Another beautiful day…for riding horses. We were picked up at our hotel and shuttled – along with some Lord of the Rings fans – to a little valley called Glenorchy, 45 minutes outside of Queenstown. The Rings fans went on a tour of movie set sights, on many of the horses used in the filming. Theirs was a walking only tour. Ours? Well, please refer back to the blog title.
We arrived at the stables in a tucked away valley. The kind you rarely see on vacation unless the lure of a horse ranch beckons. We were donned in classic down-under oil slickers, and helmets, and they matched us with horses suited to our experience. The horses still had a bit of winter fuzz on them and seemed content and healthy. My trusty steed was Trevor. No push over, he. We got along great.
Our guides, Bethany and Fiona – I love that name, ever since “The Thornbirds” – were so laid back, (this, coming from a California native!) and they separated the riders between those comfortable cantering, and those not. So those of us who were good to go – went! We cantered so much and the horses pranced for more. Long and steady, wind whipping, exhilarating cantering. At one point,
Bethany let me and another rider take the lead, as our mounts were faster and we could coax them into a canter. What a blast! Got bugs in my teeth from the plastered smile…
The funny thing was, Trevor was continuously stumbling while walking. They said he didn’t really pay attention when he would walk, and I tell you, he went down to his knees a couple time, lurching forward with no warning – on flat terrain, even! Really testing my “seat”. I happily stayed on, thanks to over a year of regular riding back home. One girl did slip off while we hopped a ditch. We crossed several rivers that reached to the horses’ bellies. All this enjoyed amongst a backdrop of amazing scenery.
Definitely one of the highlights of my entire visit and I highly recommend seeing some this stunning country from horseback. Of course, there are outings that forgo the high speeds, but this is New Zealand! They serve up adrenaline like it’s a fast food side-order. “Would you like some heart palpitations to go with your sight-seeing?”