Happy Horses, Happy Holidays: The Unicorn Trails Difference


Happy Horses, Happy Holidays: The Unicorn Trails Difference

Horseback riding holidays are a slice of adventure and freedom that few other travel experiences can offer. From galloping along sandy shores to majestic treks through alpine meadows, horseback riding vacations provide an intimate, up-close look at landscapes and cultures around the world. But as any equine enthusiast knows, the joy of the rider must always be harmonized with the well-being of the horse. When you embark on a holiday with Unicorn Trails, you’re not just booking a trip; you’re stepping into a world where happy horses are the heart of the journey.

Happy Horses, Happy Holidays
The perfect ride

Why Horse Condition is Very Important

When it comes to horse riding holidays, we’re adamant – the condition of our equine companions is paramount. As the foundation of our travel philosophy, here are four compelling reasons why checking a horse’s health before the ride is a non-negotiable practice.

Happy horses happy holidays
Happy Horses equals Big Smiles

Your Safety
A well-fed and appropriately rested horse is more alert and responsive, which translates to a safer and more controlled riding experience. Awareness of a horse’s health and fitness prevents unexpected incidents and ensures that both you and your steed return from your adventure unscathed. Additionally, we take extra measures to ensure your safety by thoroughly assessing the training, safety, and overall well-being of the horses used on our trails.

The Welfare of the Horse
By supporting services that prioritize horse health, you play a vital role in the well-being of these majestic creatures. Your conscious choice becomes a powerful force, propelling the equine tourism industry towards improved practices.

Improvement Where It Falls Short
Identifying a horse in poor condition presents an opportunity for intervention. By guiding horse owners to valuable resources such as local veterinary clinics, animal welfare societies, or educational programs, we can foster positive changes in horse management practices. To further enhance support, owners can be referred to esteemed organizations like the Brooke Animal Hospital or local SPCA, where they can access training and receive valuable veterinary advice.

Happy Horses, Happy Holidays
Fine Grooming

Reinforcing Good Animal Welfare Practices
On the flip side, recognizing and rewarding establishments with strong animal welfare standards through your business reinforces the relationship between happiness and economic success. This promotes the notion that providing proper care for animals is not only morally right but also financially sustainable.

At Unicorn Trails, we go above and beyond to ensure that every horse is well-cared for and that you have a memorable and enjoyable riding experience. Here’s a quote from one of our valued customers, DB of Stockport, who shares their experience with us:

I work professionally in equine welfare and am one of the fussiest welfare fault-finders you will ever find. These horses were fit. Tack was comfortable and safe, in very good condition. My horse was an utter joy for the whole 6 days.”

What to Look for For

Normal Demeanor and Behavior:
A horse should exhibit a calm and responsive nature, with ears pricked and eyes bright. A dull or agitated demeanor may signal underlying health issues.

Physical Signs of Health:
When examining a horse’s condition, a body scoring system is the best and most impartial method. You should look for a well-muscled and appropriately nourished animal, with a smooth and shiny coat. For more information, please see the body scoring chart in our blog article Is My Horse Too Thin’.

Happy Horses - Happy Holidays
Happy Home

Grooming and Cleanliness:
Regular grooming ensures not only happy horses but also healthy ones. Seeing the horses in clean surroundings always ensures a pleasurable and hygienic riding experience for guests. While it is preferable for the horse to have a shiny and clean coat, the presence of mud or dust does not necessarily indicate poor health, as long as it does not cause wounds or skin diseases. However, breaks in the skin or signs of inflammation, such as swelling, heat, and pain, are not acceptable.

Horseshoes are not always necessary for horses, particularly if they are working on soft surfaces like sandy ground. However, if a horse starts limping on rough or stony terrain, it is a clear indication that shoes are required. When horseshoes are used, it is typical for a horse to have either the front two feet or all four feet shod. Having three feet shod can pose problems and is not recommended.

Properly Fitted Equipment:
Happy horses Happy holidays
The welfare of the horse is important to our suppliers

A saddle or bridle that is ill-fitting or in disrepair can cause discomfort and potential harm to the horse, affecting its willingness to be ridden. Well-fitting, comfortable tack is essential for happy horses.

Visible Wounds:
Regularly checking a horse for signs of injury can prevent aggravating existing conditions. Avoid riding horses with visible wounds under or around equipment like the saddle, girth, or bridle. Prior to riding, request to see the horse without the saddle to identify hidden wounds caused by ill-fitting equipment. Any wounds causing stiffness, lameness, abnormal movement, or discomfort should prompt you to walk away.

Assessment of Load:
Before mounting a horse or donkey, it is important to consider your own weight and ensure that it corresponds to the size and strength of the animal. Additionally, it is recommended to refrain from riding with more than one person on the back of a horse or donkey.

The Unicorn Trails Difference: A Focus on Horse Happiness

At Unicorn Trails, the happiness and well-being of our horses is not just a mere component of our travel package; it is ingrained in the very fabric of our company’s values. Founded by Wendy Hofstee, a passionate veterinary surgeon and avid horse lover, our company goes above and beyond to handpick the most extraordinary riding holidays, ensuring that our horses are in impeccable condition.

Happy Horses Happy Holidays
Beach riding is a special adventure for both horse and rider

With an unwavering commitment to horse welfare and a dedication to providing knowledgeable service, we strive to connect people from diverse cultures through the universal language of horsemanship. By promoting responsible tourism and actively supporting horses in maintaining good health, our ultimate goal is to contribute to the overall enhancement of horse well-being on a global scale.

We believe that by fostering this harmonious relationship between humans and horses, we can create a profound impact not only on the lives of these majestic creatures but also on the individuals who embark on our unforgettable equestrian adventures. Join us at Unicorn Trails and experience the transformative power of responsible horse tourism firsthand.


The Unicorn Trails difference lies in our unwavering commitment to the health and happiness of our horses. By prioritizing equine welfare, we aim to curate not just an equestrian vacation, but a transformative journey where all beings involved, both human and horse, experience a celebration of life and freedom.

If you’re seeking an extraordinary horse riding holiday that is ethical, immersive, and exhilarating, one that honors the essence of true partnership between happy horses and riders, look no further than Unicorn Trails. Our approach ensures that every journey you take with us is one to remember, for all the right reasons. Happy horses lead to happy holidays, and that’s the magic of Unicorn Trails.

Happy Horses, Happy Holidays
Curl up with a friend

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