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8 Great Trip Ideas for Horse Lovers (PHOTOS)

Posted: 01/07/12 07:00 AM ET

From the Caribbean to South Africa to Western Europe to China, it's easy for avid equestrians to add some horseback riding into almost any trip -- you can even ride horses in New York's Central Park. But why not experience something more than a simple follow-the-leader trail ride?

Experience unique gaits, watch exciting festivals, marvel at the power and beauty of the equine acrobat and explore ancient landscapes best viewed from the back of a horse. Each of these trips offer something more for horse lovers who want a memorable experience with a new four-legged friend. Of course, if your traveling companions aren't such horse-fanatics, there's still plenty of reason for them to visit these particular places too.

Learn more about animals and travel:

Watching a Medieval Bareback Race in Italy
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The Tuscan town of Siena has been holding its Palio since medieval times. Twice a year, ten horses with bareback riders race around the town square. The adrenaline charged event only lasts for about two minutes, with festivals and parades held beforehand. The rules of the Palio differ greatly from traditional horse racing and dirty tactics are encouraged. To win, the horse must be the first one to cross the finish line with its decorative headpiece intact. The course features tight turns and steep inclines, and falls are not uncommon - nor are winning horses that no longer have their jockeys.

It's a wild and crazy event that ends in a flash but determines bragging rights for the year. The winner is awarded the palio, a silk banner with custom art, and is celebrated as the best for several months. The second place horse and rider are considered the losers and the jockey who has gone the longest without a win is given the ego-crushing nickname of "nonna", or grandmother.

Find hostels in Siena and learn about Italy's oldest Palio race
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Photo credits: Eduardo Amorim, Paulo Fassina, Gouldy99, Linda Hartman, Janus Kinase, Windsors Child, Asheikins, xavi talleda

 

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