My daughter and I wanted to horse trek. She has a bit more saddle time, but not much. We were 'assigned' to the inexperienced group, which meant us, 2 inexperienced guides, and 2 folks who had some experience riding.
We were not told that we needed to bring a bunch of water, nor that there was no water along the way. Neither were we told that long pants were recommended. When we asked to negotiate the price, we were told that if we brought our own lunch, we could save NZ$ 40 each.
The guides were nice as heck, one who happily proclaimed that she had done exactly "three" prior trips, and the other who was obviously a trainee.
I, like a previous reviewer, was given Houdini, apparently known for his strong-headedness. I, like the other reviewer was given a switch. Houdini and I got along until the trip was near the stables on the way back. The closer we got (naturally) the more rambunctious Houdini became. He had been rather unpredictable all the way, tho managable (I'm no cowboy, but the guide kept saying what a "natural" I was!) We were coming along the last Km or so. I was leaning forward to get under some branches, and Houdini was trying to chomp some grass. That was it... I was over the front, and on the ground. Fortunately, I had a good hold on Houdini's neck, and managed to fall rather softly in the brambles. I was shocked that the young guides simply sat on their horses and asked if I was alright. My daughter was horrified! Finally Chloe, the "3 trip" guide dismounted and came to check on me. She was sweet, but obviously unprepared for an accident. Ultimately she dropped the DOWNSIDE stirrup, and asked if I could mount. I finally had to point out that I needed to be up side, and mounted.
The lunch? It seemed that it was negotiable at NZ$40 each. We were told that we would each get a $40 dollar discount if we "brought our own" lunch. When we reached the picnic area, this is what was laid out: White bread hot dog buns, slathered with a butter like spread, and 1 or 2 micron-think pieces of mystery meat. It was horrifying! Oh, and there was pre-packaged "cheese and crackers". I was unable to identify the responsible chemical composition, but it wasn't cheese in the common sense. There was a pre-packaged desert, plastic case and all, which was unidentifiable. But wait, there is more! 2 bags of cheap potato chips, 2 bottles of what was said to be orange juice, some "chocolate and peanut" bars that were also likely unidentified chemicals, and 1.5 or 2 liter bottle FOR THE SIX OF US!
We had a moderately good time, due mostly to our own enthusiasm and the vigor of our young guides. The things we needed to know (Lots of water, long trousers, towels, alternate footwear for the water rides) was not adequately conveyed. The lunch as an abomination and if I were the operator, would be deeply ashamed. A "3 trip"guide, no matter how sweet, is probably not adequate.
I would be VERY cautious about bringing non-riders, children, and creaky old folks on the trip.
Finally, I was fitted, in the first instance, with one saddle. It was clear after just a few km that the tackle wasn't right for me. I asked repeatedly to have the gear checked (after we left... What would I know before we got on the trail?) The young ladies seemed incapable of adjusting things and told me that the chaffing and rubbing was "a sign of a good rider".
My suggestions? Make sure you get a calm and seasoned horse. Don't let them tell you "he has a mind of his own". Not a great thing for a 'greenhorn'. Make sure the tackle is comfortable. Ask for a short test ride to see if you are comfortable. I wish I had, as it would have made a HUGE difference! ASK about the lunch. We got severely ripped off. In NZ, where food is cherished, this meal was a disgrace.
Not sure what the deal is there... maybe a bit of financial distress? In any case, as always, buyer beware!
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