Yes bookings are essential as the preparation of the horses takes over an hour. During peak season (November-March) we recommend booking your ride at least a few days in advance to avoid disappointment.
Do we have to be able to ride?
Absolutely not – we love taking out first time riders, and can tailor treks to suit all levels of horse riding experience.
How do I judge my riding ability?
Tell us your actual experience and comfort level to ensure your safety, and avoid embarrassment. Safety comes first so the guides will only travel at the pace that is safe for everyone. We want everyone, including our horses to be comfortable and enjoy their ride so please accept our guides final judgement.
Owning your own horse or “years of riding” do not predetermine an advanced level.
We can break down horseback riding levels into different categories:
- Total beginner – minimum horse riding experience – first timer – may have had a couple trail rides
- Advanced beginner – maybe had some lessons – knows the basic handling and commands (go/stop/turn)
- Novice – had lessons – knows the basic commands – knows how to post the trot
- Intermediate – have lessons – rides in a specific/multiple disciplines – post the trot & canters without loosing balance and without applying unintentional aids to the horse
- Experienced – extensive horse riding experience through the years – seat is strong at all gaits – complete control on any kind of horse – confident with green horses
- Advanced – experienced + teaches horses/riders and/or competes
Can I book a private ride for myself or our group?
Yes we are able to cater for private rides and groups of up to 10 riders. Please note that in most cases this will incur an extra cost as we will be having to turn other customers away. Private rides are also subject to our existing availability so we recommend getting in touch as soon as possible to avoid missing out.
What should I wear / bring with me to a trek?
We will provide you with a helmet on the ride which must be worn at all times but we also recommend the following:
- long pants/stretchy jeans/sportswear to stay comfy while in the saddle (if you wear shorts, your skin will rub on the leather saddles and you will be sore/bruise).
- DO WEAR: shoes with a slight heel – such as walking boots/gumboots or some trainers.
- DON’T WEAR: jandles or open topped footwear – these are not permitted for your safety when around horses.
Please ensure you are dressed appropriately for the weather conditions at the time. In the summer ensure you have sun cream for protection from the strong New Zealand sun, and in winter you may wish to bring an additional rain jacket just in case.
Ride & Swim:
- If you are joining us in the summer for a ride and swim please also bring appropriate swimwear and a towel to dry off.
Why is there a 95 kg weight limit?
While most healthy horses can easily carry a rider and saddle, they do have their limits. Now researchers have identified a threshold for when a rider is too heavy for a horse to consistently and comfortably carry – this is around 18% of the horses body weight.
We do have a couple of horses available to take riders over this limit – but as their availability is restricted by the number of people on the ride please ensure you get in touch with us directly for any exemptions to the limit.
If you are in doubt, please err on the side of overestimation. If upon arrival the riders are of questionable weight, we have a scale on-site. If a rider is too large for the horse reserved, they may not be able to ride, since there may be no large substitutes available. To avoid possible embarrassment please be honest!
Do you pick up customers in Paihia?
Yes, up to 7 customers; usually in front of Isite, or Kings Road ; for busy cruise ship days, pickups will be on Bayview Road.
We are a group with mixed riding abilities, what should we expect?
For safety reasons we will only ride at the pace of the slowest rider. If there are more than 5 people in the group two guides will be present and it may be possible to split the ride.
If you are an experienced rider wanting to go on a faster ride we recommend booking a private ride – this will incur an extra fee dependent upon numbers, please contact us directly for more information.
Do I get a refund if I back-out before the ride?
We don’t want you to ride if you are frightened. Horseback riding should be fun and enjoyable and we make every effort to ensure everyone has a great time. However we have reserved your horse for you, fed him, turned away other riders, tacked up your horse for you – it often takes us an hour to prepare before a ride at least, and an hour afterwards.
Therefore, we ask that you pay for your ride if you back out or only take part of the ride.
What is your cancellations policy?
We ride in rain (moderate) or shine and are open all year round. We are very blessed in the Bay of Islands to a temperate climate all year around, and any showers are often quite short. Please use caution when looking at weather forecasts as they are often wrong – if in doubt please give us a call before your ride.
Our cancellation policy requires you to give us at least 24 hours notice prior to your ride departure in order to receive a refund. Any cancellations within 24 hours of the ride will not be refunded – unless the ride cannot take place for safety reasons (high wind, torrential rain etc.) in which case you will be informed as soon as is reasonably possible and offered an alternative day or refund.
If you would like to postpone your trek to a different day due to the weather – we are happy to accommodate this provided there is availability. Ensure you give us at least 24 hours notice if you wish to move or rearrange your ride.
Please respect our horses and staff and provide them with enough time for cancellations and any changes to your booking.
Where about's are you located / how do we find you?
We’re located alongside the Waitangi Treaty Grounds – to the north of Paihia, in part of the Waitangi Endowment Forest.
For the best ways to find us depending on your location – check out of Find Us page for in-depth instructions.
Can we have a discount for group bookings?
Discounts are arranged on a case by case basis for groups bookings of 10 or more visitors. We regret that we cannot offer a discount for groups of less than 10 people.
We encourage you to get in touch with us directly if you would like to arrange a group booking for more than 10 people.
What time do I need to arrive / What happens if I am late?
Please arrive at least 20 minutes prior to your ride departure time, this allows us to kit you out with safety equipment and for you to review and sign our safety disclaimer and give you a full safety briefing.
If you are running late please phone us an hour before the ride and it might be possible for us to delay departure. In the event of other riders being on your ride, if you are late we reserve the right to leave for the ride without you as we should not have to keep other paying customers waiting – and you will not receive a refund.
Depending on how late you are may also affect the length of the trek – as we have to ensure we return with sufficient time to prepare for any additional treks later that day.
How much does a ride cost?
Can I bring my Camera on the trek?
Absolutely – we will make photo stops along the way and we always love to see your photos shared with us as well. Please note however we cannot be liable for any damage occurred – so we recommend you secure all items safely while on the ride.
Can my Kids go for a ride without me?
Of course – our guides will take great care of your children, we can also arrange for a guide to walk alongside if this is required.
What is the minimum age for Kids?
Our minimum age is 3 years old – though these children will be lead on foot by one of our guides. The minimum age for our 2 hour rides is 10 years old, we recommend most children to take part in our 1 hour ride.
Are there toilet facilities available?
Yes we do have a basic toilet available on site, once we are out on the treks these facilities won’t be available so we recommend taking a trip before the ride departs!