If you’re not so much a beach and book-worm type when it comes to holidays, and you’d rather be saddle-sore than sunburnt, a Ranch Rider experience could be perfect for you. We’ve been chatting to one of the company’s directors, Ruth Daly, about what makes it such a great vacation option for women who ‘want a little more’ from their time out.
What inspired you to be part of this holiday concept?
I came on board after the Ranch Rider business was set up, but I was keen to be involved as Marketing Director from the get-go, as Tony and I both share the same passion for horses and horse riding holidays.
I am also the proud owner of Kizzy, a 14.2 colour cob mare, so riding horses is very much part of my lifestyle. When I’m not looking at campaigns and up and coming destinations where you can hit the trail, you will find me in the saddle right here in the UK. I’ve taken part in show jumping, cross-country and sponsored rides, including the sponsored ride during the Burghley Horse Trials.
What was your background prior to that?
I’m an accountant by trade so you could say I’m fabulous at multi-tasking and I’m active in both the marketing and financial services fields.
Why do you think women want a holiday like this?
Riding holidays give you the chance to achieve something. You could even say they are empowering.
You might encounter very different terrain on any one ride, or you might eventually find yourself working up your speed and changing from a trot to a canter. In just a week, even if you are starting out as a beginner, you can progress quite quickly as there are lessons in Western riding, both group and private, available at most ranches.
An added bonus is that riding horses is an incredibly exhilarating and physically demanding activity, but it’s far better than being stuck in a gym as you’re watching incredible scenery drift by as you go. From that point of view, I’d say it has an almost meditative quality to it.
Choosing to book a women-only week adds another positive element to the whole riding holiday. It’s a chance to bond with like-minded women who enjoy the thrill of new adventures and it’s often an opportunity to begin some life-long friendships.
What’s different about female travellers and holidaymakers today, compared with say 20 years ago?
I think today’s women are interested in following their own career path and the same could be said for travel.
They want to explore further and wider and it’s not unusual to find some women travelling independently and booking a week on a working ranch. Twenty years ago women choosing to travel solo were few and far between.
Do women feel guilt over taking holiday?
I think guilt is down to the individual’s perspective, but women today are much more conscious of the need to have a solid work-life balance, so a holiday is a seen as an opportunity to take stock of where we are in our careers and relationships and refuel.
Whether that’s spending a week on horseback or cruising around the Caribbean (my second love), taking a break/holiday is now viewed as part of our overall health plan. It’s a chance to give our mind, body and soul a workout.
Where would you like the business to get to?
We’re always looking to expand our product base and grow the company, but we want to take our time, as at Ranch Rider we work with handpicked ranches that we feel our clients would enjoy.
We have to have confidence in and first-hand knowledge of the ranch, lodge or estancia we are selling, and every year we seek to include several new properties we feel qualify as dream riding holidays.
What have been your biggest triumphs and challenges to date?
Last January my girlfriends and I were talking about how we all wanted to lose weight, so we agreed to start running.
Feeling inspired, we all downloaded the ‘Couch To 5k’ app and gradually started running with our target of completing a 5k park run in April. It felt like a huge achievement when we all crossed the line. Since then we have all carried on running and in fact, we recently ran ‘The Race for Life’ 10k.
I can actually say none of us would be running now without each other, and we’ll all a bit lighter too.
If you’re interested to know more about a holiday with Ranch Rider, please find below the relevant details.
We’d also love to hear from you if you’ve experienced a trip like this one and want to share what you thought and whether it was transformational for your life.
Ranch Rider (01509 618 811; ranchrider.com) ATOL PROTECTED No 4660 ABTA 96395/V9150.