Is airfare included?
Riders arrive from all over the world to begin our rides. Because of this, we do not include international airfare in our prices. We have an awesome travel agent if you’re interested – OR – if you’re a real DIYer, ask us for our tips on good airfare sites!
Do I need vaccinations?
It’s important that you receive the most accurate and up-to-date travel health information for the region you will be visiting. We can offer our “two cents’ but the only one qualified to provide you with specific advice for you personally is your family physician or a specialist from your local health department.
Do I need a Visa? And if so, how do I get one?
Requirements for travel visas vary widely depending on your nationality and your destination. And while most of our destinations do not require a visa, if yoru unique situation does require a visa you can arrange them yourself by contacting the consulate or embassay for your destination country. If you need any help -just ask us!
What type of luggage should I use/bring?
We strongly recommend bringing a soft sided case or rolling duffel bag, as hard suitcases can be cumbersome and difficult to store in trains, under seats, etc.. Keep in mind that you will normally have to carry your own luggage on and off buses and trains as you make your way to the meeting point, and up and down hotel staircases. Suitcases with wheels are great (we love ’em) but may not work well on dirt or cobblestone roads.
How do I know what to pack?
We always recommend packing for all types of weather (you can be in arid Spain and it might still rain….) however the specific requirements for your ride will vary depending on where and when you are traveling. Our ‘Trip Details’ document includes a suggested packing list and these can be downloaded from each individual trip summary page. The checklist is tour specific and based upon the experience of our guides and staff.
What’s my riding ability?
No worries – that’s fairly easy! But you can rest easy as before we book you on any of the riding trips, we’ll have a nice chat with you to discuss all of this and ensure you are picking the right trip for you. But in a nutshell, here’s how we look at it:
Beginner: You are entirely new to riding or just beginning your journey with horses. You have no or very little experience working with or around horses and have ridden little if none. But don’t worry! We’ll have you acquainted, familiar and mounted in no time. The best trips for you are any of our lesson programs – they cater to all ages and all ability levels.
Intermediate: You have more experience with or around horses. You’ve ridden presently or in the past and are confident at the walk and trot and canter on a steady horse or some extended faster cantering on easier terrain. Most of our rides are yours for enjoying – as they have at minimum 50% walking and 50% trotting/cantering.
Advanced: You are an experienced horse person, are comfortable and confident around horses and all aspects of tacking/untacking as necessary as well as all riding at gaits including long and fast canters and even some galloping. Some of our advanced rides may include optional jumps along the way. The best rides for you are the safaris, the ones with longer days in the saddle or the ones with the most varied terrain, such as Scotland, etc.
How do I choose a trip?
Great question! And here’s the easy answer – call us at 800.973.3221 – we can have a quick chat with you, ask some questions and then help guide you to rides that are best suited based on our personal experience. BUT – if you don’t quite want the pressure of speaking to us live (we get it, connecting in person can sometimes mean a commitment when we are just looking for info – and we don’t want any salesy type person calling us to follow up) you can check out our blog post on this exact topic HERE: https://activeridingtrips.com/how-to-pick-a-trip-5-simple-steps/
These look like adult trips – are any of these trips for families with kids?
INDEED! While the majority of our riders are friends traveling on their own or with friends, we have a very nice section of rides that cater to families – both of varied ability or varied interest level? So if you’ve got some that want to sleep on 24/7 on horseback and others that want to see horses in the distance (or anything in between) let us know and we’ll send you all the details on trips that would work best for your family!
Do you have an age limit?
What a question!?! But all kidding aside – here’s the “deal” on both sides of that question. Starting with the upper range – it’s more a question of fitness and health than of “the number”. Our founder Stacey always cites one of her longtime clients and friends who is 73 and can still mount from the ground (when Stacey cannot). So let’s not focus on the number itself – again, shoot us an email or give us a call and we’ll recommend the trips that would best strike your fancy! On the lower range – that’s a bit more tricky. Kids, and especially those that have grown up riding are fit – and fearless! (Oh to be them or channel some of the courage they don’t even know they have!) Our youth camp programs are tailored just for them and for all abilities. But let’s say you want to take your child/niece/nephew/special young person on a ride – many of our rides can accommodate kids from 12 and up, and some from 8 and up – it’s really all based on ability and stamina – because don’t forget, the pace of the ride is determined by the weakest/slowest rider. So again, reach out by phone or email and let us get some ideas coming your way for some great memory making rides!
Who is the average client?
We are (beyond) blessed to have an amazing range of clients – and they are diverse.
- 85% are women – traveling solo or with a friend(s)
- They range in age from 35-78
- They have a passion for horses and riding (or learning to ride)
- They hail from North America primarily, though our extended global family is growing fast!
- 80% take a trip annually or every 2 years
- 10% take 2 or more trips per year
- 100% make new friends on a trip and stay connected via email, social media, etc. afterward
What if I ride but my partner/friend not so much?
Not to worry – that’s easy peasy! We’ve got loads of ideas for you that range from fun rides that will entice YOU without scaring the bejeezus out of your partner (appropriate horse pairing is our specialty). We also have incredible options for your totally non riding companion – think fishing, world class golfing, motorcycle touring – you name it – we’ve done it! Ask us…..
Are the horses good and well cared for?
The short answer to this is YES. But to elaborate – the horses ARE the crux of our business. Without them, we’d have nothing. Pretty scenery, nice hotels, good meals – those are all the icing on the cake. We go for the horses! And we won’t compromise on the quality of this item – not ever. You can rest assured that the horses are top notch, good citizens. Like your own, they come in a variety of sizes, colors and temperaments – but they are all well taken care of and happy in their lives. They may not all be perfect, or beauty queens/kings, but they love their jobs and are happy to show you. And if you do find that you aren’t seeing quite “eye to eye” with your horse – just tell your guide on Day 1 and you’ll be switched out post haste! (Unless your horses’ name is Smart – ok, that’s an inside joke – ask us!)
Do I have to buy travel insurance?
Hmmm, now that’s not so easy. On some trips (think African safaris, Peru’s Machu Picchu Ride) yes – in fact you do – it’s obligatory. On many other trips, it’s at your discretion. The choice is really yours. But as professionals in the industry – just like wearing a helmet – we STRONGLY encourage you to buy travel insurance every time. We’ve used it to cancel our trip due to illness or a sick parent (in fact one of our clients slipped on a coffee spill at her home town departure airport and found herself riding an ambulance to the hospital for a broken elbow vs. riding a horse in Ireland) We’ve used it to claim for travel or baggage delays and also for broken pottery that we hand carried back on a plane (well, to be clear, we aren’t sure where it broke – but it was broken when got home, and not when we bought it). And if you should, on the off chance, happen to become sick or injured on a trip – the insurance will often pay for someone to travel over to be with you and assist you in getting home. The policies have all manner of options. And as mentioned previously, not only do we ride on vacation, we ride at home – and horses are horses. Even a broken toe can impact a vacation…..so think about it. The investment is small compared with the coverage.
How do I get to/from my trip starting and ending point?
Trip specific information on transportation can be found on the trip summary page however in most cases during your trip, we use our own vehicles to transport you/your luggage. For “getting to/from” your trip meeting points, we’ve found that how you get there significantly influences the tone of your journey and public transportation allows face-to-face interaction with the local people. Some of our adventures, including our resort trips and most adventures in Africa, use private transportation.
What’s the deal with tipping?
On all of the rides, gratuities for meals, hotel staff, etc. are included. The only tipping you’ll need is for the guide/staff at the end of the week. A general rule of thumb on tipping (though any tip is completely at your discretion and based on the value you feel you received) is 10% (+/-) of the tout cost per person.
What if I have a problem on my trip?
That would be a serious bummer to be sure, and we hope it doesn’t happen. Problems come in two categories:
- Home based problems – family illness, crisis, etc.
- Trip based problems – with a horse, the guide, the accommodation, etc.
Either are easily addressed though, so you can rest easy. If you have a “home based” problem and need to depart early, we hope you will have taken out travel insurance to that you can protect your trip investment as well as not incur extra cost should you decide/need to depart early. If you have a “trip based” problem, please alert your guide immediately so that they can address it and get you back to enjoying your trip. In the unlikely event the guide is not able to address your problem, contact your Active Riding Trips liaison so they can intervene on your behalf and get you back to an enjoyable week.
What if I need (or see) something during the trip?
Ah, yes – things you don’t want to ask for fear of embarrassment! Generally your group will be fairly homongenous in terms of ability. But should you see (or need yourself) that someone is struggling or needs help, kudos to you to jump in – or better yet – quietly alert a staff member. Chances are, the person in need felt too embarrassed to ask for themselves and will be very grateful. This can range from help with tack that is new to you, requesting to slow the pace for a bit, a “convenience” stop (bathroom break), asking for a new horse, etc. This is your vacation and we want it to be an A+++ experience. But neither we, nor your guide, are mind readers. So please, pull us aside and let us help you – tell us what you need so we can get it taken care of as quickly as possible.
Is there a protocol for trail riding?
Great question – and YES – there is indeed a protocol for trail riding. Check with your guide if you are unclear or need more info, but here’s your “cheat sheet”:
- Never overtake another horse without calling out and asking permission
- Leave at least the length of one horse between you and the horse in front of you
- When riding around fields, always stay to the edge
- Never hold your horse back so you can trot/canter to catch up with the group (among other things that will get you excused from the trip – no refund allowed).
- Never pass the front guide
- If the guide shares information, pass it back
- Call out loudly if you need help or to slow down/stop
- When riding in an arena, pass left to left (just like driving) (generally)
- If someone or something is out of control, follow the lead of the guide, or if safe, stop your horse and stand quietly until the matter is resolved
- Watch the guide for hand signals to indicate slowing of the pace
- When in doubt – call/speak out – it’s better for all riders to know what you need/are doing than to not know
What is the deposit amount?
Most of our trips require a $500.00 USD (per person) non refundable deposit per person (though it can be transferred) but a scant few do require larger amounts – all of that will be detailed to you in writing when before you make your actual booking.
When is my balance due?
All trips must be paid in full no later than 60 days prior to travel, and in some cases 70 days prior – but again, we’ll stay on top of all of this for you and not only tell you at the time of booking, but remind you as you get closer to your trip date.
How can I pay?
We accept payment via PayPal (credit cards or your personal PayPal account) for which we charge a 3.5% fee. We also accept personal checks, with no additional fee.
How can I book my trip?
No problem friend! Just give us a ring at 800.973.3221 or fill out the form on the site and we’ll get in touch with you! Why can’t you reserve online? Our riding trips are small in nature, generally about 10 people per week at the most (in some cases less). And availability changes daily. Add to that the fact that we insist on having a chat with your first – to ensure that the trip you are booking is just exactly the right one for you, and that’s why we don’t allow for booking (and paying the deposit) online.
What if I need to cancel?
Well that’s a total bummer – But we get it – life happens.
- If you need to cancel and you are still 60 days prior to departure, you either forfeit your $500.00 deposit or you may move it to a new date within 12 months of the cancellation (on the same trip).
- If you are between 31-60 days prior to travel, you forfeit 50% of the trip cost.
- If you are within 30 days of the trip departure, you forfeit 100% of the trip cost.
***This is why we are such strong advocates for Travel Insurance – if you have it – you don’t have to worry about any of the above amounts – you’ll be covered for any legitimate cancellation (most things other than a change of heart).
Can I postpone my trip?
Well yes – you can! Though as in all things – timing is everything! Any postponements must be handled in the 61+ day window to departure, otherwise cancellations fees may be incurred. Postponed dates must fall within 12 months of your original departure date.
Can’t I just book direct with the guide?
Yes – in fact you can.
But why would you? When you book with us you receive the following advantages:
- Impartial advice on which ride is best suited to you and your dream trip
- No difference in price than if you booked direct (we guarantee it assuming the same trip)
- A (local) person to call with all your questions on the trip and pre/post items
- The assurance that we know these rides intimately and have long relationships with the guides/hosts
- Your own personal advocate – in case you need one – should you have any problem
- A trusted travel team, ready, willing and able to assist with all parts of your trip planning