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What is Horse Trekking?

Horse trekking is an exhilarating adventure that allows you to explore rugged landscapes on horseback, connecting with nature and the majestic animals beneath you. It's a journey that can take you through serene valleys, over mountains, and across streams, offering a unique perspective of the world. Ready to saddle up? Discover how horse trekking can transform your next vacation.
M. Gardner
M. Gardner

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.

A horse provides the means of travel in horse trekking.
A horse provides the means of travel in horse trekking.

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.

A cattle drive may be part of a horse trek.
A cattle drive may be part of a horse 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.

Ideally, a horse trekker should have regular access to a horse to build up his or her endurance.
Ideally, a horse trekker should have regular access to a horse to build up his or her endurance.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is horse trekking and how does it differ from regular horseback riding?

Horse trekking usually requires a certain level of experience with horseback riding.
Horse trekking usually requires a certain level of experience with horseback riding.

Horse trekking is an adventurous activity that involves riding a horse across different terrains and landscapes, often for multiple days. Unlike regular horseback riding, which may take place in a controlled environment like a riding school or stable, horse trekking is about exploring natural settings, such as trails in the mountains, forests, or along beaches. It offers riders a unique way to experience the outdoors and can include overnight stays in camps or lodges.

Do I need to have prior experience in horseback riding to go on a horse trek?

While prior experience can be beneficial, it is not always necessary to go on a horse trek. Many trekking companies cater to beginners and provide basic training before setting out. However, it's important to be honest about your skill level so that the guide can match you with a suitable horse and ensure your safety. Always check with the trekking provider about their requirements for experience levels.

What should I wear and bring for a horse trekking adventure?

For a comfortable horse trekking experience, wear long pants to prevent chafing, closed-toe shoes with a small heel, and layers to adjust to changing weather conditions. A helmet is essential for safety. Also, bring sunscreen, insect repellent, a water bottle, and personal medications. If the trek spans multiple days, pack a sleeping bag, toiletries, and a change of clothes. Check with your trekking provider for a specific packing list.

How do I choose a reputable horse trekking company?

To choose a reputable horse trekking company, research their safety record, read reviews from previous customers, and check their certifications and insurance policies. Look for companies that prioritize animal welfare and employ experienced guides. It's also beneficial to select a company that offers treks suitable for your skill level and interests. Contacting the company directly with any questions can also provide insight into their professionalism and customer service.

What are the environmental impacts of horse trekking, and how can they be minimized?

Horse trekking can have environmental impacts, such as trail erosion and disturbance to wildlife. To minimize these effects, responsible trekking companies follow Leave No Trace principles, sticking to established trails, managing waste properly, and ensuring that horses do not overgraze or damage sensitive ecosystems. As a participant, you can help by following the guidelines provided by your guides and respecting the natural environment you're exploring.

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Discussion Comments


These days I am thinking about going to the Hoover Dam visitor center. As chivebasil mentioned that he enjoyed the horse trek through the Grand Canyon, I am also going there soon and would like to enjoy this different experience with my younger brother. Who is a big fan of adventures?


@Saraq90 - Unfortunately, I can not tell you what horses think, so I do not have a clue whether they like trekking or not. I would guess that they are like humans to an extent, where they do get tired, but not as easily tired as most humans do. I think they will give you pretty obvious signs if they are tired or annoyed.

For instance, a horse will probably stop or slow down quite a bit if they feel tired. If a horse is annoyed, he/she may buck you off, or make other moves or noises to signal their annoyance.

I am not positive, but I think the difference between horse trekking and horse riding is just how long it takes and/or how far the horse and the rider goes, as you suspected.


I wonder how horses feel about the whole horse trekking event. I mean, are they excited about it or do they dread each excursion? Just curious what the horses would say if they could speak.

What is the difference between horse trekking and horse riding? Is it just depended upon the amount of time and/or distance traveled?


@myharley - That is cool that your friend got to go to a dude ranch for a whole week. I think a vacation to dude ranch sounds very beautiful and could be relaxing vacation also, especially having someone else cook meals.

I rarely have the money to go on a vacation, especially not for a whole week. But this sounds like something entertaining and beautiful enough that it would be worth saving up for, as you said.

For me, it seems like it would be pretty tough to decide on which location to go for. But I guess each location costs a certain amount, so I could always go for whichever place I have always wanted to go, or for one reasonably priced.

I think going on a safari in Africa while horse trekking would be really neat, as I have always wanted to go on a safari in Africa and also have wanted to go horse trekking. It seems like it would be exciting to do the three things I have been wanting to do at the same time!


Horse trekking seems like it would be a lot of fun. Horse trekking seems like the way to go if you plan to travel several miles in a days time. A horse normally will get you to where you want at a pretty slow and steady place.

If you want to get somewhere fast, you should choose some other method of transportation. If you are trying to enjoy the view and the scenery, it seems like horse trekking would be ideal.

Who doesn’t want to be able to say they felt like a cowboy or cowgirl for at least a few hours?

Well I am sure there are some who would not want to be a cowboy or cowgirl, but I think a good amount of people would want to be a cowboy or cowgirl for at least a little while. I think many of us had dreams of being a cowboy or cowgirl or at least marrying a cowboy or cowgirl.

If you went horse trekking, it seems like you would get to experience some of the pleasure of being like a cowboy or cowgirl, without much of the hard work that comes with the title.


@Mykol - One of my friend just got back from a week at a dude ranch. Her husband gave her this trip for her birthday. She was somewhere in Wyoming, and they were able to ride up in the mountains and help them bring the cattle down.

She said the food and accommodations were wonderful, as well as the horse back riding and the scenery.

After talking to her I got online to check out what something like that would cost for a week. You could certainly spend a lot of money for a vacation like this, and even the cheapest ones were around $2000.

Of course this included all of your meals and lodging. I think the experience of riding a horse in the mountains every day would be worth saving my money for.

Especially when I knew when I got back I would be able to relax and enjoy some wonderful food that I didn't have to cook.

If I were to spend the money on a horse trekking trip like this, I would make sure it was a place I had always wanted to see and visit.


@chivebasil - It has always been a dream of mine to ride horses down in to the Grand Canyon. I was recently there with my family and even checked into the possibility of doing that.

The only thing I found available was riding mules instead of horses. This makes sense to me as mules are usually more sure footed than horses.

We have horses that we trail ride with, but when my husband goes hunting in the mountains, he always takes a mule.

Other than that, there really isn't much difference in riding a horse or a mule. I just think that horses are more pleasing to the eye, and much nicer to listen to!

I have always wanted to take a week and go on a guided horse trekking vacation. Does anyone have any tips for looking in to something like that?


I have loved horses ever since I was a little girl. I took horse riding lessons as a child and as an adult have been able to keep several horses on a piece of land my husband owns.

For many years I have been thinking about doing a horseback riding vacation but I could never find one that appealed to me. I was looking for more than just trail rides, I wanted a real adventure.

Eventually I found a tour that goes through part of Siberia during the summer months. Because of the horses you cover a lot of ground and you get to see some of the most beautiful scenery in Russia. It was a challenge for even an experienced rider like myself but that's what I wanted. I got the adventure I was looking for.


I once went on a long horse trek through the Grand Canyon. I was with my entire family and we each had a horse.

We descended down the canyon on horse, went on a long tour of the canyon floor, climbed back up the side of the canyon in another spot and rode our horses around the perimeter back to the original spot. All told it took 5 days.

It was an incredible trip and my whole family agreed. Being on horse you get the nice slow pace but you are not as exhausted as you would be on foot. And when you stand on the rim of the Grand Canyon on top of a horse you can't help but feel like a cowboy.

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    • A horse provides the means of travel in horse trekking.
      By: Eric Isselée
      A horse provides the means of travel in horse trekking.
    • A cattle drive may be part of a horse trek.
      By: John Sfondilias
      A cattle drive may be part of a horse trek.
    • Ideally, a horse trekker should have regular access to a horse to build up his or her endurance.
      By: Alexia Khruscheva
      Ideally, a horse trekker should have regular access to a horse to build up his or her endurance.
    • Horse trekking usually requires a certain level of experience with horseback riding.
      By: yanlev
      Horse trekking usually requires a certain level of experience with horseback riding.