Frequently Asked Questions
Does it matter that I am a beginner?
Absolutely not! On any trek most people are first time riders or have only ridden once or twice before. Some were just led round as a child, and some have had a bad experience that makes them very nervous. We also have many people trekking that could be called advanced beginners who have been on a number of hill country treks and mastered the art of steering, starting and stopping.
I'm experienced – can you cater for me?
Yes! We do our best to give everyone an enjoyable experience. You will understand that for safety reasons we cater to the lowest level of ability but on most treks there are opportunities for experienced riders to trot and canter.
Our definition of an experienced rider is someone who can control a lively horse at a trot and canter, has more than 100 hours of riding experience and are confident riding open hill country. We expect experienced riders to be able to adjust their own stirrups, check their girth and get on the horse without assistance.
We get many people that we'd call confident riders. They don’t have a lot of experience or finesse but they have good balance, the strength and determination to control their horse, are happy to give anything a go, and don’t care if they fall off trying. If this is you and you want to have a go at a trot or a canter then we are happy to let you give it a go (at your own risk of course).
Do you have a weight limit?
Yes - our weight limit is 100 kg.
How about children?
In our experience children 5 years and younger are not physically able to manage a horse of their own on a trek, and therefore you should book a lead pony (see below). Between the ages of 5 and 7 children's physical size and abilities vary and therefore we don’t have an exact age limit and rely on parents to judge the capabilities of their children. Your child must be able to climb onto the horse by themselves using the mounting block (not need lifted on by an adult). If they cannot do this or don't want to do this then it is an indication they do not yet have the physical size, courage and ability to ride a horse on their own.
If you are not sure then you could start by leading them around on a lead pony, and progress onto taking them on a trek when you think they are ready. To go on a trek the child must be able climb on and sit on a horse by themselves and steer it with the reins. Safety guidelines do not allow children to be 'doubled' with another rider.
Generally children over 7 who are physically confident and able to ride a two wheel bike or take a medium sized dog for a walk on a lead will enjoy a horse ride. As above, they must be tall enough and strong enough to climb onto the horse from the mounting block without being lifted on.
Lead ponies for small children
You can lead your younger children around on a friendly pony for up to two hours while we go trekking. Go as far as you like on the flat or on the hills. Bring several children to take turns or book a couple of ponies. For the smaller heads please bring along their bike helmets to wear. This is great for youngsters who need to build up some confidence. You are welcome to use the brushes and combs to groom your lead pony.
Will my kids be OK?
Well, we have never met your kids so it’s rather hard to say! Most kids are fine, some will surprise you and be better (or worse) than you thought. Some grizzle, some giggle, some just sit and grin and others go quiet. We have beginner children on most treks, and they are usually quite happy!
Crying or screaming children on a trek are no fun for anyone. If this sounds like your children it would be best to lead them around on a pony or wait until they are older. If a child becomes frightened or upset on a trek we look to the parents to provide comfort and support just as they would at any other time. If necessary you may need to walk with your child until they calm down.
We encourage everyone that is interested to give it a go. If you are not sure how well you will manage, or if you will enjoy it, then we suggest that you book a lead pony and come with a support person who will lead you around. You can be led both on the flat and on the hills if you want.
Unlike the Riding for the Dissabled we do not have facilities to lift people onto horses or to hold them on while the horse is walking. We need you to have the leg strength to climb on to the horse and the balance to sit upright unaided. It also helps to have one hand with the strength to hold on. The ability to understand and carry out basic riding instructions is also important. People with recent hip replacements or very stiff hips may find riding uncomfortable.
You want to come with your friends or family but don’t care to ride? No worries – feel free to put on those walking shoes and follow along with us. Alternatively you can follow the main track up the hill for an awesome view of the entire Waikato basin.