‘No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle,” reflected Winston Churchill in his autobiography. Granted, this has ended up as one of his lesser-known quotes, but he was surely right. When it comes to a sense of liberation and adventure, nothing beats the thrill of a good canter through a glorious landscape. As the first signs of spring start to show and the vaccination programme gathers pace, now is surely the time to start dreaming of saddling up and heading to the hills, especially as so many have been deprived of the thrill of being on horseback for so long. It’s the perfect antidote to weeks of wintry lockdown. But, where to go? There is no straightforward answer. There are riding holidays catering for all ages and abilities in destinations all around the world. Much depends on your appetite for risk and excitement, how keen you are to learn and, of course, your budget. I spoke to several readers, keen riders all, for some insights into how they have spent previous equestrian holidays. Dave and Joanna Brown opted for a family stay at a ranch in Wyoming. Their three daughters, then aged 11, 14 and 16, were all competent riders and had been brought up on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie books, so they were hoping for a taste of life in the American West. They chose a ranch that promised plenty of fast rides on lively horses. “It surpassed expectations and was a perfect family holiday for us,” says Joanna. “The horses were excellent and we made friends with other families we met on the ranch. As well as long days of exciting trail riding, we rode out on an adventurous overnight camping trip, took part in a cow-cutting competition and on the last day we took the horses to a deep creek and rode bareback as they swam. It was magical”.