For animal lovers, horse riding can be a memorable experience that provides a natural alternative way to explore the local area. Swimming with horses takes the experience to another level; we’ve discovered some of the world’s best stables that offer ‘swimming with horses’ sessions. (Prices are correct at the time of conversion).
1/11 ‘Being with horses’ stables, Tobago
An ethically-focused riding centre on the paradise island of Tobago, the ‘Being with horses’ stable offers a physical and spiritual experience with a much-loved herd of horses. The animals live in natural conditions in an open setting with continuous access to an abundance of fresh feed and space, ensuring their contentment and happiness that is said to be passed on to the rider. This is a back-to-nature experience; guests will experience riding without restrictive bridles or saddles, splashing through the shallows of the turquoise ocean and swimming across the bay. There are several riding experience packages to choose from including therapeutic riding, an education tour visiting a local castle. The stables is run by a local couple and this is a fascinating opportunity to learn about natural horsemanship in a beautiful setting.
Where: Buccoo, Tobago
Price: £74 per person
Find out more and book at Being with horses
2/11 ‘In the Breeze’ Ranch, Tampa, Florida
Established in the 1980s, this classic ranch in the ‘Sunshine State’ offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to swim with their family of equine residents. Each session includes a free lesson to ensure safety, confidence and comfort for every rider. There are two swimming locations- either at a beach-side swimming hole, or a natural lake. The creek that riders visit is fed by a spring, making for clean, crystal clear water. The water stays above 22 degrees all year round, so riders are guaranteed a comfortable and relaxing experience. The horses enter the water with riders on their back, continuing to swim as the riders skim along the top of the water. Rides go ahead come rain or shine (you’re going to get wet anyway!) and are hosted seven days a week.
Where: In the Breeze Ranch, Tampa, Florida
Price: 75 minutes for £74 per person
Find out more and book at In the breeze ranch
3/11 ‘Island Riders’ stables, Gros Islet, St. Lucia
Soak up tropical island vibes with this experience at Gros Islet in St Lucia paradise. Riders will take a tour around the fishing village of Gros Islet, experiencing what life was like before tourism boomed in the Caribbean. Bano, your host, will take show you to Chico’s, a nearby bar where guests can play pool and meet locals (as well as sampling home-made spiced rum!) After some refreshment, head down to the white-sand beach and splash in the turquoise ocean with the horses, who love cooling off. Let the guides know what kind of scenery you prefer (beach, grasslands, villages) and they will happily oblige to cater the tour to your liking.
Where: Gros Islet, St Lucia
Price: 2 hours for £37 per person
Find out more and book at St Lucia Horse Rides
4/11 Mozambique Horse Safaris
Take a walk on the wild side on this horse safari with ocean views and swaying palm trees. Your morning or afternoon ride will take in some of the best of Mozambique’s natural beauty, from mangrove shores to breathtaking cliff tops and dune bush to sprawling beach sands. Look forward to making a splash with the horses as you take a dip in the ocean. If you love horses but fancy staying dry, alternative trips with Mozambique Horse Safaris include a village ride through coconut plantations to a fresh seafood lunch; a red sand dunes tour or a moonlight ride along the beach.
Where: Vilankulo, Mozambique
Price: 90 minutes for £37 per person
Find out more and book at Mozambique Horse Safaris
5/11 Wheal Buller Riding School, Cornwall
Enjoy a day out in the English countryside on this trip with Wheal Buller Riding School in Redruth, Cornwall. Families will hack to Carn Marth Lake for a gentle saddle-free swim with the horses. Bring a backpack to carry your swimming costume, towel and change of clothes (and leave the expensive riding boots at home!) Life jackets are provided. Other riding trips with Wheal Buller include beach excursions, pub-stop Sundays and ‘own a pony’ days that are popular with little ones!
Where: Cornwall, England
Price: ‘Afternoon swim’ for £45 per person
Find out more and book at Cornish Riding Holidays
6/11 Al Sahra Desert Resort, Dubai
Swap the camels for horses at the Desert Ranch from Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa. Enjoy a bright and early start at 6am, heading to the stables to catch the horses at breakfast. Begin by exploring the stables and meeting the four-legged residents before being introduced to your horse for the day (riders are welcome to bring their own horses so it’s a good opportunity to meet like-minded locals too). Begin the short walk from the stables to the beach, where your horse can trot along in the shallows before heading into deeper water. ‘Swimming with horses’ sessions are available every Monday from 7am-9am.
Where: Al Sahra Desert Resort, Dubai
Price: £50 per person
Find out more and book at JA Resorts & hotels
7/11 ‘Liberty Ranch’, Cambodia
Spend an hour and a half at the stunning Otres beach in Cambodia. Guests will learn the basics of beach riding and get to know their horses before taking off the saddle and dipping into the sea. A £12 initiation session is available for beginner riders, where you can learn how to mount safely, balance and change direction and gait. For those looking for a longer experience there are own-a-pony holidays, where equine experts will educate riders on practical care of the horses, ‘sensory discovery’ of each animal and how to read body language. Other courses include a half-day hack, countryside riding and a mountain riding experience.
Where: Sihanoukville, Cambodia
Price: £30 per person
Find out more and book at Horseback Cambodia
8/11 ‘Go Voyagin’, Bali
Enjoy a tropical experience on the picturesque island of Bali. Visitors will tack up at the stables near to the coast before riding along the beach, taking in the beauty of Indonesian nature. Stopping at a turtle conservation centre you will be able to learn about the efforts taken to care for the turtles of Bali and pose for photos with the residents. Next, take the horses to enjoy the warm water and swim in the ocean with them. Enjoy a traditional Balinese fried rice lunch, ‘nasi goreng’, before riding back along the beach to the stables. This package is a great way to enjoy some of the best of Bali’s sights while getting to swim with horses.
Where: Bali, Indonesia
Price: £55 per person
Find out more and book at Voyagin
9/11 ‘Pampered Ponies’, Grand Cayman
Established in 1996, the Pampered Ponies stables on postcard-perfect Grand Cayman offers a once-in-a-lifetime riding experience. There are horses available for every skill and confidence level and the knowledgeable guides will ensure that everyone feels happy and secure with their equine partner. Riders will walk along a white-sand beach along the northern stretch of the island and into the Barker’s National Park. Take the horses into the warm water in the National Park, ‘surfing’ on their backs as you enjoy views across to Stingray City. A thorough briefing on the horses and their equipment is included in each ‘swim with horses’ experience.
Where: Grand Cayman
Price: £65 per person
Find out more and book at Pampered Ponies
10/11 Bali Star Adventures, Bali
Enjoy the sights of Bali as you make your way from the stables along the nearby river and down to the shore. The Bali Star horses love to walk and canter along the sandy beach, working up a sweat before plunging into the cool water. Riders will swim with their horses in the shallows of the ocean for thirty minutes before heading back to the stables. Along the way, ride through the local villages and see the traditional Balinese way of life. Other tours available from Bali Star Adventures include cookery classes, cycling trips through the rice paddies and trekking up the famous volcano, Mount Batur.
Where: Bali, Indonesia
Price: £55 per person
Find out more and book at Bali Star Adventures
11/11 ‘Horseshoe Bay Ranch’, Magnetic Island, Queensland
Enjoy a break from Australia’s hot weather with a dip in the ocean on this two-hour trek. Guests leave bright and early from the stables and head through native bushland, looking out for the wild wallabies and koalas in the trees along the way. Once at the beach, hop into your swimming costume and ride bareback into the ocean, giving your horse a well-earned cool-off. Two experienced guides accompany the tour, allowing more advanced riders to canter along the beach while beginners can walk at a comfortable pace. Enclosed shoes and jeans are available to borrow for those who don’t have them, and safety equipment is included as standard.
Where: Magnetic Island, Queensland
Price: £65 per person