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Fantastic Horse Riding Holiday New Zealand

This listing has the most popular offer available in New Zealand

Having operated a trekking business for a number of years, one thing River Valley has noticed is the desire amongst many of their riders for more knowledge. More knowledge in particular about how to work with their horse for a more enjoyable experience for both rider and mount. This holiday is an experience where you can get to know your horse, bond with it, and feel your confidence and enjoyment improve as you explore the new countryside and undertake rides that have greater levels of challenge. Mix your time spent in the arena or exploring the countryside with accommodation at River Valley Lodge in a deluxe guest room, add some great country style meals, pick a wine from the selection, and you have the makings of a great break away.

Key information

  • Rider weight limit: 100 kilograms / 220 pounds
  • Our rides are only suitable for riders with some previous riding experience. You must be confident riding at all paces outside of an arena.
  • Tack type: Western and English tack available
  • Horse breed: A mix of horses

Meet the instructors

Read more


  • 2 riding days (extra days available as an add on)
  • Horses are trained using natural horsemanship techniques
  • Horses are ridden freestyle - no metal on the horses, bits or shoes
  • A tailored package to suit you depending on what you would like to learn
  • Arena sessions, natural horsemanship, and groundwork with rides to the countryside
  • Riding equipment provided (helmet, chaps, oilskin jackets)
  • 2 nights accommodation with all meals included
  • Free use of saunas and hot tub at the lodge

Skill level

  • Intermediate
  • Advanced


2 days with instruction
Group size: Maximum of 5 participants
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Check-in Time:
Check-out Time:


  • Hot tub / Jacuzzi
  • Sauna
  • Table tennis
  • Volleyball court
  • Bar
  • Café
  • Dining area
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Fireplace
  • Garden
  • Kitchen
  • Lounge
  • Picnic area
  • Restaurant
  • Terrace
  • Conference room
  • Free parking
  • Internet access
  • Laundry
  • Parking lot
  • Wireless internet

Are you one of those people who value getting away from the tourist hubs? Then maybe River Valley Lodge is for you. River Valley Lodge is an adventure lodge which highly values getting out on both the river and land, exploring, experiencing, normally by raft or horseback.

Deluxe ensuite room

Enjoy a high standard of comfort after your day of adventure! Each deluxe room features its own unique decor. All the bathrooms have underfloor heating and are tiled in a unique, distinctive pattern reflecting the local environment. Each of the guest rooms can be made as either a double or twin. The deluxe rooms have tea and coffee making facilities, free wireless internet, and free use of the spa facilities. The lodge itself is in an area that does not have cellphone coverage, ensuring a strong dose of peace and quiet.



Day 1

Arrive and check in anytime from 3:00 p.m. Enjoy a three-course dinner served in the main lodge.

Day 2

Have breakfast at the lodge, before heading up to the stables around 9:00 a.m. Spend the day riding or working with the horses and return to the lodge around 3:00 p.m. Lunch is included. Then, relax for a while, use the spa, and enjoy another three-course dinner at the lodge.

Day 3

Have breakfast at the lodge. Check out of your room before you head up to the stables again for your second day of riding. The riding will finish around 3:00 p.m. After this, you can either head home or opt to stay and add on some additional days.

The rides

Your riding experience starts off with a couple of hours in the saddle on the first morning. During this time, your stables guide will have a chance to assess your riding ability and to match you with the appropriate horse for the duration of your stay. That afternoon, you will spend time learning about natural horsemanship techniques and how you can apply them.

The second day is an exploring day, putting into practice some of the natural horse training techniques you learned the previous afternoon while taking in some of the magnificent scenery in our area, the hill country of the northern Rangitikei District. Riding will finish up at about 3:00 p.m. allowing you time to return home if staying only two days.

Riding ability

This horse riding holiday is suitable for beginner to advanced riders but not first timers.

How to define riders riding ability?

River Valley Lodge team takes a fairly broad view on defining someones riding ability. However, it is important that people are as honest as possible about their level of ability.

It is also important to note that their horses are trained using natural horse training techniques, which is in many ways quite different from traditional English style riding. On occasion, even experienced riders have found this transition difficult, whereas beginner or intermediate riders have not. A Home on the Range holiday is suitable for any riders who consider themselves intermediate-advanced using the ability guide below. This is not a suitable riding holiday for first time riders.

Riding ability categories

  • Intermediate – confident and in control on a moving horse at all paces outside an arena, but not riding regularly.
  • Strong intermediate – an intermediate rider who is currently riding regularly (outside an arena) and is comfortable in the saddle for at least six hours per day.
  • Advanced – a frequent rider who is very fit, has an independent seat and soft hands, and is confident on a forward-moving horse at all paces over rough and variable ground on open terrain.


Nicola Megaw


River Valley is situated in the Rangitikei District of the North Island of New Zealand. It is near the central North Island town of Taihape. River Valley Lodge is the ideal place to break a journey from the Rotorua/Taupo area, to Wellington, being about halfway between.


  • Napier/Hawkes Bay - 2 hours
  • Palmerston North - 2 hours
  • Whanganui - 2 hours



  • Hiking
  • Horse riding
  • Hot tub / Jacuzzi
  • Massage
  • Sauna
  • Spa


  • Bar
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Garden
  • Restaurant
  • River
  • Special menu request


  • Internet access
  • Room cleaning
  • Toiletries
  • Tour assistance


This Home On The Range package includes:

  • 2x three-course dinners
  • 2x lunches (either packed or at the lodge)
  • 2x breakfasts (choose from the menu)

There are vegetarian options available with all meals. However, it is advisable that you let River Valley Lodge know in advance of any specific dietary requirements so the kitchen can prepare the appropriate meals. The lodge does maintain a large onsite vegetable garden from which a great deal of fresh summer produce is sourced.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The following drinks are included:

  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Soda

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Gluten Free
  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

For those wanting to stay longer than the minimum two days, additional days can be added at a discounted rate. Each subsequent day will be a mix of working with your horse in the arena, trekking over the surrounding hill country, and of course, relaxing when you need a break. The price of the extra day includes another night in deluxe ensuite accommodation, a three-course dinner, breakfast, and your day of riding. Please send an inquiry for further details.

Spa treatments

Your stay in deluxe ensuite rooms comes with complimentary use of the spa. This includes a hot tub, wood-fired sauna, and infra red sauna.

What's included

  • 2 riding days including both trekking and learning basic natural horsemanship techniques
  • 2 nights accommodation in a Garden or Riverside Deluxe guest room with own bathroom
  • Cooked breakfast each morning
  • 3-course dinner each night including the night of arrival
  • Trekkers lunch each day
  • Free use of saunas and hot tub
  • Use of riding boots, helmet, leather chaps, and long oilskin riding coats for changeable weather

What's not included

  • Additional days
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Transport to/from River Valley Lodge

How to get there

Driving directions

If you are using a GPS then the lodge's coordinates are South 39°37-800 East 176°02-583. However, using GPS is not recommended as it does not take you on the easiest route.

If you are traveling south, turn left at the River Valley signpost, 18 kilometers after Waiouru.

If you are traveling north, use the Gretna Hotel in Taihape as your starting point, with the Gretna Hotel on your left. A 32-kilometer drive will last around 35 minutes after taking you through some of New Zealand’s finest and most picturesque hill country. Please follow the regular signs to River Valley.

After turning off State Highway 1, you will cross two bridges coming from Waiouru, and three bridges coming from Taihape. The last 1.5 kilometers are gravel and take you to the lodge at the end of Mangahoata Road.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 30% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
Quality of activity
3 days / 2 nights
from --

The minimum stay is two days and additional days can be added at a discounted rate. Each subsequent day will be a mix of working with your horse in the arena, trekking over the surrounding hill country, and of course, relaxing when you need a break. 


This tour is available from November 1 to April 3oth. The stables are closed outside of these dates to give the horses a break and to avoid the wet, slippery slopes over winter.



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