Thirty-seven acres surround Don Augusto, a stylish private polo farm only 45 minutes outside Buenos Aires. It has two official playing fields, a practice field, 40 stables with over 30 horses, and is well equipped for complete novices as well as advanced players. The set programme starts with morning polo lessons under the watchful eye of local coaches, followed by afternoons spent playing four to six chukkas with renowned professional players. During high season (September to January), you visit famous neighbouring polo clubs to watch world-class tournaments. You stay in one of two rustic-style country houses, sleeping up to eight people and serviced by a private staff. When it's not all polo, polo, polo, enjoy wonderful barbecues and views of the lagoon and swop tactics in the club house. Horseback rides through the beautiful countryside and sunset carriage rides can also be organised. Polo clinics cost from US$300 (Dh1,101) per person, per day, all-inclusive (www.estanciadonaugusto.com.ar; 00 54 911 3284 1668).
In February, the award-winning Singita Game Reserves introduced their first East African horseback safari. It's a stunning four-night trip with the horses you ride as magnificent as the accommodation. Starting at Paul Tudor Jones's Sasakwa Lodge, with its state of the art equestrian centre, a maximum of six experienced riders ride up to 20km (about five hours) per day, accompanied by two game guides, through the vast plains of Tanzania's Grumeti Reserve. Game is plentiful: diverse bird life, rare black and white colobus monkeys, and frequent sightings of the Big Five - lions, elephants, cape buffalo, leopards and black rhinos. During migration, you canter across open grassland with thousands of wildebeest and zebra. Two nights are spent at Sasakwa Lodge, built in the style of a grand manor house, and set on 137,600 hectares, so you have this enormous wild stretch of Africa all to yourself. Another two nights are spent at Faru Faru bush camp, equally as glamorous. Sundowners, spas, infinity pools and game drives are all on offer. A four-night package costs from $5,790 (Dh21,267) per person, all-inclusive (www.singita.com; 00 27 21 683 3424).
Gallop with giraffe, zebra and herds of wildebeest through flood plains and you might come face to face with a bull elephant on this adventure. Botswana's mighty Okavango Delta is rich in wildlife, and with no roads and lots of water, horseback is one of the best ways to safari. From base camp on the western side, featuring walk-in tents with twin beds, you take daily guided horseback safaris into the delta to stalk elephants and the like, sometimes thundering through water meadows alongside antelope and splashing through vast open plains, home to cheetah and giraffe. It's fast, exciting and during flood time there's nowhere quite like it. On longer safaris, a day ride will take you to a camp overlooking a pool where hippos bathe. After four to six hours of riding daily, go on a guided walk, canoe trip, swim in the private pool or watch the sunset to the sounds of roaring lions. While offering some stunning sights Okavango Delta, is best suited to the fittest and most confident of riders - beware, you may be need to gallop out of trouble. A seven-night safari at Macatoo Camp, including accommodation, activities, meals, drinks and return domestic flights, costs from $4,570 (Dh 16,786) per person (www.wildfrontiers.com; 00 2711 702 2035).
Ruth Taggart, who used to be a lawyer in the UK, and company co-director, Nigel Harvey, spent 10 years looking for, and working at, some of the best horseriding spots around before founding Ride World Wide, which offers tailor-made riding tours in 27 countries. Destinations include cattle ranches in South Africa and the chance to gallop across the Andes. A deluxe Middle Eastern tour called the Hashemite Kingdom Ride takes in the mountains and sands of the Wadi Rum in the south of Jordan on wonderful, spirited Arabian horses. It's a five-star affair, staying in luxury hotels and desert camps with proper beds, hot shower tents and grooms to help with the horses. Your guide is Hanna Jahshan, who has been taking travellers into the Wadi Rum for 15 years. The seven-night itinerary is bespoke and designed to suit groups of two to 10 people, from intermediate-level riders and above; sights could include a visit to the ancient city of Petra, sleeping at a highland camp under the stars, a luxury spa and mountain peaks. In groups of two to three riders, a seven-night Hashemite Kingdom Ride costs from $4,838 (Dh17,772) per person, including all riding and accommodation, meals (except lunches and dinners at hotels), and some drinks (www.rideworldwide.com; 00 44 1 837 82544).
"It's difficult to translate the charm and magic of Ireland on horseback," says Willie Leahy, who has led the popular Connemara trek for nearly 40 years. Described as the jovial John Wayne of Ireland's wild west and a legendary horseman in his own right, Willie takes riders of all abilities on a week-long, 160km ride inland, trotting through farmland and along age-old trails, cantering along the coast and venturing over rocky hillsides and river crossings. Starting at Oughterard, you're in the saddle for four to six hours a day staying in simple but comfortable hotels while your trusty steeds graze in nearby fields. Highlights include visiting a 13th-century castle, trotting along grassy railway lines, and a full day spent admiring the fabulous Mannin Bay, where riders can gallop along the deserted beach, jumping sandy banks as well as swimming with their horse in clear waters, before a picnic. You can also spend a day riding at Dartfield Horse Museum, with the option of some cross-country jumping. A six-night package starts from $2,228 (Dh8,184), all-inclusive (www.connemara-trails.com; 00 353 91 841 216). The holidays run from May to the end of September.
What's special about riding in India, according to the travel company In The Saddle, is the horses - the Marwari breed with their trademark curly ears and endless stamina, which in times past made them exceptionally suited to the battlefield. You ride them through the state of Rajasthan, over deserts, farmland, forest and the fertile Aravali hills. But, perhaps more thrilling, are the villages you pass that let you see what country life is like in western India. The pace is often furious so riders must be experienced - riders travel for five hours a day, breaking for picnic lunches in gorgeous settings. And rewards await - you stay in converted ancient forts and palaces, along with safari-style camps in spacious tents with twin beds. Trips are tailor-made and run from October to March, or you can join set trips, such as "Fairs and Festivals", which include visits to Bateshwar's huge cattle and horse fair and the Taj Mahal. A 15-night holiday with seven days riding costs from $3,772 (Dh13,854) per person, all-inclusive, in groups of two to six people (www.inthesaddle.com; 00 44 1299 272 997).
If you dream of galloping through the surf in glorious sunshine, you'd be hard pressed to beat the Redwood coastal ride. On the beautiful northern coast near Fort Bragg, long rides through ancient, towering redwood forests are combined with spectacular long roams across wide sandy beaches and alongside ocean bluffs. Not for novices, Lari Shea, who specialises in dressage and endurance, breeds Arabians, Russian Orlov crosses and Akhal-Teke, all of which are highly trained. Meandering towards the Mendocino Coast, your journey is spent riding along ridges with stunning mountain views, through a working cattle ranch and an hour-long canter through the spray with seals basking offshore. Days end with wonderful meals, relaxing soaks in outdoor jacuzzis, massages and concerts, stabling your horses at a mix of unique ranches, farms and inns along the way. A seven-day trip costs from $2,295 (Dh8,429), per person, all-inclusive (www.ridingtours.com; 00 307 455 3363).
This might sound like a slightly more sedate affair, but riding ponies in the countryside, surrounded by the peaks of the Austrian Alps, is pretty magical. The recently remodelled five-star Interalpen-Hotel Tyrol is your base, situated in an amazing, isolated setting in the midst of the Tyrolean mountain range. The outdoor riding school lies in the middle of the forest, and each day you take one-hour, guided treks on traditional Haflinger ponies that are sure-footed enough for all ages and riding abilities. They take you for an enthusiastic canter along wooded river valleys and climb steep mountain passes. Best of all, you can ride any time of the year: expect glistening mountains and meadows in summer and galloping through the snow in winter. The hotel offers 283 apartments, suites and rooms, designed in the style of Tyrolean country houses, with a pool, spa and a renowned kitchen run by Gault-Millau and the award-winning chef Christoph Zangeri. If you like you can combine riding with golf, tennis, climbing, cycling, fishing and skiing. A four-night holiday in a one-bed apartment, including a group riding lesson, carriage ride, two half-day picnic rides, entry to the spa and half board accommodation costs from $1,160 (Dh4,263) per person (www.theridingcompany.com; 00 43 4284 2044311). Extra lessons and rides can be booked separately.
If horse riding is all about cowboys for you, head to the American Southwest. There are working ranches, but a luxury dude ranch experience allows you the freedom to do as little or a much as you wish. White Stallion Ranch in Arizona, run by the True family since 1965, is well known for being the real deal with warm hospitality. Built in a Spanish style and set on 1,200 hectares of wide-open land, the ranch has one of the largest herds of horses in Arizona. It also offers everything a rider of any level could wish for: breathtaking steep mountain trails, fast desert rides, daily lessons and all-day adventures. It's perfect for children too, with hayrides, weekly rodeos, team penning, "cookouts" and trail rides suitable for those aged five and over. There's a choice of standard and more luxurious rooms, some with whirlpool baths, fireplaces and a patio to peacefully sit and gaze at the mountains. There's also a lovely pool, telescopic stargazing, line dancing, bike rides and a new spa. A seven-night stay costs from $938 (Dh3,445), all inclusive with daily rides except on Sundays (www.hiddentrails.com; 00 604 323 1141).
Alexandra Tolstoy and her husband, Shamil Galimzyanow, met when retracing the Silk Road on horses and camels for 8,000km through Mongolia and Siberia. Now, they organise riding holidays in Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia. As one rider put it: "even by outer space standards Kyrgyzstan is pretty remote". Green valleys, ancient forests, rivers, snow fields and alpine-flower meadows beckon in this land of snow leopards, bears, deer and eagles. You move to either Lake Song-kol or Sary Chelek national parks and spend eight to 10 days in the foothills of the majestic Tien Shan mountains. With Alexandra and Shamil, you ride with a local Kyrgyz horseman, for roughly five hours per day, and in the evening, huddle around campfires beside majestic lakes. Trips are generally two weeks long and take place between June and September. A 15-night trip costs from $3,213 (Dh11,801), all-inclusive. You can book through www.wildandexotic.co.uk; or call 00 44 1439 748401.