Whilst I was in New Zealand I decided to treat myself to a horsey experience like no other in a mystical place called Glenorchy, just a 45 minute car ride from Queenstown.
I had some time to kill because I wasn’t working in New Zealand and I had booked to fly home that evening. Today was the only day they could do The Trilogy Loop (the advanced ride) at Dart Stables in Glenorchy because of the rainy summer weather Queenstown had been experiencing.
Glenorchy is world famous for its middle-earth scenery, filmed for The Lord of the Rings movies. Many riders come here because they’re massive film buffs but I just wanted to see the gorgeous scenery on horse-back.
And gorgeous it is! The ride takes you through glacial-fed river crossings that come up to the horse’s waists, offers spectacular scenery at the head of Lake Wakatipu and allows you many chances to canter astride steady, careful horses that also have a bit of go!
I was lucky to be part of a small group of just 5 advanced riders and their horses, including the lead, who was confident in our abilities and who allowed us free rein (!) along the tracks. Any horse riders know how annoying it is to be slowed down by people who aren’t confident, so it was thrilling to be able to go without worrying about who is bringing up the rear.
The loop takes about 2 1/2 hours return and I was put on a gorgeous warmblood x named ‘Big’. He was a real sweetie and honestly didn’t put a foot wrong. For these horses, the path is obviously well trodden as they know exactly where to put their feet, and where they’re supposed to be turning next. It was so wonderful to be back in the saddle again though and I couldn’t help laughing with joy as Big’s thundering stride ate up the ground beneath me whilst I took in the incredible views I was surrounded by.
I chose to get picked up from Queenstown for my ride seeing as I didn’t have any transport, but there is of course a self-drive option which is cheaper. The drive is almost as magical as the ride itself, with the road hugging Lake Wakatipu almost the entire way. The town of Glenorchy is definitely rustic living however with Dart stables itself really being in the middle of nowhere with no luxurious facilities. It’s hard to believe a business operates out of these hills with little to no cell service and such temperamental weather, but this place is just magical!