Def: “Glamping”: Going camping, but with glamour. A combination of the two words, it’s like regular camping, but with nicer things than usual, like being warmer, and more comfortable. Glamping isn’t done by usual outdoor types who climb mountains.” Urban Dictionary. 

So you’re bored with your typical equestrian entertainments and looking for something new. How about trying “Equestrian Glamping?”

Equestrian glamping is camping with your horses – but in STYLE! We women innately understand glamour – how do you think tail glitter and neon hoof polish were invented? Glamping just transfers those concepts to your equine camping experience. 

You may at first think “trail riding”, “horse camping”, and “glamour” are oxymorons — the terms can’t possibly be mixed. But they can! Our glamping group contains a disproportionately large number of competitive trail and endurance riders. As such, we routinely travel long distances with our horses to engage in competitions over rough and primitive terrain with distances ranging from 25 to 100 miles. (Note: This is NOT glamping. But it gives us the confidence to take on longer and more challenging travel demands to get to desired glamping destinations.)

Given our travel distance and time requirements, most of us own comfortable living quarters trailers, known affectionately as LQs. We also own trucks to pull those trailers – even we Divas enjoy the ego boost of sitting high behind the wheel of a chugging Dually diesel, looking down (kindly) on the neighboring Prius and saying: “Whas’ Sup?”. Thus with our truck and nice LQ trailer, we already own two essential tools to make glamping possible.

Do you need an LQ trailer to glamp? Not really. “Glamping” is more a state of mind, a type of “art”. Like our sequined western show jackets, glamping is created from great design, planning, execution and practice, all done with great skill and enthusiasm by our group of hard core horse addicted femme fatales affectionately named the Divas. We have, through diligent practice over many years, perfected the art of glamping. We’re happy to share our hints.

1. Form Your Group Carefully

When forming your glamping group, look for the following characteristics: 

  1. Comparable riding skill and speed – its problematic when one person wants to walk while the rest wish to consistently move out
  2. Compatible personalities – be sure you enjoy one another’s company, support one another, and have the ability to laugh at improbable situations 
  3. Comparable entertainment styles – you don’t want to combine a group of late night wino karaoke enthusiasts with quiet early to bed riders. Both groups are great, but may not mix in one glamping experience.
  4. Compatible horses – you want horses that like each other; don’t waste valuable glamping time breaking up equine fist (hoof)-fights

Once your basic group is formed, test it out. Do some challenging and long one day rides together to evaluate the chemistry. Add an overnight campout close by. You don’t want your glamping trip to be the first discovery that one of the above factors is missing. If a rider or horse don’t mix well, find a tactful way to suggest this upcoming experience might not be enjoyable for them individually and find a time to plan another experience more suited to their needs. You CAN have more than one glamping group. 

2. Secure your LQ Trailer or Alternatively Seek Locations with Nice Cabins

There are several ways to secure an LQ trailer – you can buy, borrow, rent, or mooch a bunk berth with a friend. The LQ should preferably be equipped with hot running water, a king size bed, a pull out couch or extra bed for guests, air conditioning, refrigerator, cook stove and – if possible – slide outs for that valuable extra room for indoor glamping card or board games when it rains. Or snows. Or is too hot to ride.

If you don’t’ have an LQ trailer, pick a location which offers both campsites and nice cabins. Check these out on Trip Advisor or other third party referral sources – a glamping experience can be destroyed by accommodations which turn out to be mold infested dumps. This situation definitely kills the glamping ambience. 

3. Find an Amenable Location 

This rule can be challenging. We all understand the concept of great location. However, each Diva’s ideal location can vary dramatically at any given moment. Getting Type A women to agree to a commonly accepted destination and time is an exercise in planning, scheduling, and diplomacy . Do we do Bryce Canyon, the Biltmore Estates, or find a scenic local campground? When? For how long? Who’s available? Who’s not? How physically demanding is the ride? How physically challenged do the riders want to be? Reaching consensus requires a strategic approach.

Typically hard core glamping trips require at least one planning meeting. When presenting your destination proposals, come armed with:

  1. Power point slides of the destination’s selling points; pictures say a thousand words; 
  2. Map quest handouts showing route, total miles, estimated driving time, and tourist attractions (i.e. either outlet malls or well-known equine tack, trail and apparel shops with BLING – and ample parking for your horse trailer); 
  3. A list of suggested stop-over points with information about overnight horse accommodations and whether the stop-over will be “in transit” or can itself offer some glamping opportunities (for long hauls only); and 
  4. Copious amounts of adult beverages – they assist in persuasion and consensus building. Alternatively, for your group’s drinkers and non-drinkers alike, bring chocolate.

If you’re feeling particularly organized, address both your winter and summer glamping destinations based on (1) weather you wish to escape, and (2) weather you wish to escape to.

4. Ensure Appropriate Campsite Amenities 

Be sure your destination campground has the proper amenities. This includes: (1) sufficient campsites and cabins if needed; (2) electric and water hookups or – alternatively your own generator and water holding tank in your LQ trailer (both essential for hair dryers and other beauty accessories needed to maintain the Glamping Appearance); and (3) safe and comfortable stalls or corrals for the horses. Check the web site and call your campground host. Are your campsites near the horse corrals? Is the water hose / shavings shed close to both corral and your trailer? For the ultimate glamper, will the campground personnel water and clean stalls for an extra fee? Your failure to properly investigate these factors can sadly convert your “glamping” experience into a “camping” experience.

5. Pay Special Attention to Food, Adult Beverages and Entertainment 

Now we get to the fun part. No glamping trip is complete without full attention to food and beverages. And I mean – FULL ATTENTION. In Glamping, food and beverages are a BIG DEAL. To maximize the experience, we suggest assigning one meal of each day to a particular person. This encourages the friendly competitive spirit amongst the group and ensures that EACH MEAL – be it Breakfast, Trail Snacks, Lunch, Afternoon Snacks, Dinner and Before Bed Snacks – is drop dead awesome. The friendly but competitive atmosphere guarantees the food is aesthetically pleasing, of gourmet quality taste, and worthy of your time in eating it. Remember, a rider burns approximately 200 calories an hour at a walk. Sustenance is of the essence. 

To enhance the experience, you can assign themes to each day. Perhaps Day 1 is Adventurous Campfire Recipes; Day 2 is “Scintillating Smorgasbord”, and Day 3 is “Wine, Cheese and Chocolate”.You get the drift. If this aspect appears intimidating, or you’re concerned your meal doesn’t meet the standards, just complement it with those adult beverages. Don’t like adult beverages? No problem – bring creative juice or beach umbrella drinks without the alcohol. Lacking creativity, just remember to Bring More Chocolate. (Hint – Chocolate is a Universal Glamping Basic).

6. Properly Accessorize. 

The BEST thing about glamping is that it’s never ending. You are either Doing It – meaning you’re experiencing the pleasure of getting to, and enjoying the experience, or you’re Planning It, meaning you are pouring over travel catalogs, on-line destination sites, truck/trailer/trail/camping equipment, and best of all – glamping accessory catalogs. 

Creative lighting is a glamping essential. Several online sources provide ground lights, awning lights, trailer door lights, gnome lights, hot chili pepper lights, dancing hula girl lights, wine bottle lights – well, you get my drift. Creative lighting can also include twinkle lights in colored mason jars, LED lighted wine glasses featuring stems in changing colors, and Himalayan horse head salt block lamps for setting the mood indoors. Lighting is essential – particularly in light of the adult beverages, and navigating campgrounds in the dark.

Other accessories might include speaker systems for your outdoor music; oscillating fans and cold water spritzer fans in case of humidity, horseshoe wine bottle holders, creative bug spray dispensers, and campfire cookware (See Rule 5 Theme Meals above). Essential accessories also include mandatory fire tongs for mandatory S’mores. (See Rule 5 – Chocolate).

7. Provide Entertainment

Horseback riding in beautiful regions is entertaining. But you can do that camping. The Glamper requires something more. Perhaps you can glom onto another event already scheduled, perhaps the campground’s Mule Jumping Competition and Trail Wagon Cookout? Or maybe add a Karaoke Night to the tail end of your day long ride. Alternatively, you can just wing it and watch your Glamping Partners attempt to light an outdoor bar-b-que grill in 50 mph wind because darn it, grilled steaks were on the menu for tonight and its gonna happen. Regardless. With the right group, the entertainment factor is easily met and one of the experience’s highlights.

8. Be Flexible 

Even with Diva standards, things can change in an instant. Destinations can be flooded or closed due to forest fires. A trailer can break down at the last minute, or a horse go lame. A carefully planned campfire meal can – well – burn. So the last rules of Glamping are perhaps the most important – Be Flexible. Have fun. Always maintain a good sense of humor – even the disasters make for great war stories later. Be aware that next time, it could be YOUR meal that burns. So no complaining. Period.

Hopefully this primer enables you to consider and undertake your first Glamping experience with your horse. Be adventurous. Be creative. Give Glamping a try. Who knows? You might just LOVE it.

Like a Diva. 

© Denise E. Farris. (August, 2018). This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in any manner without the consent of the author. This article is not intended to be the provision of legal advice. For fact-specific questions, refer to an attorney licensed in your state. Contact: Denise Farris, Farris Legal Services, LLC. [email protected].

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