As proof, we rounded up details on 50 great escapes that range from across the country and around the world to just down the road a piece. Tip: Many of the vacations presented here will allow you to bring your own horse, so if that interests you, be sure to inquire about it when you find a listing that sounds like it's up your alley.
With eight categories to pick from in this article and multiple locales named within each, you can go on 50 vicarious vacations right now. Appeal: If you've always wanted to cowboy up, here's your chance to try your hand at traditional ranch chores?up to and including cattle drives?on veteran, well-behaved cow ponies.
Tip: Inquire about seasonal opportunities; cattle drives typically take place in the spring and fall. Offered by: McGinnis Meadows Cattle & Guest Ranch in Libby, northwest Montana.
Polish your skills with Buck Brannaman-influenced horsemanship coaching, then practice cattle sorting, cutting, and ranch penning on talented horses. Learn about low-impact rotational grazing as you help ranch hands move and work Red Sale cows and calves.
Participate in cattle drives, team penning, cutting, and guided trail rides, plus enjoy pool parties, music, and dancing deep in the Hocking Hills. Play cowhand in the Texas Hill Country; the Running-R adjoins a 5,500-acre state natural area with over 40 miles of trails.
Resort Luxury With Horses Pamper yourself at a handsome facility offering multiple actives, deluxe accommodations, and fine dining. Luxury and cowboy can go together at ranches like Fajitas Golf Resort & Spa.
Try your hand at cutting and ride the range, or play the 18-hole championship golf course. Appeal: Vacation at a multi-purpose resort, and the non- riding members of your family will have plenty to do, such as fish, swim, play golf, go touring?or spend a relaxing after- noon at the spa.
Tip: Be prepared to open your wallet; resorts, especially the most luxurious ones, can be pricey. Its extracurricular activities include 18-hole championship golf; fossil explorations and bird-watching expeditions; and historical tours of Fajitas, where Comanche Indians and Sancho Villa once roamed.
Ride all week and never see the same trail twice, or try your hand at team penning; other activities include tennis, golf, and trap/ skeet shooting. Trail ride over 10,000 acres in the heart of Santa Barbara wine country, or play golf on a course designed in 1956 by the legendary Billy Bell, Jr. alisal.com; (805) 688-4215.
Help with the working-ranch chores or ride out on the range, then retreat to a deluxe chalet with private hot tub and stocked wine cooler. Tip: If you're a competitor, get your entries in early to these events, leaving adequate time for your family or friends to make their arrangements to join you.
Offered by: The Painted Pony Championship Rodeo, Lake Luzerne, New York. This historic outdoor summer rodeo runs three nights a week, July through Labor Day weekend.
Treat yourself to Texas-style barbecue before the performance, and then dance your boots off at the Longhorn Saloon afterward. Nearby Lake George offers numerous horse -centric vacation spots to round out the rest of your trip.
Equine Affairs Eastern States Exposition, West Springfield. Clinics by the top educators in the business, unbelievable shopping, and more learning opportunities than you can imagine make this event (and its brethren in California and Ohio) a great event for the entire family.
The shopping alone makes this event a must-see, and special lectures, high-stakes futurity classes, and other showcases will fill your itinerary. Northwest Reined Cow Horse Association Summer Showdown, Bend.
Set at a five-star resort, this horse show includes a prematurity and derby, a full slate of NRC HA classes, a cow horse deadline class, a golf tournament (exhibitors/sponsors only), and numerous after-show activities?including a watermark, a spa, and shopping. Combine your own horses with a cabin of full-service RV site, and you'll have a simple but unforgettable vacation.
Appeal: By staying in a cabin or bringing your own living-quarters rig and hooking up, you can get a change of scenery and fresh trails to ride without going fully primitive. Offered by: Lake view Plantation Equestrian Escapes, Fairfax, South Carolina.
Rent a lodge room or full-service RV site, then ride to your heart's content on 3,000 private acres. Options range from campsites with electricity to deluxe log cabins with air-conditioning and heat.
Hayes Canyon Campground, Shawnee National Forest, Danville. Pay just $28/night for a full-hookup RV site and pens for up to four horses, and ride a 180,000-acre national forest known for its rock formations.
Turkey Creek Cove Cabins & Horse Camp, Clyde. Savor the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains with a cozy, fully equipped log cabin as your base.
Stay at a modern RV campsite or in a luxury cabin with its own barn, then cruise trails in the Wichita National Forest or ride in the ranch's arena. Ride the famed Black Hills from a new horse camp that features full RV hookups, covered horse pens, chuck wagon meals, and nightly ice cream socials.
Rogers, with a covered stall or tie line for your horse ; indulge in a staff-cooked breakfast or steak dinner. Kid-Friendly Family vacations, from those close to home to road-trip travel destinations, are the things childhood memories are made of.
Appeal: Whether it's Grandma and Grandpa taking the kids for a long weekend trip or a lengthy family road trip or a large family reunion, kid-friendly vacations involving horses can be fun for the entire group. 60 miles of multipurpose trails and the 600,000-acre Nicole National Forest offer plenty of area to explore horseback (or otherwise).
Fifteen paddock areas and 19 box stalls ensure that your horse is comfy, too. Plan your trip around one of the specialty weekends that include cooking lessons and meals prepared by a local chef.
Explore Mark Twain National Forest in the eastern Ozarks, enjoy a meal at the Trail's End Restaurant, and then rest in a furnished cabin or your own camper. Explore Cattaraugus County across miles of trails, and enjoy family-style activities like wagon rides, chuck wagon supper shows, and more.
Ben's Happy Trails Riding Stable and Campground, Away. Schedule your visit over a weekend featuring a pig roast or an event sponsored by the American Competitive Trail Horse Association.
Bring your own horse or use one of theirs to enjoy 150 miles of trails in the Kimchi Mountains. International Adventure Grab your passport and seize the chance to ride in a country and culture other than your own.
Appeal: Whether over a border or over an ocean, a trip to ride on foreign soil (and sample another horse culture) generates memories to last a lifetime. Tip: Bring an open mind, because the way horse things are done in another country might very well be quite different from what you're used to.
Join an Olympic equestrian and his fun-loving Aussie guides to explore the sights, sounds, and wildlife to be found in the land Down Under. Book a seven-day trip into pristine wilderness, and challenge yourself by riding and camping in the Andes.
Saddle Peak Trail Rides, Alberta, between Calgary and Ban ff. See the splendor of the Canadian Rockies with horseback riding by the hour, day, or week.
Southwestern Ireland's Ring of Kerry is famous for its mountains, lakes, and golden beaches; reach them by horseback and stay at bed-and-breakfasts or small hotels. Equator's Relaxed Cavalcade Ride, Value DE Bravo, 21?2 hours from Mexico City.
Go on guided scenic rides in the mornings (afternoons, too, if you like), then kick back to shop local markets, go on a boat ride, get a message, take a salsa dance lesson, or feast on authentic Mexican cuisine. Appeal: A pack trip with guide and wranglers mixes roughing it with essential comforts, creates camaraderie, and remains one of the few means to experience wilderness and other remote (often restricted) areas in a firsthand way.
Tip: Book early, as this is a small-group sort of vacation and openings fill up fast. Like most places with wilderness access, this ranch is far off the beaten track, sitting in a valley south of Yellowstone National Park.
The ranch's Fox family has been taking guests into untamed parts of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem for nearly 40 years. Ride and camp in the eastern high Sierra, and see such wonders as Yosemite and the Angel Adams Wilderness.
Triple “O” Outfitters, Inc., operations based about 65 miles west of Missoula, Montana. Traverse part of the ancient New Peace trail also used by explorers Lewis and Clark, or create a custom trip elsewhere in the Bitterroot National Forest.
Hoodoo Rivers & Trails, Capitol Reef National Park, Terra. Historical Rides Experience history on horseback in some of the most picturesque scenery in the U.S.
Appeal: Pair a look into a turning point in U.S. history with scenic landscapes and hours in the saddle, and you're sure to get an unforgettable trip. Whether you ride a provided horse or bring your own, you get important historical perspective with a knowledgeable local guide.
Tip: Get familiar with an area's seasonal weather patterns so you aren't caught unprepared with inappropriate clothing. With the closest campground to the battlefield, stalls and turnout for horses, and a trusty team of their own mounts, Artillery Ridge's guides will show you Gettysburg's battlefields from the vantage point of the cavalry who fought there.
This five-day historic ride shadows Wyatt Earp and his posse's trail of retribution against the cowboy faction, concluding with the annual “El Dorado Days” event. Ride 12 miles of trail accessible only by livestock, where camping includes such luxuries as hot showers and tasty backcountry cooking.
Pony Express National Historic Trail Re-Ride, St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California. Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch, Gila National Forest.