Going on a riding camp is a fantastic way to spend time with the animals you adore, meet fantastic like minded people, and experience amazing locations terrains and a different riding experience.
So why not get together with some of your friends to see whether a horsey holiday would be possible?
Here are some of the things you need to think about:
- What do you want to do on holiday? If you want a mix of tuition plus beach riding then your location will be key. If you just want tuition you should have more choice.
- How far are you prepared to travel? If you only want to travel, say for an hour, it may well restrict your choice of venue.
- Within your travel limits, how much choice do you have regarding venues? If, for example, you are looking for training places, somewhere like Milton Keynes Event Centre, usually has all you need for the horses and will know of local B & Bs etc. If you just want a hacking holiday have a look at the BHS publication, which lists B & Bs for horses and riders.
- Where are the riders going to stay? Some centres allow you to stay in your horseboxes - check first, rather than just assume. (NB - some places are happy for you to take your dog, others won't allow it. Find out if there are local cottages to rent as holiday lets or local B & Bs for those who don't want to, or can't stay, in horseboxes. Having a cottage is really useful as it means you all have somewhere to eat, have showers, spend the evening etc.
- How will you organize meals? We all eat together but you may decide to cook for yourself in your horsebox or go to a local pub. If going to the pub, it's wise to book in advance, especially if you are a larger group eg eight people or more.
- Getting the costs together - two of your party should get the costs in, make sure you are not forgetting anything, and then calculate the cost of the holiday. Remember to include: costs of instruction; costs of stabling; food for all breakfasts, lunches, evening meals and snacks; hire of facilities (can include cottages if on site, a general fee for the use of the arenas without the presence of an instructor etc); thank you gifts for your instructors; other costs eg if staying in a cottage you may need to provide soap, loo rolls, washing up liquid etc or you may decide to take a taxi together one evening into the local town. Double check when you get costings whether VAT is payable or not.
- Once you have the total costs you can work out the cost for each participant. You may need to adjust costs a little eg if you all eat/shower in a cottage but some stay in their horseboxes they will pay less than those that sleep in the cottage.
- You'll need to pay deposits and you all need to agree what happens should anyone be unable to attend at the last minute.
- The final payment for a cottage is usually made one to two months before arrival so whoever is organizing everything needs to make sure they have enough money from everyone to make the payment. Instructors are usually paid on departure - some will quote per hour, others have a daily rate. You must keep track of an instructor's hours to ensure that you do not go over budget.
So, if you fancy going away with your horse and a few friends, why not organize your own horse camp?
If you enjoy time away with your horsey friends, tell us about your experiences!