**UPDATE October 2017 – Our deepest condolences go out to Deana, whose husband Duayne was tragically killed in a jet-boating accident. For those who had the privilege to meet and get to know Duayne, you will be as shocked by the news as much as we are. He was a down-to-earth, happy-go-lucky bloke who was truly passionate about Glenorchy, Paradise and the riding adventure that is the Glenorchy Back Country Ride. Our thoughts are with Deana and her family.
We have a lot of LOVE for these two guides – Deana Irvine and Duayne Insley – who run our Glenorchy Back Country ride through New Zealand’s exquisite South Island. Their enthusiasm knows no bounds and they literally bend over backwards to go that extra mile to make sure all their guests have the greatest experience possible. Here we find out what they love about making globetrotters’ dreams come true as they discover the wonders of New Zealand.
How long have you been running your business based out of Glenorchy?
I bought the business from Rees Valley Sheep Station in 2004. With eight horses and a Skyline Tin Garage Shed… oh how things have changed.
And what was the background/history/reason for starting?
My Aunty and Uncle have farmed here my whole life and we would come down for all the school holidays growing up. When things got tough with a marriage break up, this is where I headed. I signed a two-year contract to manage a Jetboat business here in Glenorchy and when that expired, I decided this was home so I purchased this company. I have never looked back. I have always had horses in my life and have showed, evented, show jumped, bred, and hunted throughout. I have always combined tourism and nature, having owned and operated a Dolphin Swimming Business in Akaroa prior to coming South.
How many guest horses do you have?
We started with eight, and when we bought our own land we were able to expand the herd. Officially we have 74 horses. This covers our multi-day rides, half-day rides, carriage and young stock.
Describe your herd of horses in four words.
Calm. Healthy. Cross-breed. Level-headed.
What is the philosophy or ethos behind your horse riding experiences in Glenorchy?
Glenorchy is one of the most pristine areas in New Zealand. The 120,000 acres we have available to us backs onto not one, but TWO National Parks, so there is endless back country to be explored. We are finding more and more of our riders don’t have the opportunity to ride like this. The experience of being out there leaves memories that will never be forgotten, opens doors to clients and showcases what a horse can do outside of an arena or paddock. It is an experience of a lifetime for many and is on many clients’ bucket list.
What do you love most about your job (guiding)?
Honestly…the people! No matter where our clients come from, when out on the trails as a guide we are so proud of the area. To be able to share this with our clients, show them around and explain the history and natural environment…their reaction is priceless! New Zealand is unique, our area even more so. We make contacts and connections that last a lifetime.
What is the most challenging part?
The logistics and personal expectations of the riders – having a group where expectations can be totally different and making it work for all. This is something we take a lot of pride in; seeing all riders come home content is our personal challenge.
Why should globetrotters sign up for this ride?
What we have here is unique and can be ridden nowhere else on the planet. We can showcase the best of New Zealand; it is the true ride of the South, if not New Zealand – native beech forest, glacial river crossings, being able to drink from streams, glow worm caves, pristine back country, snow capped mountains, glacial terraces… the list is endless!
A tip that every globetrotter should know before signing up for this ride…
Clothing, this is the most important thing. We are in a mountainous area. Comfortable but warm – clients need to think about these two things when packing.
What has been the most memorable or significant moment of your guiding career?
The challenges of our clients and making it happen for them no matter what the disability is. I have taken a totally blind person out, and I learnt so much from her and the way the horse looked after her. From when I stepped out of the yard with her, to when I returned, I was a totally different guide. I was not expecting to learn so much from her. It was so heartfelt. That experience will stay with me always.
Finish this sentence – Don’t leave home without…
Camera is tooo obvious, so I’m going to say ‘Adventurous Attitude!’ Lastly, this is the most PRISTINE BACK COUNTRY of NZ. Don’t miss out!!!
Want to experience New Zealand’s back country in all of its beauty? This is the ride for you! Click here for all the details and departure dates.