with the pack for €100 a day.
For accommodation, Pat and Loreto Hannon run a 120-acre farm from their 300-year-old farmhouse near the grounds of Dromoland Castle, the ancient seat of the Earls of Thomond. (See www.ardsollus-farm.com or call +353 65 6825 601.) It has four B&B guest rooms and two self-catering apartments, and they can arrange riding trips or lessons with one of the two stables near the house, both of which rent horses for the Clare hunt. Prices from €45 per person sharing. Or you could stay in the castle itself, now a five-star hotel. The Easter package from 9 to 13 April is €530 per adult for three nights (www.dromoland.ie; tel: +353 61 368144).
African safari on horseback
From this spring, Ernest Hemingway wannabes can trek on horseback across the 350,000-acre private Tanzanian estate of US billionaire Paul Tudor Jones. Choosing from 18 horses, you can ride across Sasakwa Lodge, at the Singita Grumeti Reserves, which borders the Serengeti. This means that you'll get a fantastic view of the annual migration of wildebeest, zebra and other animals. In the dry season, those who feel especially daring can also traverse riverbeds which lion prides regard as home, says Charles Starmer-Smith in The Daily Telegraph.
A five-day riding safari at the Singita Grumeti (www.singita.com) costs £4,030 per person, excluding air fares.
Treks from a French chateau, and a good option for beginners in Wales
The Hautes Pyrnes, France
A chteau in Maubourguet in the Hautes-Pyrnes that offers two hours of riding a day. Six nights from £865 per person. Ryanair fly to Pau airport from €80 return. Contact: Unicorn Trails, www.unicorntrails.com, 01767-600606.
The Black Mountains, Wales
Excellent for beginners, the trek rides through villages and stops for lunch at pubs along the way. Seven nights from £630. Contact: home.btconnect.com/transwales, 01874-711398.
Jody studied at the University of Limerick and she has been a senior writer for MoneyWeek for more than 15 years. Jody is experienced in interviewing, for example in her time she has dug into the lives of an ex-M15 agent and quirky business owners who have made millions. Jody’s other areas of expertise include advice on funds, stocks and house prices.
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