Complete guide to horseback riding in Georgia, Caucasus

Our tips for horseback riding in Georgia in 2024

Georgia is an ideal destination for horse-riding enthusiasts looking for an authentic experience off the beaten track. Set in the majestic mountains of the Caucasus, the region is full of wild landscapes to explore on horseback. Whether you’re an experienced rider or a beginner, this comprehensive guide will help you organize your horseback ride in Georgia: practical advice, recommendations from local guides, budget, equipment, itineraries, etc. Discover the verdant valleys and picturesque villages of Tuchetia or the colors and shapes of the deserts of southern Kakhetia, while enjoying an unforgettable equestrian adventure. Don’t forget to pick up our EXPLORE GEORGIA travel guide to learn more about the country.

travel guide georgia caucasus roadbook

Why discover Georgia on horseback?

What are the best places to discover on horseback in Georgia?

Horseback riding allows you to enjoy Georgia’s breathtaking scenery in a whole new way! Depending on what you’re after, you can take a half-day stroll or tackle the mountains for a few days. This activity is suitable for beginners and experienced riders alike. The most popular regions for horseback riding are Tuchetia (Omalo), Vashlovani Park, Svanetia (Mestia) and Racha (Ghebi).

What is Georgia’s equestrian culture like?

Horses have played acentral role in Georgian society, both historically and culturally. Here are some important aspects of Georgia’s equestrian culture:

  • Historical heritage: Horses play an important role in Georgia’s history. The country is famous for its skilled riders and ancient equestrian traditions. Horses were used for transport, hunting and warfare. At the end of the 19th century, the prowess of the Georgian riders attracted the attention of the famous American, Buffalo Bill, who recruited a dozen of them to take part in his circus show “The Wild West Show”. The performances of these Georgian cowboys, combining equestrian acrobatics and folk dancing, quickly became legendary on the circus’s American and European tours.
  • Georgian horses: Georgia is famous for its native horse breeds, notably the Touchétie horse, also known as the Touchin. These tough, hardy horses have been bred to adapt to mountain conditions, and are prized for their agility and intelligence. They are small, calm horses. They can climb rocks and very steep slopes, and know how to preserve themselves to make the best use of their energy. They live in free-ranging herds all year round. Following the rhythm of the transhumance, they are either in the Tuchetian summer pastures or wintering on the Kakhetian plains.
  • Traditional equestrian sports: Georgia is famous for its traditional equestrian sports, such as cxenbulti, a form of equestrian polo, and doghi, a horse race.
  • Equestrian celebrations and festivals: Horses play an important role in traditional festivals, particularly pagan ones in Georgia. Horse races, equestrian acrobatics and other events highlighting riding and equestrian culture are organized on various occasions. In Tuchetia, for example, the Tushetoba or Atnigenoba celebrations feature horse races.
  • Cultural symbol: Horses are also present in Georgian art and symbolism. They are often depicted in paintings, sculptures, tapestries and other art forms, testifying to their cultural importance.

Do I need a guide for my horseback expedition?

It’s highly recommended to have an experienced guide when planning a horseback riding trip, especially if you don’t have much riding experience.

  • Safety : An experienced guide can guarantee your safety and that of the group. They know the horses, the routes, the local conditions and any potential dangers. They can help you avoid risky situations and intervene in emergencies.
  • Orientation and navigation: A competent guide knows the routes, trails and topography of the region. This prevents you from getting lost or finding yourself in difficult situations. They can also guide you to the best places to visit, sites of cultural interest (monasteries, churches, historic villages, etc.) or natural beauty.
  • Cultural and historical knowledge: A guide can share knowledge about local culture, history, flora and fauna. This enriches your travel experience, allowing you to better understand and appreciate the cultural and natural aspects of your destination.
  • Horse care: A qualified guide will look after the horses throughout your trip. He makes sure the horses are healthy, well fed, properly saddled and suited to your level of riding experience.
  • Logistical support: The guide takes care of all the logistics: planning the itinerary, booking accommodation and meals, organizing transfers and managing the horses. This allows you to concentrate fully on your riding experience without having to worry about the practicalities.

How to choose a guide for a horse trek in Georgia?

There are many agencies that organize horse treks in Georgia. The hardest thing is to choose an agency that you know takes care of its animals, feeds them properly and doesn’t overexploit them during the tourist season. To help you make your choice, we’ve selected a number of professional and experienced guides, which you’ll find below.

discover the town of Mtskheta in georgia
visit the Ananouri religious complex, fortress, monastery and Jinvali reservoir
taste the best khinkhalis at pasanauri on the military road

Our recommendations for equestrian guides in Georgia

Here are our recommendations for professional, experienced and welfare-conscious guides.

Audrey, a passionate and experienced French-speaking guide

5.0
Rated 5.0 out of 5
✅ 6 verified reviews

Audrey has been living in the Caucasus for over 20 years. Passionate about trekking, horse riding, ski touring and paragliding, Audrey is a true mountain girl, and in Georgia she knows every nook and cranny. Over the years, she has specialized in long-distance horseback expeditions through the Caucasus mountains. But it also offers shorter hikes, especially in winter. She raises her own horses with great care and works in collaboration with local shepherds and families, to provide you with an authentic experience that respects both animals and local people.

Embark on an exceptional adventure alongside Audrey, during transhumance in Tuchetia or a trek in the heart of the Udabno semi-desert. You’ll find a contact form and details of Audrey’s expeditions below.

Additional information (insurance, equipment, etc.)

Remarks :

  1. Luggage will be transported in precarious conditions. We are not responsible for any damage that may occur.
  2. We provide 2 waterproof bags in which to store your personal belongings. The weight should be reasonable for a horse.
  3. Insurance covering accidents, medical assistance and mountain rescue is compulsory.
  4. Mountain experience is recommended, as some of the trails can be challenging. Good physical and mental condition is required.
  5. We reserve the right to modify the itinerary if, for any reason whatsoever (weather conditions, etc.), we consider the route to be insufficiently safe. This decision will be made by the main guide and must not be contradicted or discussed.
  6. Trekking on horseback is mainly at a walking pace.
  7. WARNING: all morphine derivatives are strictly forbidden in Georgia (codeine/ tramadol).

What’s included:

  • Full board.
  • Equestrian equipment.
  • Tents, crockery.
  • Accommodation (2 people per tent, 2 to 3 people per room). For people who
    who wish a single room, there is a supplement.
  • Table wine/tchatcha during the tour while stocks last.
  • Transfers by private car (Mercedes mini bus and 4WD).
  • Guides/cooks.

Not included:

  • Plane ticket.
  • Full insurance coverage.
  • Sleeping bags and mattresses.
  • Alcoholic beverages in restaurants.
  • Entrance fees during your free time.
  • Water filter or purification pills (rarely necessary as the water is very clean in this region).
  • Personal medications.
  • Cap, sunglasses and sunscreen.
  • Bomb
  • Rainwear, warm jacket
  • small flashlight or torch
  • small knife
  • Good trekking boots are essential. NO RIDING BOOTS. TREKKING BOOTS ONLY

Prepayment:

For all bookings, 20% of the cost of the trip must be paid in advance.

In case of cancellation:

– Between 60 and 30 days: 30% of the total cost of the trip must be paid.
– Between 29 days and 10 days: 50% of the total cost of the trip must be paid.
– Between 9 days and the day of departure: 100% of the total cost of the trip must be paid.

Opinions ★★★★★

Rated 5.0 out of 5
31 December 2023

Merci pour tout Audrey

Alix
Rated 5.0 out of 5
30 November 2023

Août 2023

Plus qu’un voyage une expérience de vie!!

Autonomie en touchetie au milieu de paysages absolument incroyables avec des chevaux au top et Audrey notre guide qui nous a fait découvrir histoires et traditions de la Géorgie.

Plus qu’une guide c’est une belle rencontre humaine.

Tout est parfaitement organisé jusqu’aux délicieux repas en pleine autonomie !!

N hésitez pas une seule seconde à venir découvrir ce pays surprenant à cheval

Coralie
Rated 5.0 out of 5
28 November 2023

Une façon de voyager proche de la nature et respectueuse des chevaux. Audrey se montre à la fois conviviale et responsable. Une immersion en territoire touche avec une guide de très haut niveau qui connaît le pays de l’intérieur et qui sait s’entourer de relais de confiance.

Merci, chère Audrey, pour cette aventure.

Lou
Rated 5.0 out of 5
27 November 2023

Expérience unique lors de la Transhumance d’octobre.

Un voyage authentique et sauvage.

Audrey est une guide merveilleuse avec une logistique impeccable.

Elle s’occupe de ses chevaux avec Amour, et ils nous le rendent bien.

Le pas sûr et le cœur bon, moi qui n’était pas cavalière je leur ai fait confiance et tout s’est merveilleusement bien déroulé.

Je garderai longtemps en mémoire ces sublimes paysages du Caucase.

Je ne peux que vous encourager à découvrir la Géorgie aux côtés de Caucasus Expédition.

MaGaLi P
Rated 5.0 out of 5
27 November 2023

Septembre 2023. Un voyage extraordinaire en Touchétie grâce à Audrey, guide, je pèse mes mots, exceptionnelle, par sa compétence, son sens des relations humaines, son enthousiasme communicatif. Aidée de garçons forts, serviables, sûrs, elle nous/ vous emmène dans cet impressionnant bout du monde, dans un voyage rugueux ( le milieu est exigeant!) mais où l expérience d Audrey, les chevaux parfaitement adaptés et sûrs, font apprécier la rusticité à sa juste valeur, celle qui qui fait apprécier le solide repas du soir, le feu de camp, la tente où le groupe se serre et se sert dans la grande bonne humeur et aussi les joyeux repas à Lalliskuri et Tbilisi. Merci!

Philippe

Contact Audrey by clicking here

FR Audrey cheval Georgie (#58)

Votre message sera envoyé à Audrey qui vous répondra sous 48h afin de confirmer le prix, la disponibilité et de répondre à vos questions. Prix direct garanti.


What you need to know before your Georgian ride

When is the best time to go horseback riding in Georgia?

The climate in Georgia is diverse, thanks to the country’s varied landscapes. From the subtropical climate of the west coast to the semi-desert climate of southern Kakhetia and the mountainous climate of Tuchetia, it’s possible to hike all year round in Georgia. If you’re planning a horseback ride in the Greater Caucasus regions (Tuchetia, Svanetia, Khevsouretia, etc.), the best time is in summer, between June and September, when temperatures are mild, between 10°C and 20°C. Transhumance takes place in spring and autumn. Even if conditions are more extreme (risk of snow and rain), the experience is unique: you’ll accompany herds of horses, cattle and sheep to the mountain pastures (or to their wintering area), meet the shepherds and discover their semi-nomadic way of life. In the south-eastern region of Georgia (Kakhetia), the climate is much more temperate, even arid along the border with Azerbaijan. Summers are very hot, while winters are mild. That’s why this region is ideal for horseback riding in winter.

What’s a typical day like on a trail ride?

On a horseback trek, you don’t ride all day. Riding days last between 4 and 8 hours, during which some passages are marketed. In mountainous terrain, you’ll pass through passes approaching 3300m, ride over ridges and high plateaus, cross rivers and deep gorges, and pass by hilltop villages accessible via narrow pastoral paths. That’s why the preferred gait is the walk. The downhill sections and some difficult/steep sections are marketed. On the plains of southern Kakhetia, gaits can be more sustained: walk, trot and canter.

Start the day early with a full breakfast in the wilderness or in a remote village, watching the sunrise over the mountains. Once your belly is full, you help the guide prepare the horses: you put the saddles in place and check the equipment to make sure everything is in good condition. When everyone is ready, it’s off for a few hours of hiking. At noon, you take a lunch break. This is a time for the horses to graze and rest. Then it’s off again for a few hours of riding before reaching your camp for the day. The choice of camp is also very important for the horses, hence the importance of having a guide who knows the horses’ needs and the best places to spend the night.

What level of horseback riding is required in Georgia?

Horseback riding is more than just a leisurely stroll, especially when it lasts more than 2 or 3 days! A minimum of knowledge is required to enjoy the ride in the best possible conditions for you and your equine companions. Bear in mind, too, that it’s not as easy to recover when you’re on the move, as the comforts aren’t the same as in a hotel. You’re bound to be sore, and you’ll be bivouacking or sleeping in small inns with basic comforts. A good physical condition is therefore recommended, as well as experience of mountain trekking. You’ll be traveling in remote areas and on small mountain trails, so it’s not uncommon to have to dismount and walk alongside the horse for several kilometers. If you are a beginner, we recommend that you start with a 2 or 3-day hike or contact your guide to find out if this new experience is right for you!

A few tips to help you prepare for your trip on horseback

  • Equipment: Be sure to check what is included in the trip and what equipment you should bring. Bring a bomb if you’re not sure you’ll find one on site. Dress for the weather! Don’t forget to take a look at the climate during the period you’re planning to travel. This is a point to bear in mind even before booking, to choose the best season. Don’t forget to wear clothes that regulate heat and dry quickly.
  • Insurance: Don’t go trekking on horseback without insurance. Animals are as unpredictable as the terrain. So you’re never safe from an accident.
  • Choosing a guide or travel agency: Check the reliability of the organization you are going to use for your horseback riding trip.. You can read travelers’ reviews and ask questions about the equipment, the horses and their welfare, the training of guides, and so on.
  • Animal welfare: Before starting your ride, check your horse’s general condition. Check for visible wounds, lameness and proper shoeing.
discover the town of Mtskheta in georgia
visit the Ananouri religious complex, fortress, monastery and Jinvali reservoir
taste the best khinkhalis at pasanauri on the military road

What equipment do I need for horseback riding in the Caucasus?

The head

  • Hat, bonnet
  • Sunglasses
  • A bomb

Clothing

  • T-shirts or blouses, including one with long sleeves (to protect against the sun)
  • Technical undergarment
  • 1 warm fleece or equivalent
  • A windproof and waterproof jacket or rain cape
  • An anorak / warm jacket
  • 1 pair of waterproof overtrousers in case of rain or river crossing
  • 1 pair of comfortable evening pants
  • 1 pair of riding pants according to personal preference
  • 1 pair of walking pants
  • A pair of warm gloves

Accessories

  • Swiss Army knife, water bottle, headlamp.

  • Purification tablet or filter, personal medication (note that morphine is not allowed in Georgia: codeine, tramadol, etc.), high-protection sun cream.
  • Sleeping mat and sleeping bag, meat bag (sometimes included on organized hikes).
  • Fontes (small panniers to be folded in front of the saddle) to hold your day’s essentials (sun cream, etc.).
  • Portable battery for recharging your phone or camera.

Shoes

  • Trekking/mountain shoes: it’s best to avoid riding shoes that aren’t suitable for walking.
  • A light pair of shoes for evenings out.