Horse riding holidays in Jordan

It doesn’t get more romantic than this: riding in the mountains overlooking Petra at sunset on an Arabian horse accompanied by your Bedouin guides. You may have to pinch yourself to check that it isn’t a dream. You have entered a very special world, however, and one which treasures the blood lines of its Arabian horses, because this creature is like animal royalty in Jordan. It is this beauty that you will honoured to ride on a horse riding holiday in Jordan, an honour because the Arab is one of the world’s oldest breeds, originating here on the Arabian Peninsula and said to have lines going back as far as 4,500 years.
The Arabian horse

The Arabian horse

The Arabian – or Arab – horse is famously elegant, with a high tail carriage bouncing around as it moves like a young gymnast performing his or her floor display. King Hussein of Jordan set out to preserve the breed in 1960s by extending his family stables to accommodate over 150 Arab horses and maintain the breed in the way that was true to Jordanian history and culture. The King was aware that the breed was in danger of being lost because of the world’s increasing demand for racehorses, meaning that the Arabs were being crossed with thoroughbreds to increase their speed.
What the King sought was a preservation of the breed which had been in the good stewardship of the Berbers for generations, who traditionally cared for them in their family tents even, meaning that the Jordanian Arab horse displays legendary warmth towards humans. It is this heritage and beauty that you will be able to share on a riding holiday in Jordan, guided by the Berbers themselves and, in many cases, camping out Berber style too. Although not sleeping with your horses these days of course!
There are lots of myths and legends about the Arab horse, the most common being that they ward off bad spirits, but also that they possess an innate courage to protect the ones they love. According to Bedouin legend, Allah created the horse from the four winds. He gave them the Arabian spirit from the North, strength from the South, speed from the East and intelligence from the West. On a horse riding holiday in Jordan, you will not only experience this sense of human connection, but you will also be carried through many compass points on Jordan’s map.
Horse riding itineraries

Horse riding itineraries

Horse riding holidays in Jordan are usually at least a week long, and if you can extend it to ten days you won’t regret it. You will often have a couple of days to settle in and meet your fellow riders as these holidays are small group tours, with a maximum of 12 people and with a minimum of two with some companies. Holidays usually start in Madaba as this ancient city, dating back 3,500 years, is just 22km from the international airport. From here you head south to Petra which you explore on foot, with an expert local guide, with a day at least to take in this great ancient citadel cut into the pink sandstone and surrounded by Bedouin caves.
Mountains & desert

Mountains & desert

You will think that Petra is hard to beat, and yet the big adventure still awaits, meeting your Arabian horse and then riding off into either the mountains around Petra or Wadi Rum. Petra is located in the Abarim Mountain range which stretch east and south east from the Dead Sea, to the desert in the south. When you ride up into the hills you can take in magnificent views of Petra; Jebal Al-Medhbah, the mountain into which Petra is set; Little Petra, also known as Siq al-Barid; and various wadis and pink sandstone terrain. You will find some lovely oasis to stop and picnic, by a traditional village such as Taybet or Rajev or at a stunning viewpoint such as Dilagha where you can take it all in. When you visit Petra you just visit the Rose City. When you go horse riding, you visit a rose empire.

Our top Horse riding Holiday

Jordan horse riding holiday

Jordan horse riding holiday

Explore Jordan on horseback and visit Petra

From US $1325 8 days ex flights
Small group travel:
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Hello. If you'd like to chat about Horse riding or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.
Arabian days & nights

Arabian days & nights

The biggest horse riding expedition in Jordan will most likely be in Wadi Rum, or as the Bedouin call their beautiful vast homeland, the ‘Valley of the Moon’. As you ride amid its razor-toothed mountains, wind-sculpted rocks and expansive plains you will see why. Spending several days and nights here in Bedouin camps, you ride for two to three hours in the morning and another similar time in the afternoon exploring the red wilderness.
You will come across small Bedouin villages, cross arid mountains and have lunch at shady spots such as ‘The Three Trees’. Cross the Desert Highway into the northern Kharaza region of Wadi Rum which boasts the country’s famous U-shaped rock formations and vast expanses of desert for canters and gallops. The light of the setting sun soon segues with that of the rising moon over the desert, as you watch your horse take a sand bath to cool down and rest. Everything will start over again at sunrise.
Horsemanship

Horsemanship

You do need to be an experienced rider to go on a horse riding holiday in Jordan, with most holidays categorised as intermediate level with an ability to ride at all paces. Fitness is also required so that you have the stamina to ride five to six hours a day. You need to be in good shape generally as there is a weight restriction for riding these Arabian beauties, which is usually around 90kg. Arabian horses are not that big, usually between 13.2hh and 15.hh but do chat about it with your tour operator if you are over that weight as sometimes they may suggest bringing two horses so that you can alternate.
Wearing a hard hat is a must and they will be provided by the tour operator but many guests may want to bring their own. It is worth noting that your insurance may not cover you if you suffer an injury when not wearing a hard hat, and we always recommend them for health and safety purposes. Your expert Berber guides will have plenty of valuable tips on riding safety and etiquette, such as concentrating when you are on rocky landscapes, keeping a metre apart from your fellow riders and always looking out for your fellow riders too. Never take off in a canter or gallop without checking in with your leader, and always look after your Arabian. Use your western intelligence and the northern spirit; southern strength and eastern speed will be with you and protect you all the way.
Written by Catherine Mack
Photo credits: [Page banner: Evan Qu] [Horseriding - sunset: Why Jordan Tours] [Horse galloping: Why Jordan Tours] [Arabian horse in the desert - Antoine-Jean Gros: Antoine-Jean Gros] [Horse close-up: Kirsten LaChance] [Trail of horses: Why Jordan Tours] [Group photo: Why Jordan Tours] [Wadi Rum at sunset: Jumilla] [Making tea under the stars: soomness] [Guide packing bags: Why Jordan Tours] [Ride: Why Jordan Tours]
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