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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.’