Antigua and Barbuda / Horse Racing/Riding
After a hiatus of some years, horse racing in Antigua has started to come back online, with some repairs to the track at Cassada Gardens near St John's, and general facilities initially carried out in early 2006. There are plans to updrade the racetrack further. The racing calendar is sporadic, with race days currently taking place during bank holidays only. Contact the Antigua Turf Club, Neil Cochraine, President, t 464 9315.
Antigua offers some surprisingly good trails for horse riding, though unfortunately not all operators can be recommended. When out and about you may well notice groups of gaunt, forlorn looking horses or ponies tethered to trees (all day long with no grazing and saddles kept on) around some of the busier tourist areas, awaiting their next round of riders. So you might like to take a closer look at the conditions the horses are kept in. Also check that you are covered by insurance and that there are safe practices in place (such as the wearing of a hard hat).
Spring Hill Riding Club in Falmouth, t 460 7787/773 3139 is Antigua’s national equestrian centre and home of the Antigua equestrian team which competes both at dressage and show jumping, and the ABHS (Antigua Barbuda Horse Society). Spring Hill has BHS (British Horse Society) trained instructors that teach at all levels. Facilities include a ménage and jumping arena. Established in 1987, Spring Hill is a professionally run riding school and their horses are in extremely good condition, well fed and looked after, even though many of them are former ‘rescue’ cases. To visitors they offer a range of trail rides on schooled horses (English saddles) through the surrounding hills and to nearby beaches where riders can swim. A popular ride is to the secluded Rendezvous Bay, which can only be reached by boat or via a trek through the hills. Hard hats are provided, and sensible shoes, long pants and sensible shoes are required. The stables are closed between 11am and 3pm, when it is generally considered too hot to ride out in the Caribbean.
The Antigua Barbuda Horse Society (ABHS), t 723 2889, is a member of the FEI (International Federation for Equestrian Sports) and an Olympic Association member. It deals with the development of equestrian sports in Antigua, including dressage and jumping, by organising shows and team travel (regional and international), clinics and fundraisers.
Non-profit organisations and Government links:
Antigua Barbuda Horse Society, Spring Hill Riding Club, Spring Hill, Falmouth, t 723 2889, contact Ms Solveig Nitschmann, email@example.com
Cassada Gardens Race Track, St John's, Antigua and Barbuda, WI
Horse Riding Schools
English Harbour, St Paul, Antigua and Barbuda, WI
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Antigua and Barbuda weather
Looking for inspiration?
- Visit Nelson's Dockyard, the oldest functioning naval facility in the world
- Party at Shirley Heights Lookout on Sunday at sunset followed by barbecue and live music
- Stay at the spectacular Jumby Bay
- Hop over to Barbuda for stunning beaches and excellent birdwatching
- Race a yacht to nearby Montserrat for the day