Today, there are all manner of different adventure experiences on offer for thrill-seekers – from dramatic bungee jumps in New Zealand, to taking on the longest zip line in the world in the UAE – but one of the most amazing pursuits of them all has got to be swimming with horses, and there are a number of breath-taking places to do it.
Riding horses in water, or simply swimming alongside them while whilst immersed in the waves is the most beautiful marriage of human and horse – especially after a long, hot day in the saddle. The feeling of weightlessness as your horse enters the water is indescribable, and to have a 700 kilogram animal powering through it alongside you before resting in the shallows and allowing you to climb back on board once again is the closest you’ll likely ever feel to an animal.
If you’re eager to experience swimming with horses – or riding them in water – first-hand, then look no further, because we asked the experts at The Equine Collective to put together a list of the very best spots in the world to do just that. Granted, they partly made the grade because they offer some incredible post ride experiences, like a spa safari in Indonesia and cocktails at sundown watching over the giraffes in Africa, but all are unified by the bonding of water and horse, and each promises to offer a truly memorable experience you’re unlikely to ever forget.
The remote island of Sumba – 50 minutes off the coast of Bali on the edge of wildness, and more specifically, the luxury NIHI resort – is perhaps the standout destination of them all. Each morning, a herd of 20 rescued and semi-wild horses is released from Sandalwood Stables to gallop along the 2.5 kilometre beach and swim in the sea. For guests enjoying a morning coffee at the hotel, it’s a truly magical spectacle to witness and it is often surprising to see how much the horses love engaging with the guests afterwards – when visitors to the resort have the chance to play football and swim alongside them. The stable also offers activities including yoga, meditation and safari spa rides through the jungle to the NIHIoka Spa.
Beach rides range from £75 pp for a one-hour ride.
Mozambique Horse Safari, Africa
Next up is the Mozambique Horse Safari, where visitors are invited to come and share in the epic adventures of 104 horses rescued from South Africa. To begin the ride, your guides will lead the horses into the sea, where there is a sense of excitement as they thrash in the water, then lay down to wallow and roll. It’s the most wonderful wake up for the horses, and the guests, too – and once the animals have settled, riders are invited to mount bareback and wade out to the deeper water, following their guide along the coastline past colourful dhows.
Available for riders of all skill levels, prices start from: £50 pp for a day rider Ocean Walk. Accommodation is charged separately.
Cornwall Swimming With Horses, UK
There’s also an option closer to home, in the UK’s coastal region of Cornwall. Renowned for its captivating scenery, dramatic coastline and spectacular beaches, which provide the perfect natural playground for many water sports, it’s the perfect spot to experience swimming with horses this summer.
During the booking process, you will be assessed on your riding abilities in order to ensure you’re all set up for a successful and enjoyable ride, before being taken down to the seaside to breathe in the fresh, salty air whilst taking on the experience of a lifetime. The incredible opportunity to venture into the wild waves on horseback for some swimming is one you won’t want to miss.
At only £150 per person, this hour-hour escape is a must have addition to any Cornish adventure.
Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado, USA
The Vista Verde Ranch in Colorado, USA, is the perfect destination for a relaxing post Covid escape. Located 25 miles from the nearest main road, the ranch offers riding experiences for guests of all skill levels.
These scenic trails will take you through the spectacular Rocky Mountains and the 2.9-million-acre National Routt Forest, with stunning vistas to take in along the way, and during the summer months, you’ll have the chance to submerge yourself, along with your horse, in the river as you cross from one side to the other. It’s a welcome cool off before you amble back to the ranch, where you can take an additional dip in your private plunge pool outside your cabin, with a glass of something chilled in your hand.
All-inclusive prices start at £2,000 for a four-night stay.