If you're anything like me, you know the simple equation that goes something like this:
No school + pretty weather = VACATION.
Summer is the perfect time for a beach getaway. Ever since I met my husband, our vacations have consisted of one beach (read: fishing) vacation after another. While the scenery is beautiful, I'm not really a fishing kind of gal. I prefer to lounge and maybe snorkel while he goes spearfishing and catches whatever dinner I'm going to help cook.
Vacations are supposed to be about relaxing. They're meant to be spending time doing what you want. For most horse lovers, that means squeezing in some time with your love of riding. Whenever I can, I try to figure out a way for this to happen. Rarely does it come to fruition, but now that we have more flexibility in our schedules, I'm finding that this is a goal with growing importance as I try to find some balance in our family's passions. But I'm lucky. He needs a body of water to fish. As for me? Horses are located everywhere, and all you have to do is look around for the opportunity. Here are a few examples to give you ideas on where to start your search.
While on my high school graduation trip to Cancun, Mexico, I went on a beach ride with some friends and a few teachers I rode with. The beautiful scenery coupled with a relaxing ocean was enough to make me love the experience, but when I also got to take my horse into the ocean and let him swim with me, I was in love. If you're near a place that offers this excursion this summer, I highly recommend it.
Cost: About $100
Myrtle Beach, SC
Surfside Beach, TX
Turtle Bay, HI
This one has been on my bucket list for ages. Immerse yourself in the history and allure of the old west. My father and I love to watch old westerns together, and we fell in love with "City Slickers" when it came out. Ever since I heard about these vacations, I've wanted to try one. These experiences aren't just about riding your horse through the terrain or hiking a trail or going fishing. It's about living a completely different life. It's about taking in your surroundings and taking in a deep breath of fresh (read: nostalgic) air.
Cost: Varies, depending on time and activities
This is about as American as you can get. Wild horses are written into our nation's DNA. For every horse lover, this is a great sidebar to any vacation, since these wild horses are typically located in areas you can do other things. Some friends of mine went to Cumberland Island on coastal Georgia when they were in medical school with my husband, and they had nothing but glowing reviews for their excursion.
Cost: Varies, though every budget can be accommodated.
The Virginia Range, Nevada
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
Cumberland Island, GA
Growing up, I always enjoyed going to the Georgia National Fairgrounds to watch the horse shows that took place there. For the price of an admission ticket, my father and I would walk the stables and see the horses before going to watch these beauties show off in the ring. It's one of the places I fell in love with Arabian horses, and the riders are usually willing to let people talk and get to know more about their horse and discipline they're working to master. When we were there (I was about 13 because it was right after I purchased Sofie) it was Arabian horses from our region that were showing. There are always breed associations readily available at these shows, and they're eager to introduce the next generation of riders, owners, and trainers of their beautiful horses. It doesn't have to be an Olympics show or the races at some fancy track. Local Facebook groups are all over the place, and there's usually a Facebook event with all of the information you need. If that doesn't work, see if there is a local horse club in your area.
Cost: Varies, though most shows are free unless you're attending a big event
Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry, GA (anything associated with the Georgia Arabian Horse Association is a sure bet for all ages)
Any of shows where you can see Olympians compete
Keeneland (or any) Racecourse in Lexington, KY
Whatever you choose, there are so many vacation ideas. This is just a basic list of ideas to consider. There are so many others I can think of (Old Friends Farm, Farm Tours in Kentucky, guided trail rides at the Biltmore Estate in NC, etc.). Whatever you choose to do, remember the number one rule of vacations: Relax. And have as much fun as possible before summer ends.