Our Mission Statement
Our mission is to be one of the leading riding centres in New Zealand catering for and encouraging riders of all levels, from first timers to those who wish to pursue a competitive career or those who just ride for pleasure. With a strict focus on safety first which goes hand-in-hand with enjoyment of the activity, we want to offer a relaxed and friendly learning environment. This will enable us to maintain and grow a profitable business capable of offering a number of employment opportunities.
To achieve this we are committed to supporting local supplier products where possible (which includes environmentally friendly products that we can reasonably source) as well as extending our social and community relations through regular participation in local community group gatherings, social media presence, and networking with other local tourism operators.
Owner / Instructor
Hi I’m Erika. I had my first horse when I was 17 and taught myself how to ride. I gave up riding for 20 years and once I got back into it I never looked back. My passion is dressage and teaching both youngsters and adults how to ride. My role is one of managing the horses, staff and helpers as well as marketing and administration, but mostly instructing. It has always been my dream to own and manage a riding centre like this and I am so happy and proud of our achievements here. My greatest pleasure is to see the smiles on peoples’ faces during and after their rides, whether they be treks or riding lessons.
Guest Coach / Mentor
Hi I’m Jean Harris, I have worked with Erika for many years now both as her personal coach and also with the School Holiday Riding Program. I have had many years training and teaching in England and France and I have also worked some years in Austria for Johanne Riegler of the Spanish Riding School. My passion is Dressage however I can also coach in Show Jumping and Cross Country.
Stable Manager / Instructor
Hello, my name is Amelie. I was born and raised in the Netherlands where I have lived for most of the last 46 years. I have recently moved to New Zealand with my husband and 11 year old son. I started horse riding when I was 8 years old and have never stopped. I have done jumping, volting, dressage, trail riding, western riding and over the past 7 years I have been involved in carriage driving competitions. I am certified in natural horsemanship, gymnastic work for dressage horses and am an equine acupressure practitioner. I can truly say that horses are my life. What I love most about them is the way they communicate with us and just how very good they are at letting us know what they need from us. That’s why I am feeling very privileged to work with Erika and her horses, they are raised and trained in the most honest and uncomplicated way.
I have known Erika for 20 years now, as I was her very first Wwoofer, and I just had to come back for more. Whilst here, I fell in love with the place, the people and the country and now I’m living the dream.
I hope to meet you soon!
Trek Guide / stable hand / Instructor in training
Hi, my name is Nina and I am one of the stable hands and trek guides at WRRC. I have ridden at Waimak since I was young so I am a riding student turned staff member! I was 4 years old when I had my first pony ride on Freeman and have stuck around ever since. Erika taught me for the larger majority of my time in the riding school and I have also been taught by Jean in the past. I also did the riding school holiday programme, it is really cool for me to be on the other side now as a staff member being able to help the kids with their riding and skills with horses. Having known the team for so long and spending most of my weekends growing up with the horses, WRRC feels like a bit of a second home to me and I am very grateful to call it my current workplace. Spending time with the trek horses is definitely one of my favourite parts of the job, especially with Thomas who is my favourite. I also really enjoy being a trek guide and being able to show people how awesome our horses are! I have done some trekking overseas and found it was very different to what I know at WRRC, I love the trust we have here between our staff and trek horses and the way we all love our jobs.
Social Media communicator / Trek guide / stable hand
Hey, I’m Sarah! I am the face behind most of our social media. Although you might catch me out on the farm as I also work as a stable hand and trek guide from time to time.
The first time I came out to WRRC was a decade ago for the school holiday riding programme. My first ride was on Nipper and he quickly became my favourite, I was even dubbed Nipperina. From then on I took regular lessons with Erika, attended the holiday programme regularly and began leasing. I was lucky enough to lease Higgs and Magic, it is definitely a super cool opportunity and I highly recommend it!
I dabble in various areas for work, but my main title would be a dance teacher! I spend most of my time either teaching or training. My latest achievement is completing a Bachelor in Applied Science, specialising in Human Nutrition. I’m very excited to be part of the team and can’t wait to be seeing you all soon!
Trek Guide / Volunteer
Hey! I’m Paige. I’m a classic kiwi girl originating from the deep south of the south Island. I’ve been riding since I could walk and I’ve always loved horses. My favourite horse is Chip and you can usually find me giving him all of my attention. I was a full time employee prior to the earthquakes but I am currently a volunteer and I work a few days a week taking out treks. Now I live in Lyttleton and I focus on my paintings which is my second passion besides horses, of course!
Trek Guide / Stable hand / Instructor in training
Growing up in Budapest Hungary I never had the opportunity to be with horses or ride. I started riding, when I was 12 years old, after we moved here 10 years ago. I graduated high school in 2015 and enrolled at Ara Institute of Canterbury to study Vet Nursing in 2016 to 2018. During this time, I experienced working with cats, dogs, rabbits, and birds of all shapes and sizes! Despite learning interesting things about our furry little friends, I have decided that my true passion lies with horses.
This led me to a summer job at a stud farm where I worked with broodmares, foals and Stallions. This was amazing as there is nothing cuter than baby horses!
I joined Waimak River Riding Centre last spring as a volunteer member. Since then, I have been employed full time and have been enjoying my role as a stable hand and trek guide.
In my spare time I love to hang out with friends, going out for dinner, shopping, grabbing a cup of coffee and off course riding my own horse Kaitlyn!
Trek Guide / Stable hand / Instructor in training
iya my name is Sacha! I was born in Russia but moved to New Zealand when I was 6, I found my passion for horses after I sat on a miniature pony at a school fair and then tried to persuade my mother that we could keep him….and he would sleep in my room….under my bed, but to my disappointment she said no, so I decided at the age of 17 that I would work alongside them instead and ever since then I have expanded my knowledge about the care and safety of horses through studying and working at different Riding schools.
My two dogs and three cats currently have all of my attention, I love food and my sleep ins!
I am super excited to be working at WRRC alongside an awesome team, so don’t be afraid to come say hi, you will usually find me with gumboots on my feet that have shoelaces in them, don’t ask why because they have no purpose they just look cool!