What better way to see a breathtaking landscape than on the back of a horse? Much of the world was discovered and first charted by horseback, and tour companies have taken note, adding horseback vacations and tour packages for the equine-loving traveler. You now have the opportunity to explore this planet as our ancestors did on a galloping friend! Travel companies offer various packages geared towards both adventure and leisure riding in a variety of countries allowing travelers to venture off the tour bus roads and into experience the real landscape.
The Inca valley in Peru has been gaining in popularity as a top travel destination. You can now visit South American pre-Columbian ruins on top of a horse and visit less trafficked trails off the main tourist path. The Inca trail to Machu Pichu usually takes several days on foot and can be an arduous journey. It still takes time atop of a horse but you get to see more as you are not working as hard hiking up the side of an Andean mountain.
Perhaps your curiosity lies within an exotic African safari. Travelers are flocking to Kenya to experience an up-close and personal experience with some of Africa's most celebrated an non-threatening animals all while on top of a Somali horse. These tours usually take you into remote areas where you live with a Masai tribe for the duration of your stay. You will experience a new culture and be far away from the noise of tourist vans for the duration of the trip. Horses are not seen as threats to many forms of wildlife and riding though a herd of of zebras, for example, gives you the opportunity to have a closer look at these wild animals that you would otherwise not experience from the window of a tour bus.
Iceland, a country that is known for its own unique breed of horse, has a tour package that includes seeing various parts of the country while riding. Icelandic horses are quite gentle and slightly smaller than other breeds. They are a purebred descendent of Viking horses which came to the island over a thousand years ago and have evolved to their current state from over a millennium of isolation. These horses are known for their gentle demeanor and friendly disposition which makes them perfect for the inexperienced rider.
Taking a riding tour through the country allows you to see many parts of the island that are usually inaccessible to vehicles such as volcanos, geysers, glaciers, waterfalls and deep green valleys. This Nordic country is largely unspoiled by humans due to its harsh climate and low population; if you want to see a pristine wilderness on horseback, Iceland is the place to go!
Many other countries offer horseback riding tours, often in various locals. Before booking a tour, do some research and check if the package is right for you. Some are quite basic and are more geared for "roughing it" in the woods or camping under the stars, while others will take you to the comforts of a modern hotel each night.
Having the opportunity to spend a holiday where you really get to experience the natural terrain, culture, and local horse breeds is like no other travel experience you will ever have, and will no doubt leave a lasting impression and a lifetime of memories.
Image from flickr.com