Are We There Yet?: 'Saddle up boys! Let's ride the range like real cowboys'

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The Independent Travel

I've just discovered the Next Big Thing in family holidays (yes, OK, another one). Forget luxury spas with crèches to match: cool kids and hip parents are choosing instead to saddle up and head for the hills in search of some real cowboy-style adventure. From Honduras to Hertfordshire, there's a stampede to book ranch and riding holidays – so if you want to get with it, grab your Stetson and make like Billy the Kid.

Before you say it: no, I'm not horsing around. This year has seen the launch of lots of enticing new equestrian adventures for families: take Ranch Connections (01727 762573; ranchconnections.co.uk), which now offers child-friendly breaks at guest ranches across the United States, Canada and Argentina. Riders of all abilities are welcomed, you'll be treated to everything from overnight pack trips to barbecues complete with cowboy singers and toasted marshmallows.

A new family riding adventure from Equine Adventures (0845 130 6981; equineadventures .co.uk) is also perfect for the pony-mad. Stay in ranches and bush camps while you explore South Africa's Waterberg Reserve from the comfort of your saddle. You'll spot giraffe and zebra, and your little cowboys can even learn how to muster cattle.

But if you're not quite ready to relinquish your creature comforts, Bovey Castle in Dartmoor (01647 445016; boveycastle.com) offers an altogether more sedate equine experience.

Stables and luxury combine to meet all requirements; the kids can take lessons in horse care, and instead of camp fires and beans after a hard day on horseback, you get a plunge pool and spa facilities: perfect for soothing all that saddle soreness.

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