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Giving the gift of: Horse Riding

Miss 10 is mad on horses – which is unfortunate given we live in the middle of a big city. So as part of my commitment to #givepresence instead of presents I decided the perfect experience to give her for her 10th birthday would be a horse riding experience.

Where we went

I chose Horse Riding Auckland for our experience. They offered a few different options most attractive of which was the opportunity for a mini-trek around their farm. They were also really easy to deal with, responding quickly to my request with all the information I needed.

What we did

I opted for a ½ hour horse riding lesson for all three kids, then a ½ hour mini-trek around the farm for Miss 10 who is a more experienced rider. Total cost was $135 which I thought was pretty reasonable for a private booking.

How it went


The kids quickly learned enough skills to take the reins.

The horses were saddled and ready to go when we arrived which meant we could get straight into it without any mucking around. The kids were fitted with helmets and given a safety talk before being introduced to their trusty steeds – Little Dude, Ben and Ariana.

We were hosted by Eloise, who pretty quickly (and accurately!) sussed out the personalities of my kids and matched them to both the horses and the instructors to make sure they got the most out of their experience.

Eloise taught the kids basic riding skills – weaving through chicanes, over obstacles and up and down a hill – and before their lesson was up all three kids were taking the reigns (with an instructor staying very close by).

Only Miss 10 was booked on the mini-trek – in hindsight I should have booked the two younger kids in as well as by the time they’d finished their lesson they were certainly up for it. The mini-trek involved a ride around the other farm paddocks and while an instructor went with Miss 10 on foot, she was able to take the reins.

While Miss 10 was on her trek Eloise and her team were happy to introduce us to the other horses – including a particularly beautiful ex-racehorse call Zen which I have my eye on riding if we ever go back (and I’m pretty sure we will).

What I’d recommend

All in all, a great experience – easy to organise, and well-priced as far as horse riding goes. Eloise and her team ensured the kids had a great time, and even got everyone – kids and their horses – lined up for a photo at the end of the lesson. The kids had a ball – even my hard-to-impress Miss 10. We will definitely be back.

What to take

Make sure the kids wear long, plain pants or leggings and closed toe shoes or gumboots.

Adults can ride too – so book yourself in as well. I wish I had!

Don’t forget to pay your tolls for the Northern Gateway – you can do it in advance here.


    • And you did! Glad the weather came to the party, after all our educated guess work. Was lovely to meet you all today, Annamarie. Hope Ruben enjoyed his experience. He looked like he took to it like a duck to water! And you looked right at home, back in the saddle. You might just be galloping around the paddock in no time! Although a certain someone seemed to put on a invisibility cloak after the mention of a pony ride. He would have looked fabulous on little Dude. Although it might have been a little like driving a Flintstone car, with his feet peddling on the ground lol.

      Also thanks to Polly for the great articles. I have really enjoyed browsing through. After realising how long it has taken me to finally sit down to a good read, it looks like you may have inspired Eloise Unsaturated and I have hopped on the cruise ship! Looking forward to the journey 🙂


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