Above: Photo by Martinp
It may come as no surprise that when we think of holidays here at The Plaid Horse, we think of horses and let’s be honest, you’re probably the same, right? But whereas many riders dream of riding along tropical beaches watching the sunset, we think of finding the best places to hone our jumping skills. So, if like us you want nothing more than to improve your skills in an idyllic location, then this could be the bucket list for you.
First off, let’s head to the country that many describe as the home of some of the world’s best horse trainers and stables. That’s right; it’s off to the Emerald Isle we go. Ireland is picturesque in the extreme, and you’ll find that the village of Adare, with its thatched roof cottages, is the epitome of tourist expectations. But this scenic village is also home to one of the country’s many renowned equestrian centers. Set on 120 acres of lush green farmland, this is the show jumper’s dream location for a simple holiday of training.
But where Ireland offers tradition and a slow-paced lifestyle, our next location offers the opposite. Monte Carlo has a reputation as an elite gaming destination and with good reason. The place is stunning, and the lavish Casino de Monte-Carlo makes this a destination of mystique and exclusivity. And it’s this reputation that lends everything in the principality of Monaco that luxurious air. It’s also home to one of the world’s most prestigious jumping events, which offers you the perfect opportunity to watch the pros at their best.
Next, we’re off to Asia (because why not) and to Singapore where horse riding, which has long been one of the country’s most exclusive activities, is now accessible to much of the population. There are many equestrian centers to choose from, but without a doubt, the most historic is the Singapore Turf Club. It may be a small country, but they have a massive horse-riding population, which you can see from the incredible facilities that they are passionate about horses. Although Singapore is a wonderful place to visit, on your trip, you can even pop across the border to Malaysia where you can also enjoy treks through the jungle at Riders Lodge.
Back to Europe we go, and this time, it’s France and the wine-making region of Bordeaux. The old city with its gothic architecture is a must-see, but it’s the region’s countryside that we riders appreciate. Here you’ll find Harris Horses run by British pair Jacki and Johnny who have experience training jumpers at the top level. Their farm is nothing short of spectacular, and it’s another one of those relaxing places a little like the earlier mentioned Adare but with the slightly better weather.
And last but by no means least, we come to the world’s most successful show jumping nation, Germany. With the most gold medals in both team and individual events at the Olympics, you could say that German stables might know a thing or two about the art of riding. And what better place to pick up some tips and advice than the world famous Black Forest. Castle Sindlingen Equestrian Center is possibly one of the most amazing places you’ll ever visit. Historic, scenic, in-depth training programs and some incredible horses; you’ll never want to come home.
While we are spoiled for choice here in the U.S., when it comes to high-quality equestrian centers, sometimes it’s nice to have a change of scenery. Whether it’s a picturesque village in Ireland or a prestigious turf club in Asia, the possibilities for a phenomenal show jumping holiday are endless. So where will you go?