Top 5 horse holidays
Have you ever been on holiday with your horse?
Nothing beats the excitement of going on holiday and taking your horse with you. I have been away a few times, it is great fun and a lovely chance to spend all day with my Highland pony and really connect or reconnect should I say.
I have lost my ‘mojo’ for competing now but I still value spending ‘quality’ time with my ponies. I love the buzz of training and helping them understand the task ahead so all my horse holidays have been around training and education. So no outside distractions, it is all about them and you. Even better go somewhere offering catering & accommodation so you just get to ride, eat, sleep, repeat.
My top 5 (in no particular order…)
1 - Without doubt I am going to mention Stockland Lovell Manor residential camps, famous for their quality teaching and fabulous food. I have never attended one as a client but I photograph them throughout the season and the fun, laughter and breakthroughs I see in people and their horses is joyous to watch and be part of. Their camps are suited to all levels and focus on the more traditional three elements of riding; flatwork, show jumping and cross country. All the staff at Stockland Lovell Manor are so flexible you can focus in on just one element and have all your lessons in that vein. The biggest bonus is having me there to capture all the fun for you. Check out their website here.
2 - I have been drawn to Agility, Horsemanship, Trec and Western riding for years, although I do ride ‘English’ and still love to jump (not much fun in a Western saddle). I have attended a few Western camps along the way, they have always been warm and welcoming even with me in my English gear. The focus is really on bonding and working with your horse as a partner. Usually a morning session, inhand work, concentrating on your connection. The afternoon session are ridden, involving trail patterns, obstacles and horsemanship. A thoroughly chilled out, enjoyable time.
Try the alternative riding club, they can be found on Facebook at
3 - Staying on the horsemanship theme…
Try a Joe Wolter Camp - wow, another dimension again, Joe Wolter comes over from the USA for a couple of training clinics each year. I went to one with my Highland pony at Kentisbeare in Devon, it was fascinating, we even had a mule in attendance. They were long sessions, but so valuable, you get from it what you put into it. I still draw from it now, over 4 years on. I chose to do a mix of inhand and ridden work, some stayed with the inhand work for the whole clinic. I love the flexibility of this style, very much working to you and your horses abilities at that moment in time.
Joe Wolter camps are run by James Robinson, he can be contacted via the Joe Wolter UK group on facebook
4 - Now for the curve ball…Tina Fitzgibbon of Equichanics runs a Jousting and Cattle Herding camp, if you fancy doing something different. I did both these clinics as separate days. Tina is now running it as a two day experience. It was challenging and so rewarding, a great way to bond with your horse doing something completely different and focusing in on working together as a team. My Highland is petrified of cattle so it was kill or cure. I am not sure he is totally cured but it didn’t kill us. Tina can be contacted via her facebook page
5 - Buck Brannaman - if you haven’t heard of him, ‘Google’ him and watch the amazing documentary film BUCK. Another American and a pure genius of a horseman. I have been to Aintree twice to watch his UK training tour, getting a place with your horse in is like finding hen’s teeth. So I did the next best thing and rode in a clinic with one of his long term students Ricky Quinn, this clinic was in Ireland so I rented a green horse for this, that is a whole different story and quite a funny one for another day but again so valuable to immerse myself in training for three days.
Keep an eye on Total Horsemanship on Facebook for upcoming clinics.
There are always opportunities to attend as a spectator and I have been lucky enough to do this on several occasions including going to Hampshire for a weekend to watch a two day clinic with Mark Rashid. And although I have found attending these clinics really informative and I learn so much, there is nothing better than taking part and practising over and over with your horse, in front of the watchful eye of a professional.
No doubt I will be boxing up the ponio very soon for our next big adventure.
I would love to hear from you, what has been your best horse holiday?