Horse trekking, also known as horse touring, is a form of adventure tourism in which travelers tour a scenic area on horseback. A trekking vacation might only last part of a day, or it might last multiple days. Horse trekking offers a more primitive and intimate touring experience while providing an alternative to hiking on foot. It also allows travelers to see scenic areas that are more difficult to access by foot or motorized vehicle. Tourists might use their own horses on a self-guided trekking vacation, or they might choose to rent a horse and pay a professional trekking guide.
Professionally led horse trekking vacations are available all over the world, including South America, Asia and Europe. Some companies offer many different types of tours, including equestrian safaris in Africa, cattle drives, beach rides, wilderness rides in scenic areas and back-country trips, among others. A horse trek might have a minimum recommended experience level for participants.
Multi-day tours on challenging terrain, such as in mountainous areas, might be reserved for those who are very experienced with horseback riding. Beginners should start with a shorter, less-challenging tour — one that lasts a few hours or a day — and build up experience over time. Some tours also have weight limits to minimize the strain on the horse and to ensure that the rider is physically fit for the trek.
The costs for horse trekking tours through professional companies vary widely and can depend on the trek location, group size, trip duration and amenities, such as meals. Tours that last a couple of days might cost in the hundreds of US Dollars, and week-long tours might cost thousands of US Dollars. Multi-day tours typically involve packing a limited amount of gear on the horse, camping overnight in open air or in a tent and cooking meals outdoors. Progressive rides allow trekkers to travel during the day and stay at an inn or lodge overnight instead of camping.
People who wish to participate in a longer or more challenging horse trek should first become familiar with horseback riding and tack styles. Ideally, a horse trekker should have regular access to a horse to build up his or her endurance before the actual horse trekking adventure. Longer horse tours also require a good amount of physical fitness and stamina. Many companies that offer horse trekking also provide riding lessons and training for people who want to work up to a more advanced tour.