Beach rides on an island in the Netherlands

The Netherlands

This summer, Marlies and I had the pleasure of guiding a 5 day pony camp with 18 kids on the beautiful island of Terschelling in the Netherlands. This island is a true paradise for any horse lover due to its endless horse trails through the forests and dunes, and stretched out beaches for lots of gallops. In this post I’ll be telling you all about the different rides they offer at Terpstra, their horse drawn carriage rides, pony camps, multi-day rides and much more! 

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Horse drawn carriages

Before getting into my great experience with the pony camp and horse rides, I’ll first discuss the carriage rides. These horse drawn carriage rides are a terrific way to see the island from a beautiful perspective, and it’s perfect for non-riders to join. Terpstra has been organizing these rides for over 100 years and some of the carriage drivers have been doing this for more than 50 years. With this much experience, the drivers will be able to answer all your questions and tell you all about the island and its beautiful nature. They offer a whopping 7 types of tours with horse drawn carriages: 

  • Boschplaat day tour: 6 hours through a nature reserve with the chance to spot seals. This tour goes all the way to the most Eastern end of the island.
  • Jutter (scavenger) tour: 2 hours and great for kids as the driver will tell stories about life on the island.
  • Short nature tour: 3 hours through the forests and dunes and over the beach.
  • Tour with traditional lunch: 3 hours including a break to eat a traditional lunch.
  • Seagull breeding season tour: 4,5 hours through the nature reserve.
  • Evening tour with campfire: 3 hours with a campfire, snacks and music.
  • ‘Drenkelingenhuisje’: 4 hour tour to the house used in the past for shipwrecked people.

Pony camp

The pony camp is for any kids between the ages of 9 and 19 years old, and it’s from monday to friday. These 5 days are filled with horsey activities such as vaulting, showjumping, plaiting and bringing the horses to and from the field bareback! Besides all the activities, there will also be lots of outrides through the beautiful nature of the island, the forest, dunes and of course the beach. An evening tour with a horse drawn carriage stops at the beach where you can roast marshmallows by the campfire. Besides all the horsey activities, there will also be a dropping or ghost tour through the forest, games and of course lots of chatting and playing with all your new friends at the camp. I thoroughly enjoyed guiding a pony camp, we had a group of 18 absolutely fantastic kids that also loved every minute of it. We did lots of fun activities together, and even though we couldn’t go swimming due to the slightly cold weather, we got creative and had a fantastic week with lots of riding. Have a look here to find out more about the pony camp and how to sign up. Also have a look at their instagram, specially dedicated to their pony camp. 

big group of kids riding horses on pony camp terschelling the netherlands


1,5 hour rides to day rides

There are several options for riding. Terpstra has lots of different horses and ponies and is able to accommodate anyone, whether you are a beginner, intermediate or experienced. They will match you with a fun horse that suits you well. I personally had the pleasure of riding the amazing Pepper, a massive 3 year old Friesian x Groninger gelding, with a white mom and jedblack dad, causing his while speckles! He was fantastic to ride and as bombproof as a 3 year old can be. For beginners and intermediate riders they have the 1,5 hour ride. For beginners the ride will be mostly walking, but the goal is to also teach everyone how to trot. If this all goes well in the forest, you will be able to have a walk over the beautiful beach as well. For the intermediate riders it’s important to be able to walk, trot and canter and in case all goes well in the forest, cantering will also be possible on the beach (however, no galloping). If you are an experienced rider there are 3 options: 2, 3 or 6 hours. On these rides, you’ll canter and gallop on the beach as well, an absolute dream for any horselover. Last but not least, there are pony walks for the little kiddies!

Swimming with horses 

In summer, it’s also possible to go swimming with horses in the ocean and it’s a fantastic experience! It’s a 2 hour bareback ride so experience is definitely required for this activity. 

group of children riding horses on the beach in terschelling the netherlands


Riders weekend

This 3 day weekend means lots of lots of horse riding with your friends. This package is bookable for 5 to 12 experienced riders. There will be lots of opportunities for galloping on the beach and exploring more than 100 kilometers of horse trails throughout the forest and dunes. This multi-day ride allows you to spend 9 to 10 hours in the saddle over the course of just 3 days. 

friesian horse neck and ears in the dunes on terschelling the netherlands


Weddings

It’s even possible to get one of Terpstra’s antique carriages as transport for your wedding, an absolutely magical thing to see and experience. They can also transport a maximum of 200 guests in the other (bigger) carriages so the opportunities are endless. 

Horse drawn carriage on the beach for a wedding with black horses
Picture by Huifkarbedrijf Terpstra


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