How to Prepare for a Horse Trek With River Valley Stables

Do you want to get the most out of a horse trekking adventure? This article could help you out.
What to wear, what you need to know, and more.

Your rear hurts, you are sunburned, you're scared to death, and the horse seems to do its own thing. You never expected this to be your experience with horse trekking.

A Little Background Information To Start

River Valley Stables can provide many kinds of horse rides. You can in fact ride a horse anywhere from a couple of hours right through to several days. However, what we really want is for you to enjoy your ride as much as possible.

Natural Horse Training

Natural horse training, and the interaction with your mounts that this brings, is at the cornerstone of the River Valley Stables riding experience. Many people think that natural horsemanship involves not much more than riding horses that do not have bits in their mouths, and utilizing a loose rein style while riding. But natural horseback riding is a lot more than just this.

Natural horse-riding techniques emphasise the horse and rider relationship, and that includes the rider showing leadership. Horses that aren't well led, not only a more difficult to control, but also are often insecure.

The lesson here is to get to know your horse and find out how to get the most out of this relationship.

The second thing about natural style horseback riding is that someone who has been trained traditionally may find it more difficult than somebody who's a new rider. If you're in the first group, then you might have to do some "unlearning."

Selecting the Best Trek

If you're a new or relatively inexperienced rider, sitting high up in a saddle can both be quite scary, and impacting on different parts of your body. Not only your backside, but your legs and knees too. Worrying about a sore backside is not the best way to have a good time!

The lesson from this is you should be honest about your own skill level and pick a trek length that is appropriate. The less riding experience you have, the shorter your trek needs to be.

How is Your Riding Fitness Level?

Even experienced riders get out of shape and lose fitness if not riding regularly. This lack of fitness could be a hindrance as you go over the big hill country our rides typically cover.

If you book a Full Day trek or a Lodge to Lodge ride, and have not ridden for a while, we would recommend getting some practice in first.

What Exceptions Are There to This Fitness Criterion?

One exception to the fitness criteria is if you book a Home on the Range holiday. This is a flexible lodge-based horse riding package that allows you to alter the amount of time in the saddle from day to day.

What Should you Wear on your Trek?

River Valley Stables outfits you with chaps, riding boots and helmets, and on days that are cool or wet- we offer long Dry as a Bone style oilskin coats. In addition, we have additional thermal wear if you need it. On most treks, this gear will be quite sufficient over the top of your personal clothing.

As far as personal clothing is concerned, we advise wearing long pants and a shirt with long sleeves for sun protection.

You might already have riding gear if you're an experienced rider. Naturally, you can wear that, although we do insist on helmets being worn on all treks.

What Else is Needed?

You may want to take a few other things, too.

A camera is the first thing. You will trek across big hill country with beautiful panoramas. Panoramas that are truly memorable. Our advice is to take a point and shoot camera instead of a DSLR. Naturally, you can just bring your phone if it takes great photos (though there is seldom reception).

Sun block is necessary for a summer ride. On shorter rides you can apply before you leave, but on a longer one you need to take some along. You'll also - particularly for longer rides - need a water bottle.

Time to Mount Up

The advice offered here is to help you get the most out of your horse riding experience.

Horse riding at River Valley Stables is a great way to get off the beaten track and experience some of the central North Island's spectacular hill country.  

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