If you are one of the people who loves winter and embraces the snow then did you know there are plenty of places where you can ride through breathtaking winter wonderlands, and take in spectacular snowy views from the back of a horse? Read our pick of some of the best ‘snow chasing’ trips you can take on horseback…
The land of ice and fire
It may seem an obvious choice, but Iceland lives up to its name in the winter months and provides a snowy haven for winter wanderers! Situated just south of the Arctic Circle, Iceland is an enormous, unspoilt, natural landscape dominated by volcanoes, geysers, young mountains and glaciers and exploring it by horseback is truly memorable.
Experience views from snow capped mountains and volcanoes, to lunar landscapes and waterfalls, whilst riding the wonderful native Icelandic horses. Iceland is one of the most amazing places to ride horses, and the most fun. Tolting across the wilderness on an Icelandic horse is a unique experience, and one that every rider should experience at least once in their lifetime! Their willing attitude and strength provides riders with tremendous fun and the tolt is a fast gait that is comfortable and enables the horse to cover great distances.
A Swedish adventure
If you want guaranteed snow and crisp white views, Sweden is a fabulous place to visit during the winter months. Often referred to as Europe’s last remaining wilderness, Swedish Lapland in northern Sweden is a vast landscape of towering alpine peaks and endless vistas of pine forest, Polar plains, meadows and glaciers. And what better way to explore this magical kingdom than from the back of a sturdy Icelandic horse?
On a trip to Sweden you can expect to see native wildlife including reindeer and moose, and if you are lucky, the famous Northern Lights. There are plenty of activities for riders, and non-riding guests, mixed up with cultural visits to learn more about the Saami nomadic culture. Combine riding through forests and open grassland with ice fishing, reindeer herding and sledding – to name but a few of the alternative activities available.
Sweden offers a snow-filled adventure for people that love the great outdoors and when you are not flying around the country on sleds or snowmobiles, you can experience the wonderful peace and tranquility of being in the wilderness covered in a blanket of snow!
Escape to a winter wonderland
If you want to step back in time, then a trip to Romania will indulge the nostalgic amongst you! For many people in rural areas of this beautiful country, the main mode of transport is still horse and cart, and with no gates to open, or bridle paths and tarmac roads to restrict you, exploring the seemingly endless meadows, forest tracks and mountain rides will treat your senses!
Exploring the wild Carpathian Mountains is not for the faint hearted so you should be a confident rider – the terrain can be steep, and there are areas for some fast paced canters. It is also the only place in Europe, west of Russia, where widespread populations of wolves, bears and lynx roam.
When you embark on the Winter Ride based from Equus Silvania, during January and February, there is a very strong chance that you will experience horseback riding through the snow. Ride up the forests and see wonderful views across to snow-capped peaks in the distance, enjoy delicious warming lunches in the guesthouse and relax in front of a roaring fire in the evenings to unwind.
See the snow in Big Sky Country
If you have ever seen a Western film and felt a pang for the wide-open spaces, this is the destination for you! Surrounded by wild mountain ranges, open grassy plains and riverine forest, seeing Montana by horseback in winter is breathtaking!
Exploring Montana from the back of a horse means you can seek out the areas off-limits to vehicles giving an unbridled feeling of freedom and connection to the great outdoors. From crystal clear alpine lakes, to picture perfect meadows and foothills, everywhere you look in Montana is a feast for your eyes and spending time in this thought provoking country will take you far away from the wintery woes at home!
Montana offers many variations of horseback riding, from trail riding and cattle work, to natural horsemanship. Warning though, spending time in the evocative vast landscape that the legendary Monty Roberts grew up can lead to day dreaming about becoming a millionaire film star and owning a small chunk of this captivating countryside.
See snow-capped mountains in South America
Some parts of the world never escape from snow. A trip to Torres del Paine in the extreme south of Chile during the early months of the year may be technically during their summer, however the cool, refreshing mountain air is the perfect way to enliven the senses as you ascend up snow capped mountain trails.
With several riding options in this area, Torres del Paine will certainly appeal to the adventurous as you trek through the National Park, experiencing towering snow capped peaks, glacial rivers, azure lakes and huge glaciers!
Perfect for travellers wanting to mix up their experience with some fast paced riding and more steady trails to peruse the local surroundings, the riding in Chile is diverse. The rugged, wild beauty of the National Park is so unique that much of it is protected and riding through it is a privilege that has to be experienced to be truly appreciated. For a once in a lifetime winter experience, Chile offers something spectacular.
For more information on winter riding holidays visit: www.inthesaddle.com