With summer coming to a close, now is the perfect time to take an impromptu trip or plan ahead for winter and spring break. What sounds better than an equestrian-themed vacation? Take your love for horses out of the stable and experience a new city and culture while you’re at it.
Find a way to incorporate horses into your vacation, whether it be as simple as riding on the beach or something centered around equestrianism. Either way, there is a place for you on this list of the Top 9 Best Equestrian Vacation Destinations, listed in no particular order.
Top 9 Best Equestrian Vacation Destinations
- Lexington, KY
Deemed the Horse Capital of the World, Lexington is perfect for an equestrian vacation. Stop by the Kentucky Horse Park and check out their various museums, equine memorials (including Man O' War's!), the Hall of Champions, and their Parade of Breeds show. You can even trail ride through the park. Plan your trip around the Land Rover Three Day Event (formerly Rolex) or Breyerfest to have even more fun at the Horse Park.
Lexington is also home to Thoroughbred racing horses. Catch them in action at Keeneland, the local racetrack. Keeneland also offers tours and other things besides racing. After the races, take a tour of the impressive Thoroughbred farms in Lexington. You may even see a famous racehorse!
- Louis, MO
STL is famous for the Arch, also known as the Gateway to the Midwest. They have plenty of non-equestrian activities like the City Museum, Missouri Botanical Garden, various breweries, and more. However, they’re also home to the Budweiser Clydesdales!
Grant’s Farm is a 281-acre property owned by the Anheuser-Busch family that's home to over 900 animals, including the Clydesdales. You can walk through the Budweiser Clydesdale barn and even take a 1.5-hour tour called the “Clydesdale Adventure.” On the tour, you'll learn all about how they raise, train, and maintain the Clydesdales, as well as get to meet one up-close!
- Louisville, KY
Put your fancy hat on, we're going to the derby! Louisville is home to Churchill Downs, the racetrack where the Kentucky Derby (the first leg of the Triple Crown) takes place. Take a tour of the grounds, watch a race or two, try your hand at betting, and check out the Kentucky Derby Museum. While in Louisville, you can take a Bourbon Tour, a ghost tour of Old Louisville, visit the Louisville Slugger Museum, see the Louisville Zoo, and more!
- Vienna, Austria
The Spanish Riding School is located in Vienna, the capital of Austria. The Spanish Riding School is a beautiful, ornate institution for classical equitation Lipizzaner horses. They offer tours of the School as well as tickets to performances or training sessions. Vienna is a beautiful city, while you're there you can visit different palaces, cathedrals, the Viennese Ferris Wheel, the Schönbrunn Zoo, and more.
- Chincoteague Island, Virginia
Did you read Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry as a child? If so, you probably know that it was based on a true story and a real place. Chincoteague and Assateague Island are home to over 150 wild Chincoteague ponies. In July, they round up a group of ponies on the island and have them swim to the mainland to be auctioned off. Travel to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island to catch a glimpse of the wild ponies in their natural habitat!
- Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland is home to the charming Icelandic Horse. Take a trail ride (or even a week-long camping trip) atop one of these horses as you trek across Iceland's terrain. Icelandic Horses are five-gaited, so you'll get to ride their two unique gaits, the tölt and the flying pace. While in Reykjavik, check out the beautiful downtown area and relax in the outdoor geothermal seawater spa at the Blue Lagoon!
- Andalusia, Spain
Doesn't riding a Spanish Andalusian horse along the sandy coast sound dreamy? Make that dream a reality with a vacation to Andalusia. You can ride at beaches like Estepona or Marbella and soak up the sun. You can visit cities like Granada and Seville. Andalusia is a lively autonomous community in Spain and it's the perfect destination if you’re looking for a fun beach vacation with some horse riding on the side!
- Ocala, Florida
Ocala is also trademarked as the Horse Capital of the World, one of the five cities in the world that is allowed to be called that. Dedicate a trip to Ocala or stop by while you're visiting nearby towns like Tampa or Orlando. There are hundreds of horse farms in Ocala, as well as multiple premier equestrian venues. One venue is the 500-acre Florida Horse Park, which hosts many shows and events throughout the year. The Horse Park is also the official training site of the U.S. Equestrian Olympic team.
Also based in Ocala is the brand-new World Equestrian Center, a show-stopping equestrian event venue. It boasts 5 indoor arenas and a whopping 16 outdoor arenas. The Grand Outdoor Arena is over 128,000 square feet alone! The grounds also include a chapel and a luxury hotel called The Equestrian Hotel.
- Scottsdale, Arizona
Scottsdale is a vibrant town in Arizona that is home to many horse lovers, especially Arabian owners, breeders, and trainers. Visit the local equestrian event facility, WestWorld of Scottsdale, and try to time your trip so you can attend the renowned Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show! You can also take the annual Arabian Horse Farm Tour and see the stunning stables and horses of Scottsdale. While in Scottsdale, you can hike through their various parks, visit the Taliesin West, the former home of Frank Lloyd Wright, and much more.
These top equestrian destinations in both the United States and abroad are perfect for your next vacation. Some people don’t want to go on vacation because they have to leave their horse; taking a trip to one of these cities will help ease the pain. Happy trails and have fun planning your next horse-centric vacation!