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“Ahhhh look, depends doesn't?”
Review of Horse Trek'n

Horse Trek'n
Ranked #22 of 42 Outdoor Activities in Paihia
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Owner description: Welcome to Horse Trek'n. If you are looking for a fun activity, come for a ride with us! If your dream is to swim with horses, we are the place for you; Ride along the beautiful scenery of the Bay of Islands and experience the thrill of swimming in the ocean with your horse when weather conditions permit!
Reviewed 28 February 2014

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!

1  Thank Doc D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
zoeyjames, Owner at Horse Trek'n, responded to this reviewResponded 4 March 2014

Both my guides and I are very surprised at your review. On the trip and back home you told them how much of a good time you were having.
I suspect the thing that triggered your bitterness is the fact that I would not drop our price despite of your insistance. Maybe you are the one who cannot afford the trip and maybe should have gone for a shorter cheapper version?
We carry water and Kerifresh orange juice (best local quality) and the guides are advised that if they run out they call me to bring more. The lunch offered isn't a 5 star restaurant quality. It is mostly prepacked as this is how food travels the best on horse back.
You had been on a horse only once 50 years ago. We choose Houdini out of 15 horses for you as he is strong, sturdy and comfortable to ride. His little tests of stopping for grass can hardly be described as unpredictable.
Our guides have 15 years of riding experience between them and chloe has been working in riding schools in Canada for years. The fact that this was a third ride as a main guide at our place is irrelevant. 2 guides for 4 riders is a very generous ratio.
We have very comprehensive guidlines for accidents and incidents, your slide around Houdinis neck because he stopped for grass into a soft cushionning of grass isn't classified as an accident.

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Reviews (55)
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37 - 41 of 55 reviews

Reviewed 18 February 2014

Had a bad'ish experience on a horse many years back, but this trek was very chilled thanks to the horses and instruction. Really enjoyed the views, increased my confidence on a horse, so next time I will want to do a full day!

Thank Oscar A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 February 2014

I have very limited riding experience but I felt comfortable enough on my horse to get up a trot. My wife has much more experience and cantered a few times. We got an amazing picture on horseback at the top of the volcano, and learned about life from our guides along the way. We thoroughly enjoyed it!

Thank John P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 February 2014

Our boy, 10 years old, truely appreciated the 2h horse ride in the forests and along the beach. The horse was lovely and the teacher well experienced. The teachers speak english, french and german which makes this destination easily accessible for people from abroad (we are from France) ;-)

Thank Raph_France
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 February 2014

I went riding with my kids (6&9yrs old) who have not really ridden before so I was nervous about them both being on horses and the guides were wonderful. They walked alongside us as that is what I had asked for and were friendly, relaxed and keen that we enjoyed the ride and the views. The horses were all beautiful and well trained. The route back from the volcano was a bit more varied through the forest and a bit more challenging which was great. We loved it. It was so peaceful and scenic and a very special afternoon. my daughter especially loved the horses and couldn't stop talking about them. Thanks very much!

Thank Aleezoop
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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