FAQs

More About The Founder

A life-long horse enthusiast, I set up Cotswold Horse Tours based upon my passion, much travel experience and a keen interest in history, heritage and the British countryside. I take immense pleasure from sharing my country and my love of horses with others. The rest of the team also love the Cotswolds, the charm and diversity of this small part of the world, and, fortunately from my point of view, they enjoy doing the things that I find boring. That is what makes us a team.

Over decades, on five continents, I have been on numerous equestrian vacations, trips and rides. Often these have been in remote locations with excellent out-riding but, even as I enjoyed being on a horse for several days in spectacular scenery, I found I missed the opportunity to also engage with local people, learn a bit of local history, sit in cafes and even go shopping. Also, with the passing of those decades, a bit less time in the saddle is becoming more appealing. Cotswold Horse Tours offers a balance of horse-focused activity and wider contact with the local 'culture' since that is what interests me.

Cirencester, my home town, was recently identified by Horse & Hound, the leading UK equestrian magazine, to be the most horsey town in Britain. So it seemed like a good idea to share it with other horse enthusiasts.

Group size is kept small to ensure you can do more, see more and hear more without getting lost in a crowd. When out hacking, more than five people may require additional staff, for reasons of safety, and this may limit opportunities. For equestrian tuition, more than five riders in a class is not effective. Your accommodation is arranged in small, local inns and hotels and, particularly at peak times such as Badminton or the Cheltenham Gold Cup or Fairford International Air Tattoo, availability may be limited. To be as flexible as possible, transport is organised with local taxi firms and most have six seater vehicles. And of course, getting even five people to go in the same direction at the same time can be a challenge!
Horse enthusiasts enjoy the company of other such enthusiasts. Get any together and they will natter about horses for hours and hours. Cotswold Horse Tours might be a good opportunity to meet people with some very similar interests in a guided group. contact us to discuss your options.
Horse welfare is always, always a priority. All the stables are known to us from personal experience. All have happy, healthy and sane horses who will greet you with pricked ears and bright eyes. It does mean that there is usually an upper weight limit for riders. If you are more than 84 kg (185 lbs) please say so when discussing your tour options.
We work with small, local independent businesses or organisations to provide the varied activities we curate as Cotswold Horse Tours. We know them from personal experience. They offer unique, interesting, enjoyable activities and services that are consistently of high quality and professionalism. Together they encompass many elements of the English horse tradition and so give you authentic experience of the culture and lifestyle.
Cirencester is only a small town but it can offer a range of accommodation. None is international five star luxury but all are clean, comfortable, generally en-suite and have a central location. More luxurious accommodation it can be arranged out of town but we really believe that a large part of the experience of a Cotswold Horse Tour is exploring Cirencester at your leisure and enjoying the food, the shopping and the buzz as you wander around.
Food is a major element of a good holiday and there is plenty of seriously good food to be found locally, in town or when out exploring the countryside. We know many country pubs serving top class food, pretty tea rooms with the classic English cream tea, smart restaurants laden with awards and plaudits that are worth exploring after a busy day out and about. Whilst breakfast is easy to arrange with your accommodation, choosing where to eat lunch and dinner is deliberately left as flexible as possible. One day there might be a ride to a pub for lunch, or a picnic watching polo in the Park, or one evening we may all decide to try a Thai restaurant in town, another day everyone might be too full of a cream tea consumed during a garden visit to manage any dinner at all.
We can arrange for you to be met at the airport or railway station as part of your package. London Heathrow and Birmingham airport are both about 90 minutes away. Bristol is closer but has only limited European flights. Kemble, the closest railway station, has a direct connection to London Paddington in 75 minutes.
Using your own transport may be a good idea, perhaps hiring a vehicle for the duration of your stay in the UK, which might be longer than your Cotswold Horse Tour. However, transport can be included within your holiday cost so transport is something to be discussed during the booking process.
That is up to you. Every day if you want, all day, part of a day - or no riding at all. There is so much to do and see, with and without horses, that some decisions will have to be made. When you contact us, we will then help and guide you in picking out what you would like to do from the available options. To us, the opportunity to sit in a cafe and gossip with your friends or to visit an artisan food producer is as much part of your Cotswold Horse Tour as visiting a professional rider or riding a dressage school master.
We offer horse enthusiasts a genuine experience of the English horse tradition so we do offer many riding activities. Obviously, these demand variable levels of skill. We try to match your riding skill to an appropriate activity. It is miserable being scared on a horse and not much fun being bored, just plodding along. This is one area where a conversation with us will make a big difference.
Probably there is no upper age limit if you are fit and active. Cotswold Horse Tours are bespoke so we can adjust options as necessary to cope with many physical limitations. Though we don't think Cotswold Horse Tours are suitable for the very youngest horse enthusiasts, interested teenages would probably have a great deal of fun.
Any time! Every season has its charms and the British horse world runs all year round. The winter is for hunting and point to point and team chasing and the big indoor shows. The summer is for eventing and polo and the big outdoor shows. A day at the races in a summer dress is as much fun as jump races in the winter in hat and boots. Hacking is wonderful in any season. Dressage doesn’t stop. Tuition carries on. On the other hand, the UK does have very changeable weather. While a day of continuous rain is fairly unusual, winter days may be sunny or the summer ones grey and wet. Temperatures are generally mild and it is rarely very cold or very hot. One great advantage is that your visit is not limited to peak season travel prices and summer crowds.
Cotswold Horse Tours are bespoke so you can choose what to do. Discuss all your ideas with us. The Horse of the Year Show (HOYS), for example, is held in Birmingham over four days in October and we can easily arrange a day there if you wish. The Royal Windsor Horse Show, one of the very best in the year, lasts for three days in May in a fantastic parkland setting under the castle. However, there is so much available within a 40 mile radius of Cirencester - with no long drives and time for a quick morning hack - that we do usually focus on local activities.
Whilst Cotswold Horse Tours and all our suppliers run professional businesses with the requisite insurance, it is still important to ensure you are personally covered for travel, health and, most particularly, any sporting activity you wish to do. While 'horseback riding' is often included in ordinary vacation insurance other activities, such as foxhunting or polo, are unlikely to be covered as standard so it may be necessary to arrange specific cover. Currently, there are reciprocal arrangements for EU citizens to receive health care in the UK but what happens post-brexit is unclear. Other nationalities are charged for health care in the UK National Health Service (NHS). Insurance offers peace of mind and appropriate insurence is a booking requirement .
Cotswold Horse Tours is a bespoke service, offering a high degree of personal service in organising and guiding a tour that meets your particular equestrian interests. However, we also know that people lead very busy lives. If there is demand for a set itinerary at a set time, such as a Tour incorporating one of the major horse trials, we will consider setting one up. It is is always worth contacting us to discuss your ideas.