Traveling Safely: Your Guide to Horse Riding Holidays in the COVID-19 Era
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There’s no denying that 2020 has been a rocky road. The need to disconnect and focus on ourselves and our own wellbeing is now greater than ever.
The global pandemic has affected all aspects of modern life. From grinding to a complete stop to reopening with restrictions in place, travel has seen one of the biggest shifts in 2020.
People turned their attention to their own backyard, and domestic travel has taken center stage. Not surprisingly, outdoor and wellness travel have seen a surge in popularity.
After many months of ups and downs, most of us can’t wait to get away from it all and have a change of scenery. A relaxing horse riding holiday to disconnect from the hustle and bustle, reset, and soothe our soul may just be the escape that we’ve been waiting for.
That said, 2020 has left many people wondering whether it’s safe to go on a horse riding holiday or not. Or even travel at all. The mere thought of travel planning right now is riddled with a lot of questions.
This useful guide is designed to help you plan, book, and enjoy a horse riding holiday safely in the COVID-19 era. Below, you’ll find insights on:
- An overview of travel in the time of coronavirus
- What has changed on horse riding holidays?
- How can I feel safe on a horse riding holiday?
- What are my safest options?
- What if my plans change due to COVID-19?
Note: We strongly advise you to check your local embassy and/or your destination’s official government websites for the travel restrictions in the area you plan to visit prior to booking.
An overview of travel in the time of coronavirus
Since the reopening of certain borders around the globe, we now have a general idea of what traveling in the COVID-19 era looks like. While each country does have its own rules, here’s what you can expect when traveling internationally:
- A negative PCR test might be necessary upon entry into a foreign country, taken, most often, no later than 72 hours prior to the flight.
- If you are unable to take one before you leave home, you may opt to be tested upon arrival and wait out the results in quarantine, should a test be required.
- In certain countries, travelers are required to have their temperature checked and complete a health & travel questionnaire.
- Providing proof of travel plans (accommodation, tours, etc.) might be required upon entry.
- Quarantine may be imposed for up to 14 days in certain countries.
- Providing proof of travel insurance is required in some countries. Ideally, it should cover medical issues, COVID-related claims, and pre-existing medical conditions.
- Wearing masks might be mandatory in all public spaces, including common spaces at the lodging, both indoors and outdoors.
- Travelers showing COVID-19 symptoms will be placed under quarantine.
- Physical distancing is required at all times and in all places, except when you’re only with your travel companions.
- In some destinations, if you’re traveling solo, you can stay in private rooms only. If you’re traveling with your companions, you can share a room. In some cases, if you’re not traveling with your own group and would like to share a room, you might be required to have a negative PCR test taken up to 72 hours before your arrival at the equestrian center.
What has changed on horse riding holidays?
Image credit: Melides Almargem, LDA
There’s no doubt that horse riding holidays look differently in the COVID-19 era. Travelers and holiday organizers alike have learned to be flexible and adapt to the new situation.
As soon as restrictions were eased in certain destinations, numerous horse riding centers went to great lengths to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for their guests.
The organizers have adhered to the local safety protocols and are monitoring the COVID-19 situation in their area. For starters, you’ll find that many of these equestrian centers have limited the maximum number of participants, thus ensuring peace of mind for those seeking a safe escape.
Although extra safety measures are being taken, the main focus on the holidays has not changed. They remain an opportunity to relax and unplug. The entire experience is still centered around horse riding, exploring nature on horseback, bonding with the horse, improving your riding skills, and enjoying the good company.
How can I feel safe on a horse riding holiday? Clean & safe holidays
Image credit: Dartmoor Riding Holidays
While all horse riding holidays have to comply with the general COVID-19 protocols in order to remain operational, some guarantee that they have implemented a number of measures to ensure high standards of health and hygiene, thus preventing and controlling the spread of the virus.
These holidays are tagged “clean & safe” on our BookHorseRidingHolidays.com website.
These holidays take the health of their guests and team very seriously. They focus on extra cleanliness and the best practices to create a safe environment, as much as possible, from the moment you arrive at the equestrian center to the accommodation, horse riding equipment, lessons, meals, and everything in between.
We highly recommend opting for horse riding holidays with the “clean & safe” tag, which guarantee participants that they have adhered to the special health and hygiene protocols implemented by the local government. These measures can differ from one destination to the other, and may include (but are not limited to):
- The equestrian centers use cleaning chemicals that are effective against coronavirus.
- Linens, towels, and laundry are washed according to the local authority guidelines.
- Guest accommodation is disinfected between stays.
- Communal and high-touch areas are regularly disinfected throughout the day.
- The horse riding equipment is disinfected after each use.
- Cashless payment is available.
- Physical distancing is maintained.
- Instructors maintain a safe distance from the client.
- The staff follows all safety protocols as directed by the local government.
- Hand sanitizer is available in guest rooms and key areas.
- Process in place to check the health of guests.
- First aid kit available.
- A room is available to isolate suspected or infected COVID-19 patients.
- Protective masks are available for all staff.
- Protective masks are available for clients.
Note: When attending a horse riding holiday only with your travel companions, the social distancing requirements when dining and during the equestrian activities will be slightly different.
What are my safest options?
Even though most equestrian centers have complied with the general COVID-19 regulations, there are certain traveling options that are safer than others. For example, you can choose to go on a holiday closer to home, travel with your own group and join a private holiday, or opt to spend more time outdoors.
Go on a horse riding holiday closer to home
You don’t have to venture far to experience freedom in the saddle.
The global pandemic has encouraged everyone to travel closer to home. So why not take this opportunity to discover the beauty in your own backyard, explore a destination in your country that you’ve never been to before, or see the familiar with new eyes?
Aside from the safety reasons, there are other benefits of traveling closer to home. Planning transportation is a lot easier, there’s little to no jet lag, and overall, you’ll save time and money.
Simply go to BookHorseRidingHoliday.com and browse horse riding holidays that are closest to your current location.
Image credit: Palac i Folwark Galiny
Are you considering traveling with your friends or family in a small group? For an extra level of comfort, safety, and privacy, you can opt for a private horse riding holiday.
These are group holidays taken to the next level – fully customizable and tailored to your specific needs. There’ll be minimum contact with those outside the group you’re traveling with. It’ll be just you, your private group, instructors, and staff throughout your stay at the riding center.
Furthermore, the social distancing requirements when dining and during the equestrian activities will be slightly different from a regular holiday where people outside your group might attend.
One of the most valuable lessons the global pandemic has taught us is to never underestimate the healing power of nature. In 2020, more people chose to relax in nature, quite a significant increase compared to pre-lockdown.
It goes without saying that social distancing is a lot easier in the great outdoors. Furthermore, when you’re outside, fresh air is constantly moving, dispersing the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.
Being outdoors has numerous other benefits, including boosting your mood, relieving tension, lowering stress, and fighting depression, as well as giving your body a good dose of vitamin D, which is known to increase immunity.
Thankfully, most horse riding holidays include a lot of time in the great outdoors, weather permitting. Therefore, there’s little to no interaction with other people while you ride. But what if you could limit the interaction when you’re not riding as well?
On a horse riding and camping trip, you can ride through remote areas, far from the crowds, without having to worry about finding accommodation. This way, there’ll be limited contact with those outside the group you’re riding with.
Because traveling in a small group is safer and because experiences are better when shared, why not go on a horse riding holiday with just the people that matter most to you? This way, you’ll get to spend plenty of quality time as a family and create timeless memories with your loved ones.
An increasing number of equestrian centers are welcoming children. They can engage in a number of activities that are both educative and entertaining. Family horse riding holidays welcome everyone, no matter the age or level of experience.
What if my plans change due to COVID-19? Flexible booking conditions
Concerned that your plans may change due to COVID-19? Thanks to BookHorseRidingHolidays.com’s flexible booking conditions, you can reschedule your booking for free or receive your non-refundable deposit as a voucher and re-book anytime.
Reschedule your horse riding holiday
If new travel restrictions are put in place and you need to cancel or postpone your trip, you can change the dates of your holiday. Contact our customer service team or the holiday organizer to inquire about the other available dates.
Book a different trip
If you or the holiday organizer is not able to reschedule your trip, you can book a different trip in whichever location you choose. Simply use your deposit to book the new holiday.
Receive credit & book any trip later
If you are unsure whether you can travel or when, you can convert your non-refundable deposit into store credit. This way, you can use the credit for any vacation that we have available on any of our themed travel websites, such as yoga retreats, meditation retreats, surf camps, safaris, wellness holidays, and more.
*Cover image credit: Gaucho do Brasil