Experience rural Rajasthan on horseback
Next ride dates: October 2018 dates tba
Seven riders have returned from India in October 2017 after successfully completing the BHS Riding with Kings Challenge ride and collectively raising £7,000 for BHS Welfare. Well done and congratulations to Frances Burns, Rae Edwicker, Carolyn Evans, Kim Fullalove, Sarah Lloyd, Karen Moon and Gill Nobbs - and a big 'thank you' to their sponsors, too.
This ride takes place in Shekhawati, a region famous for architecture, folk art and shopping so challengers get a full cultural experience as well as an equestrian one. Dubbed the open-air art gallery of India there is always something new and exciting to look at. It provides a breathtaking location to reward your efforts raising much-needed funds.
What is the Riding with Kings Challenge Ride?
You will ride in rural Rajasthan, an area formed by the triangle of Delhi, Bikaner and Jaipur – a region famous for its incredible architecture. With many forts and havelis (mansions) you get the chance to soak up the majestic atmosphere on horseback. One challenger described the trip as: “Absolutely fantastic. Our guides, Durga and Devendra, made the trip for me with their hospitality, organisation and friendliness,” proving that it really is a worthwhile experience.
Which horses will I ride?
You will ride a Marwari horse, a breed descending from the war horses of the ruling families of feudal India. A tough, brave breed, their these horses were known as ‘superior to all men’ - including the ruling family - but perhaps their most notable attributes are their unusual ears which are lyre-shaped and curve inwards, often appearing to meet at the tips.
What will I do on the Challenge?
This brief itinerary should give you a rough guide of what to expect but for various reasons some parts may be subject to last minute changes.
Day one sees you begin your journey from London Heathrow to Jaipur via Abu Dhabi.
You arrive in Jaipur the next day and transfer by private bus to your accommodation at the stunning Roop Niwas Kothi at Nawalgarh, where you will have a royal welcome and a chance to enjoy the architecture, spacious lawns and swimming pool.
On day three you meet your horses and the safari team brief you on how to ride your distinctive mounts. You have an opportunity to get used to your horse, riding around the tracks near the Palace before staying there overnight.
Day four involves a morning ride followed by a picnic breakfast. The afternoon is free time and the female guests are invited to have their hands decorated in the traditional henna way. Sight seeing, visiting havelis and enjoying the frescos and painted houses, fills the rest of the evening before sleeping overnight at the Palace.
You begin the safari element of your Challenge on day five with a 26km ride through semi-desert en route to your overnight campsite. This is a fantastic chance to view the local wildlife, mainly herds of blue bull antelope.
On day six you continue through the semi-desert to Fatehpur Beed, an amazing 70-square-km area with all kinds of plants and wildlife, such as Desert Fox and Jackal. Declared a protected area 300 years ago, the area shows how a semi-forest can become desert if left untouched. Your beautiful campsite overlooks the entire Beed.
Heading north on day seven you trek further in to the Shekhawati region across sand dunes to the town of Ramgarh. You have time to explore the interesting traditional marketplace and camp overnight in a farmer’s field.
On day eight you ride 24km and pass through the very high desert villages to the stunning village of Mehansar in the Shekhawati region. You stay overnight in Mehansar Castle, a charming family run hotel that boasts delicious home cooked food.
Day nine sees you riding through Lalsinghpura enjoying a picnic lunch and spending your afternoon visiting the Gopinath Temple and the famous ‘Sone Chandi Ki Haveli’ and staying overnight in the Mahensar Castle. You can enjoy a final ride out from the Castle in the late afternoon and say goodbye to your horse.
Day ten: you will drive back to Jaipur and stay overnight at the Dera Mandawa hotel for your last two nights.
Day eleven: Jaipur City Tour.
Day twelve: fly back to London.
How much does it cost?
All of our Challenge Rides require a registration fee. This £300 fee is needed to secure your place on the trip and is non-refundable if for any reason you are unable to participate. Based on 10 riders the cost will be £2,452 plus flights and a £500 donation to BHS Welfare. These total funds are required eight weeks before departure and flights are booked with VentureCo as early as possible. This ground cost includes transfers, horses, accommodation, food and guides. Travel insurance and visa cost is not included but advice is provided.
Now you’ve read about the Riding with Kings Challenge Ride, we’re sure you’ll want to know how to raise the money to get there. We’ve put together a list of fundraising tips to help you on your way.
If you’d like to experience stunning scenery and majestic equestrianism, simply complete the application form.