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The River Valley Ride, New Zealand, Globetrotting Horse Riding Holidays

Fiona Ausling

‘My first experience with Globetrotting went far beyond my expectations. The riding trails were fantastic, the guides knowledgeable and friendly, and the people I met along the way made it one of the best holidays I have ever had. We were served delicious fresh food every meal, the staff were always helpful and accommodating, and the rooms and beds were comfortable. I particularly enjoyed swimming in the rivers after a long day in the saddle, and even had a massage! I am already looking forward to booking another Globetrotting adventure.’

The River Valley Ride, New Zealand - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Karen Casey

‘To say that The River Valley Ride is a magical experience doesn’t seem enough. It was a real privilege to spend eight days riding such beautifully trained horses over such amazing countryside. From carefully manoeuvering over steep grassy hillsides, to navigating river valleys and deep water crossings, to fast canters on a totally loose rein, the horses did not miss a beat. The views from the top of those steep slopes seemed to go on forever; it felt like we were on top of the world. Our guides and the whole crew were so friendly and did a great job looking after us. Being welcomed into the local Marae was an incredible experience, surpassed only by the sheer magic of coming across wild Kaimanawa horses and riding alongside them. This really is a special – perhaps once in a lifetime – ride.’

The River Valley Ride, North Island, New Zealand - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Rachel Meek

‘The River Valley Ride was just amazing! The horses were wonderful, the views fantastic, the guides and staff so friendly and helpful, the accommodation lovely and the food yummy. Having a small group was nice, as we all got to know each other. The hills we rode over just went on and on – it felt like we were on top of the world. Lots of opportunities for a good long canter on well trained horses you could trust! Interacting with the local Māori community was really interesting, and not something you’d get as a typical tourist. Seeing a herd of wild Kaimanawa horses was another highlight. Lots of wonderful memories that I will cherish!’

The River Valley Ride, North Island, New Zealand - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Joanne Stevens

‘If you love any of the following:
– Outdoor adventure
– Immersing yourself in local culture
– Authentic, salt-of-the-earth people with big hearts, a great sense of humor and an infectious love of life
– Riding horses to the top of the world with expansive views that unfurl before your eyes, then down to valley depths and amazing river crossings
– Relaxing in a warm spa with a drink and waterfall views
– Dipping your body into invigorating, fresh, clean-flowing river water
– Going as fast or as slow as you like on on the back of a trusty steed whilst traversing lush paddocks, high hills, river beds and poplar fields
– Rafting wildly beautiful rivers with a huge smile on your face
– Eating garden-fresh food and drinking the best of wines
– Developing a beautiful connection with your chosen horse
Then you need to experience The River Valley Ride. I had the time of my life! Thanks to Nicola, Janey, and their family and staff for such a blast.’

The River Valley Ride, North Island, New Zealand - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Lynnere Baylis

‘My sister and I did the River Valley trek and it was amazing. Such a great group of people joined us and everything was fantastic from the horses to the accommodation and food. Our guides were great, they taught us why they use natural horsemanship and the horses were in great condition. I rode Ranger and was very pleased to be on one of the bigger horses as that’s what I’m used to. He was very careful but also very fun. Such amazing sights and such a peaceful place, we will definitely be back! Thanks heaps Globetrotting.’

The River Valley Ride, North Island, New Zealand - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Michelle Vernon

‘Nicola is an excellent guide and coached us well in our adjustment to bitless style riding. I rode Rio, a palomino gelding. He was well mannered and once I got used to riding bitless, we seemed to understand each other well. The Sunday ride up the escarpment was a great day, reaching great heights to be met by the wonderful chef Miranda cooking us a barbeque lunch with bubbles. All the meals were fresh, delicious and varied. VERY generous servings and the desserts… yummo! The accommodation was excellent. Everything was to a high standard. Even the glamping tent was well set up with a comfy mattress, rug and chairs. The hot water bottles were a bonus! This ride was excellent value for money and I would definitely recommend it!’

The River Valley Ride, North Island, New Zealand - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Gillian McSweeney

‘Every day was special, the scenery was spectacular and the banter was hilarious. Our evenings together over a few wines were also memorable and so much fun. I haven’t laughed so much in ages! Everyone at River Valley was friendly, knowledgeable and great fun. The accommodation was excellent and the meals were absolutely 10 out of 10. Miranda was an outstanding chief and used all the fresh produce out of their own garden. I rode Ranger. He was a real gentleman. It was my first time riding bitless and he didn’t put a foot wrong. I loved how everyone could go off for a canter and if you felt like walking a bit more, the horses would listen to you and keep on walking. I loved my time at River Valley and have made lifelong friends. I’ll be back for more next year!’

The River Valley Ride, North Island, New Zealand - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Shari Rowles

‘The River Valley Ride is a must do for those thrill seeking riders. The food and accommodation is excellent. Magnificent scenery. Safe, friendly, extremely well cared for steeds. This was the second time I have ridden Alphie. He’s a fast wee chappie with such a great personality. I loved that we could enjoy lots of long canters. Swimming in the very clean river each day was pure bliss, and swimming with our horses was a unique experience. Staying at the Maori marae was extra special. Basically, every minute was absolutely fantastic!
Because this ride is so special, I have already booked it for the third time in January 2023. “Just Ride It”, globetrotters, you won’t be disappointed!’

The River Valley Ride, North Island, New Zealand - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Robyn Smale

‘This ride really gives both kiwis and overseas visitors a chance to immerse themselves in a slice of kiwi life that not everyone has access to, or even knows about. I can’t even think of words to describe Nicola, Janey and their wonderful family. It felt like a great privilege to spend such incredible time with four generations of their family, from the seniors down to the great grand kids. Everyone at River Valley made my experience that much richer. I kept thinking, ‘this is the best day’, but every day brought surprises and variety in terrain, views and experiences. Nothing felt orchestrated; we rolled with each day as it came: finding new paths, meeting farmers and their curious kids, watching shearers at work, talking to colourful locals, swimming at the river and spending time with the family dogs. The great thing about the horses on this trip is that they are are trained to be independent, and we are shown how to ride them that way. So refreshing!
I for one value the ‘guarantee’ that comes from booking with Globetrotting: we always know the rides have been tested and are of a high standard, and we know that the horses, guides, accommodations and experiences are solid. Thank you!’

The River Valley Ride, North Island, New Zealand - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Tanya Greenwood

‘Every day on this ride was phenomenal – you really settled into the rhythm of your horse while breathing in the fresh air and viewing the stunning countryside.
Nicola and Janey are the real deal: a wonderful mother-daughter duo who bring their passion for horses and the land together in an incredible eight day trek. They are knowledgeable, easy-going and always up for a good laugh. The standard of professionalism and attention to detail was top notch, especially when pairing you up with your horse. I rode Dakota and he was a true gentleman with plenty of go. He never seemed to tire and was happy at the front, side or back of all his companions. He didn’t put a foot wrong and I loved cantering up long rolling hills on him and meandering slowly down steep terrain. He really bonded with me and took on all sorts of trail obstacles without hesitation. Swimming the horses was incredible – so liberating! A big shout out also goes out to Miranda, the incredible chef, who outdid herself with every meal! I loved all the farm-to-fork food.
I cannot recommend this ride highly enough — it was truly the trip of a lifetime in every way.’

The River Valley Ride, North Island, New Zealand - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Sharon Jeong

‘Surreal landscapes, gourmet food, great company and challenging terrain. What more could you want?! An unforgettable experience that offers total freedom on your horse, a cracking itinerary and plenty of opportunities to feel the wind in your hair, with incredible views around every corner. Lots of thought is put into which horse you are given – I rode Blaze, who was perfectly matched to me and was exactly what I asked for: a forward-moving horse with a bit of sass! Nicola and Janey were incredible guides and their hospitality was second to none. Truly ABOVE expectations. I would highly recommend this trip for all the adventurous riders out there – you won’t regret it!’

The River Valley Ride, North Island, New Zealand - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Michelle Klocek

‘River Valley is definitely the best riding adventure I’ve had. Nicola and Janey gave us the experience of a lifetime, never to be forgotten. I rode the handsome and snuggly Calibre, who was a great ride and taught me a lot. Nicola and Janey are fantastic guides, and their knowledge of the land we travelled over is unsurpassed. They are warm, friendly, funny, caring and so very helpful. The accommodation was so luxurious, with super comfy beds, lovely linen and a fantastic outlook. Miranda did an outstanding job feeding us, with different fabulous meals every night and sumptuous desserts. Definitely no complaints! Our visit to Moawhango marae was warm and welcoming and the tour around the settlement was really interesting. All the lands we traversed were so stunning and spiritual. There were two outstanding highlights: swimming with our horses and rafting – both in the stunning Rangitikei River, and both first time experiences. We were made to feel like part of the big River Valley family. I’ll definitely be going back again.’

River Valley Ride, North Island, New Zealand - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Carolyn Ross

‘My thoughts are, save the best ’til last. The Glenorchy and Twin Coast rides were fantastic in their own special ways, but if you’re thinking of doing all three of Globetrotting’s New Zealand rides, then save River Valley for last. We spent many, many hours in the saddle with just the right amount of stops, either for a yummy lunch, a snack or a photo. Outside of riding time we were totally entertained, be it a swim in the river (we swam the horses too), a spa, a sauna, a marae visit, white water rafting – to name a few. We met the local community and had a great, relaxing horsey holiday. The scenery and wildlife were fantastic and the guides were awesome. The lodges were well equipped with all the creature comforts, and a beautiful river to swim in a stone’s throw away. The horses are bitless, barefoot and happy, which adds a new dimension to your ride. My horse Shamrock was very handsome and very confident in his own abilities. You could take him anywhere. The more riding experience you have, the more you’ll get out of this holiday.’

The River Valley Ride, North Island, New Zealand - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Wendy Bayley

‘The accommodation on this trip was outstanding, especially the glamping. The marae was just wonderful. The highlight was the input from the local community, which provided a special flavour to the experience and set this trek apart. The picnic in the glade with wine and cheese and the newly-erected timber pop-up bar was unparalleled! And, of course, the lodge itself was just wonderful. Fabulous staff, and the environment was perfect.
I rode Calibre and we got on just fine. Our guides did a wonderful job matching riders to horses. My favourite experience was swimming the horses. The whole holiday was outstanding and set the scene for many more very successful treks to follow.’

The River Valley Ride, North Island, New Zealand - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Helen Down

‘I have to say, I am finding writing anything about this adventure very difficult. In some way, I feel like I am still there. It was the best horse related experience I have ever had, even though I have ridden for 30+ years.
It was beyond anything that I could have imagined. Calling it a holiday goes nowhere near to describing those eight days. It was a real adventure – exhilarating, calming, peaceful, exciting, challenging, beautiful and an experience I will always treasure. The horses were fit, happy, independent and so confident in themselves. Mine – Dakota – was the best horse partner you could ever want on such an adventure. He was fit, energetic, honest, confident and so much fun, with impeccable manners, and he listened to me every step of the way. If I could have taken him home, I would have. And as for our two fabulous guides – I cannot imagine any other horse people who I would rather ride with.
The marae visit was out of this world and all the locals went completely out of their way to make sure we felt more than welcome and had everything we wanted. I loved the mountains we rode up, and the valleys we rode down into, the gallops across long rolling hills, the stops on the mountaintops to admire the views and the huge country that we had ridden or were about to ride that day. On one such hilltop, we stopped and were lucky enough to watch a band of wild Kaimanawa horses beneath us. They were so curious and beautiful. A sight I have never seen.
As a fellow kiwi, one thing that really stood out for me is that this ride is an opportunity to experience the real New Zealand High Country. This is not a touristy, commercial riding holiday option – this is the real deal, experiencing a slice of true kiwi life on the best horses.’

Meet a Globetrotter: Anthony Tietze - The River Valley Ride, New Zealand - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Anthony Tietze

‘This was a special holiday where our hosts, Nicola and Tommy, went above and beyond to make the ride a success. Beautiful countryside with ample opportunity to go far a canter if you chose to. Riding through the rolling hills each day was something to remember and the eight nights gave us a little extra time to relax and maximise our enjoyment. The night at the marae was special, and swimming with the horses was great. We had a great group and, importantly, there was the opportunity to mix, talk and party with the locals every evening.’

The River Valley Ride, North Island, New Zealand - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Heidi Cooper

‘Wow, what a fantastic eight days we all had. Nicola and Janie are a fantastic team and the other two lovely guides who helped out every day were pretty special too. I felt so proud to be a New Zealander while on this trip. The land we rode over was spectacular, picturesque and at times very exciting, with some small challenges along the way. I always felt very welcome and cared for. I would recommend this trip to anyone – in fact, I would definitely do it again. The food was amazing, healthy and very tasty. After each ride we celebrated together and talked about our amazing day with drinks and snacks before dinner. I rode Dakota; he was a great choice for me, exactly what I asked for in the description I gave of my dream horse. Very safe and steady on the steep hills, he had energy but could be controlled easily. The support and care our guides gave us was so heartwarming; it felt like we had become family over eight days. I wish them all the best on all their rides to come.’

The River Valley Ride, North Island, New Zealand - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Michelle Lampe

‘The River Valley Ride was truly one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Amazing horses, people and scenery – what more could you ask for? I rode Miss T… I loved her and it was sad to say goodbye. She was comfortable and easy. She also had a very forward-moving walk and was easy to push into a trot or canter. The accommodation was varied, but we always had a comfy warm bed, and sleeping at the marae was quite a special experience. Nicola and Tommy were the best. Always accommodating, they had fantastic knowledge of the environment and the land owners. We couldn’t have asked for two better guides. I loved every day and every minute. The whole experience was unforgettable.’

The River Valley Ride, North Island, New Zealand - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Mieke Abels

‘For me, this was a ride that exceeded my expectations, and I would love to be able to do it again. Every day was varied and surprising, whether we were riding through bushland, over hills and mountains, or crossing rivers. The meals were carefully prepared and very tasty, and the accommodations were better than I expected: good locations, and really nice places to spend the night. Everything was so well organised! Both guides were very familiar with the environment, and were able to give us a lot of information about the area, flora and fauna, culture, etc. I rode Rio, a palomino who was not very tall, which I preferred. In the beginning he was a little unsure, but we came along together very quickly. He was very surefooted when climbing or descending, which was awesome!’

The River Valley Ride, North Island, New Zealand - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Patricia Harkness

‘This experience was so warm with emotions. Having the guides and their friends share their land, their homes and their farms with us was the highlight of the trip. The horses were top of the line and very well cared for. I rode Shamrock. He took care of me, and he let me enjoy the ride because I trusted him. I was able to see the beauty of the country we were riding in.
The hospitality was also outstanding. The people who helped transport, feed and entertain us were the best. The guides’ level of knowledge of the environment was incredible. There were many hours of riding when I didn’t understand how the heck they knew where we were going, but I trusted them. I was in their home, their backyard.
Every day was wonderful. I loved seeing the wild horses in the distance and cantering across the wide, open, green fields. Another favourite moment was spending time with Richard and the other Maori locals in the small village where they lived. Learning their history was so beautiful. They are such a proud and generous people.’