I hate horses. I make no bones about it. To be fair I think the feeling’s mutual. So when I went Horse Trekking (in Geraldine near Christchurch) with Peel Forest Horse Trekking, I must admit I wasn’t overjoyed, however, I was soon won over. We got to the riding school and I reluctantly exited the bus to be greeted by almost a dozen horses. Oh great. Seeing as there were more people than horses we were split into two groups, I vehemently insisted on going in the second group as I wasn’t quite ready mentally to mount a large unpredictable animal just yet. As the first group trotted on ahead the obviously fearful and pathetic group followed behind on foot.
We split up and headed to a gorgeous river with an amazing mountainous backdrop, there we chilled out whilst waiting for the first group to finish their trek. When they finally arrived back from their horse trekking adventure everyone seemed to be on a high – they had loved it, this comforted me slightly and I was prepared to give it a go myself.
Before we exchanged places the guide asked for a volunteer to swim with the horses. I wasn’t that confident and let the thrillseekers give it a go.
The saddles were removed and Mark from Nomads Queenstown took the challenge, he jumped on and rode his horse into the water, before we knew it he was submerged and Mark and his horse were fully swimming, it was actually an amazing thing to witness.
“Next groups up”, ah man.
I took a helmet and picked the friendliest looking horse I could find and attempted to jump on. For some reason I thought jumping on would be a movie moment like John Wayne in an old western, however my attempt was more of a Mr Bean comedy moment, with a little bit of a push I was mounted.
I instantly felt uneasy, but everyone else had raved about how much fun they had just had, so I sucked it up and began the trot with the rest of the group. We headed through some woods and trotted in a line one by one, up down I bobbed, I held the reigns and felt my confidence grow.
The beauty of our surroundings made me forget all about my previous fears and as I watched the sun setting slowly I felt as if I were in paradise, then something happened, something that could only happen to me, my horse decided he didn’t like the route we were following and walked directly through the thorn bushes, awesome, I’d chosen the rebel.
A few cuts and scratches later we rejoined the path and continued on to our next hurdle, a small river. As everyone trotted through it with ease, again a moment which could only happen to me, my horse decided not to walk straight ahead, but to walk down the river and as it got deeper and deeper I feared for the safety of me and my camera equipment, I somehow managed, and I have no recollection now due to the sheer panic, to get my horse back to the path without injury or water damage, success.
I admit, it was comedy gold, everyone found it hilarious so I laughed it off and continued ahead. I was enjoying myself regardless of my rebel horse but the horse trekking had come to an end and after a steep incline we were back at the centre and disembarking our horses. I’d had an awesome time and would highly recommend it to anyone.