What is this ?
A leisure horse is a horse that is used for equestrian leisure, principally hacking and trekking by individual riders.
These leisure activities can be done ridden, driven, or with pack horses.
Leisure Horse-Riding or Driving
By definition, leisure horse-riding or driving has no competitive element in it. It is more of a leisure activity than a sports activity. It is open to many people and is an opportunity to recharge batteries in the company of an animal, most of the time in a natural setting.
Leisure equestrian activities can also take place inside a riding club, and consis, for example, of riding lessons or pony games.
They can also take place outdoors and thus turn into excursions (such as hacking out on horseback) which can last from half an hour to an hour or two, half a day, or even a full day, but no longer.
Riding out in a natural setting, this consists of travelling by horse (driven, ridden or with pack horses) for relaxation, and includes at least one night away from one’s usual home (the concept of a trip is important).
Equestrian tourism is also a means to discover the natural, architectural or cultural heritage of a region, and this concept is what sets it apart from a purely equestrian trip in which horse-riding is the only activity (such as riding courses in the countryside).
The development of the practice of equestrian tourism is subject to certain conditions: Enough touristic attractions combined with an environment likely to encourage exploration (the goal of the trip), a warm welcome, suitable facilities all along the way, with secured itineraries, the right welcome for the horses and riders, as well as local businesses (shops, restaurants, veterinary clinics, farriers etc.).
By definition, equestrian tourism excludes competition and equestrian sports that target performance, such as jumping, dressage, racing , TREC or endurance. It only involves hacking and can be viewed as a non-competitive leisure pastime enjoyed in a natural setting.
Tourism Around Equines
This is a new concept that has surfaced in recent studies on tourism in France. It consists of something broader than the two aforementioned pastimes , but in fact includes them too.
“Tourism around equines” refers to all activities that are related, near or far, to horses, donkeys and ponies, and encompass the concept of tourism. Visits of historical sites, competition grounds, breeders, etc.
Ecotourism and Caravan Rental
Ecotourism is way to travel centred on the search for an authentic experience, requiring time, a respect for one’s environment, and to live in greater harmony with local populations, whilst favouring a friendlier form of transportation.
The rental of horse-drawn caravans fully meets the definition of ecotourism, and is a wonderful way to spend a holiday that is liberating, ecological and accompanied by an unusual travel buddy, the horse.
Spending one’s holidays in a caravan, at the pace of the horse, must be one of the best ways to recharge one’s batteries and live closer to nature. With their likeable image, horses are also a great way to get to know the locals.
Wine Tourism With Horses
Whether ridden or driven, the horse is also an excellent companion when it comes to wine tourism (visiting wineries, wine cellars, tastings, overnight stays, dining and other activities related to wine, locally produced food and regional traditions). It is an unusual way to discover wine-growing regions, the vineyards and their production.
Source: Conseil des Chevaux de Normandie (Normany Horse Council)