Experienced owner Jenny Davies greets us and we’re kitted out with very clean gloves, boots, vests and helmets.
I’ve ridden about 10 times – afraid of spiders but not horses for some reason.
All the horses appear healthy and well-cared for. Our guide Olivia Mathews from England has grown up with horses all her life. Mine’s Wilson – ironic as that’s my husband’s name. He’s gorgeous – the horse, that is.
My two girls are nervous but coping well. Jesse’s on Toby and Charlie rides Harry, the movie star who’s been in films.
We start with a sedate walk on the road. Mathews gives us lots of information about Glenorchy (more horses than people) and local history.
The horses jostle to their preferred pecking order which has very little to do with what we want. We all pull up and Olivia talks the kids through a trot – we all start trotting at the same time.
The kids bounce all over the place holding onto the mane with their legs flapping about. I’m trying not to bounce too much knowing I’ll feel the ill effects afterwards. The kids gain in confidence.
The scenery is breath-taking with magnificent mountain and lake views. Mathews is friendly, knowledgeable and excellent with the girls.
I rejoin the group, who’ve stopped, and I’m barrelling in at speed, prompting a few squeals from the girls. I’m asked to come in a little slower next time. I was trying to … I did point out I had very little control. I don’t care if I have to hold onto nasal hair – I’m not falling off. I’m in love with Wilson, and only have to say ‘Come on’ and he’s off.
When we dismount it’s amazing how old you can feel. We all stagger around like stiff drunks until our legs get used to walking again.
The trek was brilliant. We’d all do it again in a heartbeat.
All you need to know
What; Dart Stables River Wild Horse Trek
Where: Dart Stables, Glenorchy
Cost: $149 (with transport from Queenstown), $129 (self-drive).
$77 special on 20th of each month (self-drive)
Book it: 442 5688
Thrill-ometer: 10 out of 10 when holding on for dear life during a gallop with little control.