Activities Abroad banner

family activity & adventure holiday guide

Family Riding & Ranch Stay Holiday Guide


About Riding Holidays - Holiday Companies
Family Riding & Ranch Stay Holidays

Riding holidays are becoming more popular with families. There are riding holidays available to cater for all standards of rider and indeed, those family members who do not wish to ride at all. With experiences such as rounding up cattle, spotting game by horseback or riding a mountain trail to enjoy, a riding holiday is sure to be very memorable.

Types of Riding Holiday

There are 2 main types of riding holiday – centre based or trail rides/progressive rides where you move on each day.

> Centre based riding holidays include game lodges in South Africa, ranches in USA and Canada, estancias in Argentina and farmhouses in Europe. This is often the perfect solution for a family of mixed riding abilities as riding hours can be tailored to suit and non-riders can take part in other activities.
  Ranch stay holidays are categorised in to 3 main types to help you choose the best option:
  1. Working Ranches: For the real cowboy experience and for experienced riders only. Help out with the daily cattle work including branding, cattle driving and cow camps. Accommodation is usually fairly basic in bunkhouses, log cabins or tents.
  2. Guest Ranches: Ranches which specialise in hosting guests - accommodation is usually in separate log cabins with private bathrooms. 
  3. Resort Ranches: Hotel standard accommodation with additional resort facilities and programmes. Many resort ranches have swimming pools and offer additional activities such as hiking and white water rafting. Some even run a children’s activity programme.
> Progressive rides take you from village to village with you staying at different accommodation each night. There is usually a fixed distance to ride each day so you need to be sure that both you and your children can cope with the riding hours.
Age Ranges

Children under the age of 8 years (even proficient riders) will probably find a progressive ride exhausting as the hours in the saddle are quite long. For this age group, it is best to stick to centre based riding holidays such as an American ‘resort ranch’ with lots of other activities going on. Many American resort ranches offer a children’s activity programme as well as lessons for children and adults alike.


Older children of 8 years or more who are proficient riders would probably manage a progressive ride or a centre based holiday with short trail rides out each day. Working ranch holidays are only suitable for families with children over 16 years.

Riding Ability

It hopefully goes without saying that you should only choose a riding holiday that is suited to the riding ability of all members of the family. Therefore, don’t go booking a working ranch or a progressive riding holiday if you have young children. By far the best thing to do is to phone the holiday company concerned and talk through your requirements with them.

Riding Equipment

You may wish to take along your own riding hat as these are usually not provided. Also take clothes and boots that you are comfortable riding in.

More Sections in this Guide
>> Riding & Ranch Stay Holiday Companies
Subscribe | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Contact Us | ©2004-2009 Kids In Tow