Cornwall – the best destination for a riding holiday

Whether you are a committed equestrian, a casual rider or someone who has never sat in the saddle, Cornwall has something for everyone looking for the best view on earth – the one between two happy and pricked ears.

Cornwall has a thriving equestrian industry which caters for the holiday trade whatever level of rider you are and whatever sort of riding you are looking for.  Most visitors want to ride out and enjoy the beautiful scenery and coastline but if you are keen to try some tuition and really hone your skills, then there are centres which offer instruction as well.

Enjoy riding through leafy woodlands, wild open moorland or along the stunning coastline.  Everyone has visions of galloping along a Cornish beach and you can even go sea swimming with your horse.  But perhaps your type of riding is more of a sedate plod down green, leafy bridleways.  Inland away from the sea, Cornwall is full of peaceful treks along winding lanes in shady, secluded valleys.  For the more adventurous, enjoy the rugged and challenging terrain and wide open spaces of Bodmin Moor.  Cornwall offers something for all riders, adults and children.  Spend time riding out with your children, something you may have never done even if you do ride at home.

Stay comfortable – the best riding wear for new or casual riders

The majority of centres can lend and fit you with an approved riding helmet so there is no need to go the expense of buying one just for your holiday.  If you are already a rider then it is worth taking your own hat with you.  There are certain types of clothing which will be more comfortable and suitable to ride in which include:-

  • Slim fitting trousers – they don’t have to be tight, flexible is better.  Avoid anything with seams if possible as these can rub.  Leggings need to be thick enough – the lycra leggings are quite thin and slippery.  Most centres won’t let you ride in shorts – they can be very uncomfortable and the stirrup leathers can nip and chaff bare legs
  • Boots – a short sturdy closed boot is ideal, make sure it has a smooth sole, this is so your foot can slide through the stirrup in the event of a fall; soles with ridges or treads can become caught in the stirrup iron.  The boot should also have a small heel – this is to stop your foot travelling all the way through the iron and trapping your leg.  Fashion boots with heels and trainers are not suitable and you should beware of being around horses on the ground in flip-flops.  Horses often accidentally tread on feet and their weight combined with a metal shoe can create a serious injury
  • Hair and jewellery – jewellery like bracelets and earrings can become caught in tack or branches of trees when you ride out so is best removed or kept to a minimum.  It is easier to fit a riding hat if your hair is tied back in a bunch or ponytail and it will be cooler when you riding as riding hats can make your head quite hot
  • Shirts and tee-shirts – if you are riding through woodland, it can be easier to have your arms covered or at least the top half and your shoulders.  A cotton polo shirt is ideal  

Riding holidays

Some people pick Cornwall as their destination for a dedicated riding holiday.  But if you are a new rider or a relative beginner, then three to four hours in the saddle a day will be very tiring especially if you are not used to it.  Most centres offer a mixture of tuition and hacking or riding out and can produce a programme tailored to suit your individual needs.

Some riding centres offer ‘own a pony’ days which are lovely for children to spend all day with a designated pony as if it were their own.  These days will include a mixture of riding, stable management and grooming and lets the parents sneak off for some downtime, enjoying all the different visitor delights that Cornwall has to offer.

Holiday with your horse

There are many riding centres and farms which offer accommodation for both you and your four-legged friend whether you are looking for a luxury berth for the night or glamping under the starry skies.  Depending on where you choose to stay, Cornwall offers a range of unique scenery and riding opportunities with a field or cosy stable waiting for your horse at the end of the day.  You don’t have to stay on site with your horse, why not rent a Cornish cottage with your horse down the lane?.

Time out of the saddle

Enjoy all those aspects of Cornwall which makes it a world-famous holiday destination – quaint harbourside towns and villages, sleepy green valleys and a stunning coastline.  There is local cuisine to suit all tastes and budgets and nothing can be nicer than tucking into a well-earned cream tea after a few hours in the saddle working up an appetite.

Wherever you stay in Cornwall, you have never more than 20 miles from the sea.  Time out of the saddle can be spent enjoying the picturesque coves and sleepy creeks on the south coast or the rugged and dramatic Atlantic coastline in the north.

There is lots of information online so wherever your holiday cottage is located, there will be riding stables nearby.  Some stables specialise in countryside hacking or beach rides depending on their location.  There are larger equestrian centres inland which serve the local community as competition and training venues and these are the places to aim for if your ambition is to improve your riding skills whilst you are on holiday in Cornwall.  Why not mix and match?  Spend time at centre honing your riding skills and then take to the beach for some unrestricted fun in the surf.

Cornwall is a place where magical memories are made and there can be nothing more special than combining a holiday in such a lovely location with a passion or interest in horses.  You will be torn between your time in the saddle and the time spent exploring this beautiful county.