Horse Riding in the Alps
The Alps and horses go together beautifully. Sure-footed mounts from Slovenia and Austria, Switzerland, Germany, France and Italy take novice and expert riders through glorious scenery. Have an unforgettable adventure high in the saddle, high in the Alps.
Equestrianism has long been an important tradition in Slovenia, home of the dazzling white Lipizzaners who perform intricate movements at the Spanish Riding School in the neighboring Alpine country of Austria. Tour the Lipica Stud Farm, where you can watch a dressage show, or just hang on a fence and watch the horses at leisure, rolling with abandon in the sweet grass. This makes the horses rather less white, but they so love doing it! For those who want to saddle up and ride, Slovenia offers lots of options for equine fun at ranches and riding centers, in forests and meadows, and spectacularly in Triglav National Park.
Attend a performance that all little Lipica horses dream of at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, where horsemanship has been refined and perfected for 400 years with the help of the pearly, graceful Lippizaners. If your trip to Austria won’t be complete without experiencing equine locomotion yourself, then consider a romantic tour around the city in a fiaker, the Viennese “taxi” of choice before the automobile displaced genuine horsepower. Austria’s glorious national parks are superb places for quieter, simpler outings astride a sure-footed steed.
All regions of Germany offer horse riding: In Eastern Bavaria the Upper Palatinate forest, Bavarian Jura and southern Lower Bavaria are areas of unspoilt natural countryside ideal for walking, cycling and horse riding. Riding tours through vines and woodland are available in he Southern Palatinate. Baden Baden also offers horse riding.
A romantic horse-drawn sleigh ride in Switzerland through glittering snow-covered mountain scenery, bells jingling and blankets tucked around you, might make you think you’d awakened in a snow globe, but this fairytale experience can be yours in several Swiss towns. In Davos not only can you try a sleigh ride but horse and mule trekking as well. Have lessons at the riding school or if you’re an experienced rider, head out on mountain. Those who love watching the strength and beauty of horses should attend CSI (Concorso ippico internazionale) Ascona on the Italian border to see exhilarating show jumping and all kinds of equine-oriented activities.
Imagine riding in the scenic wonderland of the Apennines in Italy from Parma (home of the famous cheese and ham) to Piacenza. You can move along the old Roman Via Francigena, seeing the leafy beauty of the many parks and nature reserves in the area from your special vantage point in the saddle. The Gran Paradiso National Park in the Alps, inhabited by ibex, chamois and golden eagles, is a wonderful place go riding. Ride native Sardinian horses at Stintino or at the archipelago of La Maddalena with its windy islands, full of natural inlets and picturesque landing places. Alternative Italian equestrian experiences are the medieval jousting festival in Siena called the Palio and the rugged L'ardia DI San Costantino horse race in Sicily.