Archive for March, 2010

Our cyber horse world

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Equestrian Escapes has duely noted the absolute need for businesses today to play the 21st century game. Cyber space.  The optimal goal is not what you may think… money, money, money. But to deliver a great service or product, and using the web in its different ways is most vital in finding your perfect customers. Because they are out there, and they are looking for a product that will make them happy. So is the nature of our capitalist, consumer ruled soceity.

So how is Equestrian Escapes using the web today? And how can you be involved?

1. www.Equestrian-Escapes.com

This is the headquarters of Equestrian Escapes on the web, if you will. It was the first website we launched and has managed, over time to help us build a loyal following of happy customers who can easily browse our itineraries at their lesiure whenever they want. EquestrianEscapes.com has been up and running for three years now. Click on the link above to read about our extensive list of horse riding holidays.

This photo appears on the E.E. website

Equestrian Escapes to Bournemouth

2. www.EquestrianVacations.co.uk

This is the blog you are currently reading. We have written over fifty full length articles describing our itineraries and a wide vareity of other things. Our blogs are written mostly by our staff but we have included articles that have been volunteered by customers and friends of Equestrian Escapes. For example we have had a number of talented writers take us through each step of their holiday and kindly let us post it as an article, with links, onto our blog. EquestrianVacations.co.uk has proved to be an invaluable source when it comes to letting people know what we’re up to both on the scene, and behind it.

3. Horse Riding Holidays Equestrian Escapes on Facebook

This Fan-page on Facebook is a little base that we have recently been using to let our friends, family, colleagues and fans gather in one convenient address to hear about recent news and events. We have been using facebook to alert people to our newest of holidays and we upload our favourite photos of horses that we have taken in the UK and abroad. At the time of writing this article, our facebook page has 157 fans.

4. Equestrian Hols on Twitter Twitter Bird

This is our most recent cyber venture. Twitter, brought into the limelight by the likes of Stephen Fry, is an extremely popular internet communication site and a massive forum on which people can write short notes to the Twitter world and their own accumulated “followers”. Followers are people who have selected your account, for example Equestrianhols and decided that they want to be alerted whenever you post something new. We only began Tweeting here at Equestrian Escapes a few days ago but already have double figures of followers! Click on the link above to visit our Twitter page and start following now.

Beach walking

A great day to enjoy the sandy coast

5. Folkd.com

Folkd is an article sharing site on which a long standing friend of Equestrian Escapes has been taking his own time to write occasionally. Eduardo a friend of Sarah Caplan has been contributing to Folkd under the amusing alias of EduardoHorseExpert. Click above to browse his short descriptions and links.

6. Hot Frog

This is a directory of UK based businesses. Each registered business has a page on which it can sumbit articles about their product allowing the reader to have an incredibly close look at what it is they are interested in. Most sites do not offer this attention to detail and this is why Equestrian Escapes has laboured to put a few very select holidays onto our page within its listings.

7. Ezine Articles

Ezine is another article shraing website. Our correspondant on this one is none other than Richard Mark who has occasionally dipped in a dropped a line on a recent holiday or travel experience. He regularly travels with Equestrian Escapes. Click above to go directly to Ezine and read his articles.

Check out Equestrian Escapes’ Horse World on our main site. It has all sorts of horsey information and some great photos.

Frequently asked questions:

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

If you have a question you would like us to answer but rather than phone us (on 01829 781 123) you think that others would also find the answer to your question useful, then please just leave a comment at the bottom of this post and we will give you a detailed answer as soon as we next log in.

Here are some questions that we frequently answer to customers enquiring about our horse riding holidays;

Q:“How experienced do I need to be to go on this ride?”
A: For the vast majority of our holidays, not at all. We deal with all levels of rider on a daily basis. All the way from riders who have never rode a horse, to members of Trooping the Colour and army riding instructors (aka the rather experienced!). All of our holidays will be tailored to suit your requirements and where ever possible we will alter the itineraries to fit your desires. For example, if you chose The Magic of Andalucia which contains a fair amount of riding (including some much longer hacks out) and then you rang one of our experts and told them you are a complete novice or had spent little time on a horse beforehand, or even that you used to ride but haven’t in years! Our experts will have a good chat with you, obtain an understanding of your abilities and then help work out the right riding plan for you, with the ideal amount of time on horseback.

Q:“What do you think I should bring with me?”
A: Bring with you the things you usually like to ride with. Wether this is general kit or just a comfortable outfit. There will be riding hats available from the various equestrian centres that will be managing your riding. Also take into consideration how necessary the item is when thinking about lugging it through a possibly hot and busy airport. Do bring some smart/causual wear for a nice meal out in the local village but for the rest of the holiday comfort is key.

A beautiful day in Almeria

The pool available for your lesiure

Q:“What time of year is best to travel?”
A: From an economical point of view you should aim to make your travel plans as early as possible. This is particularly necessary in terms of flights. The sooner your flights are booked, preferably months in advance, the less it will cost you. As for the seasons you should travel in, the same applies again (book in advance!). Between March and July chiefly, even into late August you will have a massive chance of good weather and in some of our destinations this is near guarenteed! Obviously Equestrian Escapes can take absolutely no responsibility for the outcome of the weather, we are a tour operator, not God. For instance Portugal and Spain will be very hot during this period. But as we all know, better weather means more demand, and more demand means a higher price. So there will be higher prices for our holidays (and everyone elses) during the peak months and key holidays.

Q:“Have you any riding experience?”
A: Our staff are all horse involved and have been for much of their lives. Sarah Caplan our managing director has been riding ever since her early childhood and can often be heard recounting her words upon her first sighting of a horse, “That’s for me, that’s what I want to do!” And it was. Sarah maintained her passion throughout her teenage years and even during uni (where many horse lovers can’t find time) in Manchester where she studied Zoology. Now the proud owner of six cherished horses, three of which are foals of varying maturity, Sarah has made the entrepreneurial leap on top of her stable duties (and giving her friends enough attention) to running her own quality riding holiday business. And with that the deal was sealed and it is now what Sarah “does”!

Trail and Train in Spain

Riding in the water, Spain

Q:“ How do you test your holidays?”
A: Our BHS qualified director Sarah Caplan has personally been on each of the holidays that we offer. Now, that sounds like a luxurious job at first glance but the reality of going to over sixty destinations whilst running a fledgling company and playing mother to two growing teenagers is something different all together. But the starter years are over and Equestrian Escapes is no longer a fledgling business. Sarah also sees the horses when she is considering adding a new location to our ever growing list of itineraries and rides the available routes to establish whether it is worth paying your hard earned cash for.

The story so far…

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Two thousand and ten brings nothing but positive thoughts for the hard workers here at Equestrian Escapes. Behind the scenes we have been chipping away at a long list of tasks all working towards bringing new holidays to the table. Whilst at the same time, balancing our efforts to keep the customer service high and managing the business as it rapidly expands. The last of these points being the most crucial.

Riding Holidays throughout Europe

 

Equestrian Escapes started providing quality, tailor made horse riding holidays only three and a half short years ago and is now the proud partner of a significant portion of the wide market share of horse riding holidays in Europe. This proves Equestrian Escapes is here to stay as a healthy competitor doing its vital part to help drive down holiday prices and keep the bigger horse holiday businesses on their tippy toes.

With the UK finally completing that long climb out of the recession we are all so eager to forget about, it definitely is time to enjoy our compliments and rewards made possible by you, the customer. Not in the sense of a massive profit margin (because our holidays are designed to compete with the best) but rather, our horsey experts are in this business because of one thing – they love riding. If our Managing Director Sarah Caplan had not followed her unfaltering passion for riding and continued to sustain her excellent skills and knowledge up to this point then there really is no doubt that Equestrian Escapes would not be standing this tall.

Our success in this business comes down to one of our main key points of practise. That is taking the sweet time and effort to scout these holidays and scrutinise their every detail for you. Now that sounds like a luxurious job doesn’t it? Not as much as you would think. These horse riding holidays all have various options and can be tweaked and tailored to suit your party at any point. So if there are many variables then that means one thing… we have been there and tested them. So when Sarah goes for instance to Barcelona or Madrid, she visits the hotels, goes on all of the rides and meets the people who will be dealing directly with you. Whilst all the time assessing the quality of what she is seeing and how it is going to help you make the best of your holiday.

But despite the hard work it pays off. Every day we get more testimonials from happy customers just wanting to drop a line, or little note to say thank you or a full account of their holiday and how truly great it was. Usually ending with how they don’t want to wait until next year to travel with us again.

It certainly is a positive time at the moment, everything is coming together and the hard work is paying off. So not for the last time, thank you.

Launching a brand new riding holiday to Madrid

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

The staff of Equestrian Escapes have been slaving away behind the scenes with three new riding holidays being scouted by our managing director in just under three weeks. This is not to say that the holidays or managing of the business will have suffered, but with a great employee out of action indefinitly and new staff being trained up to help, Equestrian Escapes is jumping fences like never before. The latest strain has proved we can work at one hundred and one percent when one hundred just won’t cut it.

Madrid is a splendid city which plays the integral role of the capitol of Spain and capitol of Spanish polotics due to it being the home to both the Spanish monarch and seats of government. It is Spains largest city and has been built on the river Manzanares which has been canalised before entering the city providing aesthetically pleasing sights and scenes. The Puerta del Sol is one of Madrids many defining features, it plays home to the most popular newyears celebrations in the country and has been broadcast live since 1962. Puerta del Sol means Gate of the Sun, due to the east facing city gate which used to stand there. Now however amoungst the mouth watering architecture blending hudreds of years of culture, is the kilometre zero. The center of the Spanish road network from where distances are measured. Other landmarks worth visiting when you go to Madrid include the Teatro Real or Royal theatre, the National Library and the Royal Palace of Madrid.

The architecture of The Post Office is well respected

Expect itineraries featuring Madrid in all of its glory within the coming weeks straight from Equestrian Escapes.Alternatively if you would like to experience the Spanish coastline, why not holiday to Barcelona or perhaps the stunning region of Andalucia which plays host to the Costa de la Luz, or Coast of Light named aptly after its golden beaches.

The Magic of Andalucia

Friday, March 19th, 2010

This picturesque region in the south of Spain has been a chosen holiday destination for the inspired traveler for decades. The sun soaked scenery relaxes the mind and allows true recuperation from many a busy and hectic life. I recently travelled to Faro airport from Manchester on an inexpensive Easy Jet flight. Before I knew it I had been transported from my dingey flat in Manchester to a beautiful hotel in Donana National Park. With that much wildlife and nature leaning on my doorstep I could feel the pressures of the big city sliding gently off my shoulders. It was time for a real break.

I used to ride a lot as a child but as the years past, I grew up and eventually moved away from the countryside in Berkshire where I was raised. I followed my carrer, guided carefully by my A-Levels and Univesrity and ended up for the time being in Manchester. And as many of you will know, that left little time for horse riding. I hadn’t had a holiday as long as I cared to remember so I did a quick, self explainitory search on the internet; Horse Riding Holidays. And there it was, plain as day. Equestrian Escapes, my saviour. They offer reasonably priced, well researched, quality holidays which are what they say on the packet. I was so impressed and thought as I am a writer, the least I could do is write them a short article about how much I enjoyed my holiday for their blog. So here it is.

My Break Starts Well

After a great nights sleep, I retired early on the previous night and achieved a fantastic fourteen hours sleep! That’s over twice what I’ve been getting over recent months. I ate a slpendid breakfast and set off to the stables. They all spoke English and helped me find the perfect horse. My Andalucian steed was a beautiful chesnut brown. He was a well mannered and patient horse, very pleasent to ride and not too wild but abundant with character. I found my feet again for the first time in years and felt years younger. That afternoon we hacked through Donana National Park for an hour and a half (my bum wasn’t up to much more) in the glorious sun.

Day three of my trip kept up the pace with a hack in the morning and, as I travelled in the summer I did miss the migrating birds of autumn and winter but my guide did point out a Spanish Imperial Eagle and then we went for a ride on the beach in the afternoon. What a wonderful day! Horse riding on a golden Spanish coast. How could I go home?

The next day I took a trip into Seville and visited the much documented and acclaimed banks of the Guadalquivir River. Called by some as one of the historical corner stones of Europe, I took a private horse drawn carriage tour. And was not dissapointed by the stunning bridges spanning it’s still water and the looming architecture combining centuries of culture, style and heritage.

Michaels chestnut steed

The hotel in Seville

Halfway through

On my fith day in Spain I spent the morning and afternoon, split by a healthy lunch, having dressage lessons. I have never attempted dressage before, not even when I was younger but I really felt like I made some headway. I felt much more in control of the horse, and after attempting something outside of your immediate comfort zone (with no pressure from anyone besides myself) I felt that standard walk, trot and canter were far easier and the control I learnt followed through to my general horse riding ability.

Today I went on a memorable journey, one and a hlaf hours drive (but completely worth it), to Jerez de la Frontera. A place I will not be forgetting quickly. Especially after my dressage attempts the day before, this visit could not have come at a better time. I was going to pay a visit to The Royal Riding School. Internationally renowned for their skills on horseback, supreme training and quality bred horses they performed “How The Andalusian Horses Dance”. How I urge you to see that show in all of it’s elegance.

The painful reminder of day seven was that my holiday had flown by and already I was staring into the eyes of a nearing departure. This however didn’t come close to stopping me from enjoying a final days cultural exploration around Jerez. A truely beautiful place. And as if the holiday had not already come to a fantastic climax I sat down for a delicious local meal followed by flamenco dancing! Along with a long list of fine wines to taste and entertainment in the form of taditional dance I felt that this holiday had given me the umph I needed to keep me going when I was back in England. It would be a warm, happy time to resurface from my memories when faced by a daunting amount of articles to write with a rapidly looming deadline.

And just like that it was time to check out, and before I knew it I had landed in England. After a taxi, a wait at the airport and collecting my luggage I snapped out of my luxury trance and performed the last short leg of the journey to get me back home. Just in time to catch up before Monday. C’est la vie.

by Michael Bournon

The Holiday that Michael went on was aptly called The Magic of Andalucia just click to be taken directly to it’s itinerary.

A long weekend beach ride in Wales

Monday, March 15th, 2010
Ride the beaches of Wales
Welsh Beach Riding
 Thursday. Arrive onto the Welsh coastline and settle into you lovely 4 star cottage for your long weekend riding holiday. This Bed and Breakfast has been carefully restored and redecorated to once again relive its former glory. Inside are medieval vaulted cielings and original details preserved from the past. It has its own walled gardens holding a view to the ancient church of Saint Madoc. The bedrooms have great views, good beds, digital radios, a vareity of books and ensuite bathrooms. Once you have settled in you may have time for a ride, if not then riding will commence tommorrow.  Tonight you can choose to eat out from one of the local pubs.
Welsh Horse Riding

A canter in the shallow water

 Friday. After a hearty breakfast it will be stable time! Head to the stables and they will quickly assess your ability and allocate you an appropriate steed. They have a large selection of good horses ranging in suitability for all levels. Ponies or horses. These fine animals can cater from those who have ridden for decades to children who are trying riding for the first time. This morning you will enjoy a hack out after having a horse allocated to you. This is a great chance to improve your riding. After lunch, you have the oppourtunity to go riding in the woodlands. This ride will take you through some of the private thirtyfive acres of private valley owned by the stables. In the woodland you may spot any number of foxes, badgers, pheasants, rabbits and other freely roaming wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled! The woodland is peaceful and you will walk and trot down paths following the natural flow of the valley. There are many different routes to take. From advanced small cross-country jump routes, all the way to relaxed walking routes. It is very much so your choice. You will be accommpanied by an experienced, friendly guide available to give you tips on your riding and show you the area.

Canter along the glorious Welsh coastline
Riding in Wales

 Saturday holds longer rides in this particular area of the British countryside, to Druidstone Haven. You’ll be hacking through more woodland valleys and also along stunning coastal tracks and lush pasture land. The coastal tracks and pastureland overlook the inlets of Nolton and Druidston. They give an excelent bird’s eye view over St.Bride’s Bay. You will be able to ride on the beaches of Newgale and Broad Haven out of high season, so it’s important that if you would like to ride the beaches you give us a ring on 01829 781123 and consult our staff on suitable dates and oppourtunities. These awe inspiring beaches offer up to 2 miles of sand when the tide is at is lowest. This afternoon you will be riding on the beach to Druidstone Haven this peaceful, stunning and dramatic beach is situated just over a mile from the stables. Druidstone is nationally renowned for the ‘Telly Tubby House’ and the area’s natural geography.

Sunday. After breakfast, head to the fully certified stables, a Visit Wales Certified Activity Center and member of  the Wales Trekking and Riding Association. This morning is another chance to head to the beach and split up into smaller groups based on ability for maximum enjoyment of the breathtaking views and scenery at your own pace may that be walk, trot or canter. After your ride you will have the opportunity to say goodbye to your new found friends and horses before you depart.

This three night holiday includes accommodation as stated on B&B basis with five riding opportunities for £395 see Horse Riding Holidays Wales

Or for a complete change of scene for British folk weary of English weather, check out Horse Riding Adventure Holidays Spain

An equestrian escape to Barcelona

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010
Relaxing on the grass in Barcelona

Bacelona is the capitol of Catalonia, Spain

On day one of this four night riding holiday package, you will arrive into Spain via Girona Airport, for your Barcelona Riding Holiday. Having already made your choice of accommodation between a beautiful rural country home, or a stunning four star Bed & Breakfast Spa Hotel, you will arrive at your new headquarters for the ensuing days of riding. If time permits, you could start your riding today! If however it is too late, fear not… riding will start in the morning.

On day two you will see the equestrian centre for the first time. We reccommend that you take an assessment lesson to assure the right horse is chosen for you. After your assessment you can choose from a range of riding activities from riding lessons, jumping lessons, all the way to your own hand picked itinerary of pathways and tracks through the counrtyside of Barcelona. You can enjoy a full days ride and picnic or a hack in the morning and lesson in the afternoon. It is your riding holiday, and should fit your wishes accordingly.

Today, day three, is a great chance to mix it up a little and do something you didn’t cover on day one. For example, take advantage of the breath taking scenery composed of Barcelona’s own countryside and go for a picnic in a scenic spot. Your transport to and from the equestrian centre each day depends on wether you decided to rent a car for your holiday or not. If not, then lifts can be arranged for you but this must be made clear earlier on in the planning stages of the holiday to save your inconveniance. Also, please mention if you would like a transfer from the airport to your accommodation and back again at the end of the holiday.

Day four. More riding catered to your desires, give us a ring and we can plan the perfect holiday for you! If you don’t fancy some more fabulous riding in the local area then pay a visit to the town of Besalu. It is the proud owner of a 12th century Roman bridge, a local landmark. And the restaurants in this region are a gastronomic delight of Spanish, and local dishes.

Day five is the day of departure. And by this time you will have grown very fond of Barcelona. If there is time before your flight this morning, you can go out for one last ride.

Our riding holidays are for you and aim to be the best riding holidays that you could hope to enjoy. If this sounds good to you but you would like more nights in Barcelona, or to fly over to Andalucia, Spain’s most Southern Region, and spend a few days there. Or just add something you wanted to do. It is your holiday and we are here to help! Contact us on our website Equestrian Escapes Riding Holidays.

Riding Holidays in Cornwall

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010
Canter down the beautiful beaches of Cornwall

Canter down the beautiful beaches of Cornwall

Never underestimate the qualities presented in abundance by the Cornish coast. One of my personal favourites, that is of places to enjoy a fine riding holiday. This is truely one of the great English sites designed by god for horse riding. I find the drumming of the hoofs on the soft wet sand as I ride down the beach a really unique experience. I have been riding for many years and I have gone riding all over the globe. I have a long list of horse experiences, many equestrian adventures, and still hold that initial passion discovered when young, that has kept me close to my horses and even closer to the art of horse riding. Horse riding holidays today are something I could never have imagined when I was a child. You can travel all over the world, and ride horses where ever you wish! Equestrian vacations have varied in size and shape and in pretty much every aspect. All this whilst the prices for these horse riding holidays and horse themed breaks has decreased.

Over the years the availability, competition and sheer size of the business’ involved has doubled and tripled again. There is a huge market, and why? Because horse fanatics have stood by their equestrian friends over the years and let them be a substantial part of both our economy, and our leisure and retail industries. Horses have appeared galloping in movies since the early films produced by the Lumiere brothers way back in the early twentieth century. America was built on horseback and countries all over the world have enjoyed and relied on these equestrian beauties gracing our planet throughout our long and accomplished history. Horse riding today is very much so, if not more appreciated than ever before. And with animal cruelty laws and equestrian protection agencies being manned and set up all over, we have proven our ability to treat them fairly and provide them with rules and laws designed specificly to protect them. And in some less desirable parts of the past humans have payed a just and heavy price for misconduct in their care of horses.

Anyway, enough tangents involving the fruitful history of the horse. I speak to you today about a certain riding holiday in Cornwall. Riding holidays in Cornwall never fail to impress, especially this holiday. If you book a trip down to the coast and spend time on horseback riding down the beaches you will aquire some fond memories, see some fantastic sights, beautiful scenery and of course… ride a horse!

Cornwall Riding Holiday

Day one, arrive and settle into your fantastic accomodation. You may have decided to stay in luxury or in a traditional English cottage, depending on the options for the holiday you have chosen. Equestrian Escapes often gets complimented by its customers on our choice of accomodation on their behalf. This will play base for your holiday in Cornwall, and from here you can venture out and inspect the beautiful scenery of Cornwall. During the holiday you should check out the thatched pub down the road, it serves a range of traditional ales which should definately be tried whilst on holiday in a different part of the country from your own.

Day two, visit the historic Mullion Cove harbour after your assesment and first lesson or hack. This is a great chance to learn a bit about Cornwall. Don’t miss the oppourtunity, you won’t not on holiday in Cornwall often, unless you are a regular admirer.

On day three you will be presented with a choice, flat work, show jumping, or cross country. I know which way I would be heading! I have always been more of a fan of cross-country. I find it is usually the best way to see the area. But this is your horse holiday! So you choose what you will enjoy and go ride a Cornish horse where you desire to go! Horses in this area tend to be well mannered, they are chosen for their characteristics and friendliness.

A Cornish horse

A Cornish horse

Days four to seven hold various activities, rides out, and locations. You depart on the eighth day This is the itinerary for the week long, Horse Riding Holidays Cornwall. You can specify everything in an Equestrian Escapes’ Riding Holiday. Check out another article on equestrian vacations.

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