Remember the old days when people used a travel agent for all of their travel needs? They would actually go into an office, look at brochures, and the agent would make all the arrangements. I remember those days very well because, when I was a teenager, my mother worked as a travel agent.
On the days that I would visit her office I would pore over the brochures and dream of the trips I would one day take. I was especially interested in the glossy Club Med publications, not because I had the wish to lounge on a tropical beach with endless food and drink but because many of them offered horseback riding programs as part of their packages.
Yes. I was that girl.
Fast forward several years and I live in the land of the all-inclusive resort. The highway between Cancun and Tulum bustles with the larger than life facades and security gates that hint at the luxury behind them. I’ve never really considered staying at one of these behemoths because I get a little nervous at the thought of being held captive by the money I’ve spent, reluctant to explore outside the walls because the money for my lunch or drinks would come out of my pocket.
However, if one of those had a riding program I might reconsider. As I feel more and more focused on travel centered around riding, I’ve put together my vacation wish list, and all of them are all-inclusive.
Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic has not really been on my radar, but Casa de Compo is. With their own string of polo ponies and instruction in jumping as well as trail rides, I could easily be persuaded to spend a week at this facility.
Of course, the beaches and the exquisite menus at their four restaurants don’t hurt either.
Vittel Golf Ermitage, France
Well hello, Club Med! We meet again!
This resort in the foothills of the French Alps looks like everything I imagined Club Med would be. Beautiful grounds, rooms in what could easily pass for a castle, and horses. They offer expert English riding instruction in their indoor and outdoor rings, and hacks through their forested property.
They also offer a week-long course in natural horsemanship for interested people. That would be me.
Red Horse Mountain Ranch, Idaho, USA
I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a dude ranch in this list, although I’ve always had misgivings about the dude ranch scenario. Cowboy poetry and campfires aren’t really my thing. But then I realized how much the dude ranch has changed in recent years, to become more of an all-around resort style vacation and not looking at guests as paying ranch help.
Red Horse Mountain Ranch in Idaho sounds like the perfect destination for everyone, from beginner to advanced. You’re assigned your own horse for the week, they conduct extensive safety classes and rider assessments, and you can choose from riding lessons, scenic trail rides, and more.
There might also be cowboy poetry, but I can live with that.
As my travel tastes change I find myself warming up to the idea of the all-inclusive resort. Especially now that I’ve made a commitment to ride in every destination I visit, I think that any or all of these resorts might make it to the list. So whether it’s France, the Caribbean, or the mountains of Idaho, you may just find me at an all-inclusive at some point.
But you won’t find me in the bar, or on the beach. As always, you’ll find me in the stables.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Hipmunk. All opinions are my own.