One of the ideas I've thrown into the mix is an equestrian vacation. The vacation would be more organized; the only thing I would have to book is flying into the country of choice, as all of the other logistics would be taken care of. Also, I believe all of the locations have English speakers as guides and instructors. The two factors that I'm weighing for a riding holiday are whether I should use this vacation to improve upon my horsemanship or as an opportunity to see and explore a different country.
The analytical beast in me has laid out a spreadsheet of different options, length of time and cost. The top three contenders in this category are in Italy, Ireland and France. Below I've listed the pros and cons of each.
Show jumping and cross country instruction in ItalyPro: I haven't been to Italy yet. The location is an hour north of Rome, which means I could either spend time before or after the "horse" part of the trip exploring Rome! You can't skip out on an opportunity like that. The weather would be warm but not uncomfortably so. The stable I would stay at teaches cross country and/or jumping so I'd be able to work on my technique. As an added bonus, I could pick up some Italian as well.
Con: The most expensive of the options, especially if I tack on an exploration of Rome.
Cross country instruction in IrelandPro: I would be staying in a CASTLE named the Sunday Times 'Best Country House.' I've never been to Ireland and flights to Dublin are the cheapest out of the bunch. Ireland is also famous for its cross country courses. I've never participated in that type of discipline of riding, so it would be the opportunity to learn something new. Could I come back with a cute Irish accent as well?
Con: The weather is cold and rainy and my last two trips to Europe have been chilly, to say the least. The dining options in Ireland most likely won't be as fabulous as the ones in Italy and France.
Inn to Inn Beach Ride in FrancePro: This vacation would be a coastal ride from inn to inn and without a centralized base. Cantering or galloping on a beach has been one of my dreams ever since I can remember. The weather is supposed to still be warm enough to ride into the waves. Oh, and the beach - did I mention that? I foresee a lot of photo snapping with this particular option.
Con: I have already been to France this year, although not along the coast. I feel like my international trips, infrequent as they are, should be in a variety of different countries. Also, this trip does not offer lessons and opportunities to jump would be limited.