Pakiri Beach Horse Rides

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Sharley Haddon has a horse to suit any rider. The mostly part-bred trekkers range from thoroughbred to appaloosa, from the tiny Timor to the mighty Clydesdale. But of her 87 horses, 27 are Arabians that she has bred and broken herself.

Her passion for the breed has led her to travel through Iran and along the Silk Road. In 1980 it was this expensive interest that prompted her late husband, Laly, to say that the horses had to start paying their own way.

Back then, says Haddon, there was a huge depression in the rural sector and the family beef and sheep farm – now owned and run by her son – was not coping. They needed to diversify. With two fat ponies in the paddock, they started out offering rides for $10 an hour.

Nowadays you can ride for one or two hours, half a day, or a full day. The full day includes a picnic lunch; otherwise you can buy breakfast or lunch from the licensed café, with tables among a mini tropical glade.

The rides run through Maori land known as the Rohe of Te Kiri – the territory of the chieftain Te Kiri – and include cultural history. You can even ride on the Warrior Trail and stay a night at the marae in Leigh, or there are three and five-day treks, including a coast to coast trek.

On school holidays, kids can sign up for a five-day holiday camp. As well as riding, they’ll learn about bonding, feeding, grooming and cleaning tack.

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Sharley also caters to special occasions: you can use her horses for a wedding photo, or create the perfect setting for a proposal.

Pakiri Beach Horse Rides  |  www.horseride-nz.co.nz  | T: 09 422 6275