Our trek horses are seasoned veterans. Many of them have been doing these treks for more than 10 years and are accustomed to riders of all ages, levels of ability and experience. The information we ask you to supply prior to your trek is to help us match you with the right horse. For example, some horses are more sensitive to weight or need a more experienced rider. Don’t forget to give your horse lots of pats during and after the trek!
Cute aren’t I. I was born into the harness racing industry but never actually raced. My racing name was Mecca Royale and I am now 23 years young (born 19/9/1997). I am the matriarch – top mare of the herd of trekkers here at WRRC. So alongside my other half Bill as well as Tonne to keep everyone in line making me seem a bit bossy, but I really do know best! When it comes to trekking I am also the very best at my job and have taken people of all ages from 5 to 85 for treks being one of the most sensible horses on the team. While with clients I am hoof-perfect, when I get the opportunity to go out with the staff I love to go fast – my owner calls me her “pocket rocket”. One of my favourite snacks is the Willow leaf and luckily for me there are about a gazillion Willow trees in the trekking area but I don’t have to stop I just break off a bit and munch as I go – yes even equine females are good at multitasking!
Sharing my birthday (born 16/11/2002), with my friend Nimo, I am 18 years old and my racing name was Talkative High (probably why they called me Dory). As an ex-harness racer I started 105 times, the most out of any of the other trek horses at WRRC. I only won 2 races though, so obviously I wasn’t quite cut out to be a champion. But I certainly feel like one here at WRRC as the staff often refer to me as the golden girl or the natural trekker. Maybe it is because I am very calm and have a super temperament and therefore often take children as well as adults for treks. But that doesn’t make me a slug oh no! I love to get the job done efficiently and effectively and can be quite a speedy walker like most of the mares at WRRC. When given the chance I love to go for a good gallop (not allowed in harness racing), so please people just let me have a good hoon before asking me to slow down, I guess it’s my inner racehorse coming back out!
Twenty years ago a beautiful lady who was woofing at what was then Waimak River Horse Treks came with one of the owners to look at buying me. She fell in love with me then and insisted that the owners bought me so here I have been for the last 20 years. Born 11/12/1995) my racing career was very short lived in fact I never did get entered. Unlike most race horses I never got a fancy racing name, mine was ‘Jag’ which is still my name today! I absolutely love being a trek horse and regularly wait at the gate to make sure I get chosen to go out, sometimes if I don’t get chosen I try to sneak out the open gate when no one’s looking! When I go out on treks I am normally the leading guide horse as I am a natural leader and get a bit frustrated behind slow walkers. My favourite part of each trek though is when we cross the Waimakariri River. I love to splash and try and get my rider soaked as well, I don’t like them missing out on the fun! The river gets a bit too cold for splashing in the Winter time though so I have a big holiday and enjoy the company of the other older horses especially Ellie, who I have had a crush on for a long time.
Aka “Sexy Rexy”
Not so sure I can live up to that name any other as I am getting a bit long in the tooth being an ex- Harness Racer and now 28 years old (born 4/12/1992) and even getting a bit grey! My racing name was Almitra Star and I had 57 racing starts and had 3 wins, 7 seconds and 7 thirds. I was quite fast and I managed to make over $25,000 in winnings! However, with age I have gotten a bit slower and am now living the good life relaxing in the paddock with my best mate Harry. I still like to boss the younger horses around though and remind them to respect their elders, I look a little silly though as my tongue hangs out of my mouth most of the time as I am missing some front teeth. Even though my racing days are over I still like to canter over when fresh hay is brought in to make sure I get the best piece! When I do come out for the occasional trek it’s always a good day and I love to be brushed and cuddled by the staff and clients at WRRC.
Aka “Bilbo Baggins”
Hello my name is Bill and I’m a trek horse at WRRC! I am 23 years old (born 12/01/1997) and am a Standardbred who used to be a harness racer. I raced down South and only had 9 racing starts as my racing career was cut short as I broke one of my back legs, luckily I recovered and am now happy and healthy. It isn’t uncommon for racehorses to get injuries like mine but I am definitely super lucky to have recovered! My racing name was ‘Sir Miles’, but these days I am known as the ladies man of the paddock as I always share my hay with the girls in my paddock, Ace and Dory. Being a trek horse is a lot of fun and over the years I have taken people of all ages and backgrounds for treks, but now as I am getting a bit older I get to have a big holiday every Winter with some of the other semi-retired horses. This gives me plenty of time to fulfill my other job as one of the top horses in our paddock’s pecking order. Meaning I get to boss everyone around and make sure I get the best patches of grass to eat!
Aka “Fleur de Lis” (Lily)
An ex-harness racer my racing name was Consider Me Now and I am one of the younger trek horses at WRRC at only 11 years old (born 22/11/2009 ). I had a bit of a rough time in the racing industry even though I only raced a handful of times. While I was racing I was tongue tied, meaning my tongue was tied to my bottom jaw to supposedly give my driver more control over me. Consequently, I really don’t like having a bit in my mouth so I am ridden in a bitless bridle by the staff and clients. It took some time for me to trust people touching and petting my face and brushing my gorgeous long mane. Now I feel right at home and am an enthusiastic trekker always neighing at the staff to pick me. I don’t mess around on the trails walking super fast and get quite excited at the river, I would splash all day long if they let me. I have even been found in the big round water trough on a hot day to playing with the water! Being quite sassy and a little bit bossy and I try to tell the older horses what to do which doesn’t always end well (for me, that is!).
As the newest trek horse to the team I am still in training, but took out my very first client not long ago. My racing name was Mon Richie and I managed to scrape together around $23,000 dollars in winnings. My racing days are over now however, and I am currently 9 years old (born 31/8/2011). Although originally named moose, Stan the owner’s late husband dubbed me bug because he said I was like termite eating all the wood and the name stuck! That dietary imbalance has definitely been resolved so I am much happier now! I am still learning the ropes of trekking as I can be a bit stubborn sometimes but I am definitely loving the change of lifestyle! When I first saw the river I had to be led in as I was quite nervous but now I love the water and love to strut through the Waimak. I have had some other interesting experiences out trekking so far, including when a fantail landed on my bum, luckily I had a staff member with me to remind me everything was okay! I enjoy the company of people and love attention and cuddles, luckily I get plenty of that now that I am at WRRC.
Aka “Rocky Balboa” (boxing fame!)
Born on 27/12/2000, Almost a Christmas baby and at 20 years young I am considered one of the young guns. In the racing industry I was called Shakem, and even though I qualified I never actually competed, the staff at WRRC reckon it’s because I was too slow, but they all love my canter! However out trekking I sometimes have to be reminded to keep up with the others I’m a bit of a dawdler taking in the beautiful sights, smiles and especially the grass in the trekking area. While I was racing I wore something called a bearing rein which fixed my head in a certain position meaning I head to hold my head up all the time. Over time this has resulted in me sticking my head out to the side with my mouth open especially when I go up hills, some things that we experience as race horses we just don’t forget sadly. I have a big personality and one of my favorite things in the world is food! While the other horses may wait patiently, if I run out of hay while I’m waiting to go out for a trek I squeal and squirm until someone brings me more! Another great part of being a trek horse is going down to the river in which I enjoy a good splash on most warm days!
Aka “Jelly Bean”
The daintiest little trek horse at WRRC. I am also an ex-Standardbred Harness Racer. I am now 26 years old (born 15/11/1994) and my racing name was ‘Kelly’s Trickster’. I only raced twice in my career and placed 12th in both of them, clearly, I wasn’t made to be a racehorse! But I have found the best job ever since I love being a trek horse and everyone tells me I do a fantastic job. My favourite clients are children – they don’t weigh very much and even if they are a bit frightened I always look after them. It’s great because I am like a big kid, I love to have fun and am a speedy walker who is always ‘on a mission’. However, being little means I always get much wetter in the river than my taller friends, so going swimming is always a good adventure! Now that I am older I’m not working quite as much as I used to, and the best part is that I get special food made for older horses which I really love!
Aka “Harry Potter”
To look at me you wouldn’t think I am the oldest trek horse at WRRC, being 28 years old (30/10/1992), beating my best mate Rex by one month! I was born into the Harness Racing Industry, and was known by the name ‘Even Handed’ when I raced, which was only 3 times; “apparently” I wasn’t fast enough to be entered into any more races. Although I am clearly no longer racing that name seems to have had an impact on my role in the herd. The boss used to call me the “union delegate” as I really didn’t want to have to work more than 2 hours per day! Since coming here 20 years ago I became a favourite among clients and staff. Now though I spend most days relaxing in the paddock, alongside my best friend Rex. Before going out for the occasional trek I make sure to get as dirty as I possibly can by rolling in any horse or cow poo I can find, I love watching the reactions of the staff at WRRC when it’s time to start brushing me clean! In my old age I have become a bit stubborn and am an adamant slow walker even on the way home, unless we are going down to the river which is always fun time.
(Pronounced Nemo like the fish) During my short racing career (7 starts) I was known as Sharky because my father’s name was Mystical Shark! I am now 18 years old (born 8/11/2002). The staff at WRRC think I may have been drug abused while I was in the industry because my previous owner was recognized to do this, this isn’t entirely uncommon. Sometimes people will do whatever they have to, to try and make us run faster. I have done quite a bit in my life; from racing, riding lessons, to pony club and competitions, but trekking is definitely my number one job nowadays. While I may be a bit slower than some and a bit cheeky when it comes to stealing a snack on the trails I love my job and have given many clients a great trekking experience. I love to go for a good canter and often take more experienced clients for a bit of faster work. While some may expect Dory to be my best mate, Syd definitely fills that role. Syd and I are happiest in each other’s company and are often glued to each other’s side in the paddock. I am relatively low in the herd pecking order and Syd sticks up for me when the others are a bit tough on me which I am very thankful for!
Extremely handsome even if I do say so myself! I’m the one everyone wants to take home with them as I make it easy for people to ride me, but they are not dragging me away from WRRC – this is home for good! Although I am a standie I never actually raced. My racing name was Canny Dare (yes he can!) and I am now 23 years old. I arrived at WRRC from a dairy farmer in Dunsandle many years ago where I just spent my time eating as much luscious long grass I wanted and ended up quite overweight. That’s why I was named Tonne, which is German slang for beer barrel, but now I am happy and healthy! I am a true gentleman out on the trails and am very good at my job. However, in the paddock I am a bit of a dictator and have been the boss for many years, well Jag and I still have the odd disagreement about it. I take a lot of pride in my work both out on the trails and in the paddock. I have taken countless people for treks the most famous being Stan Walker, I really am the only one worthy! Water is my favorite thing to play in and adore splashing myself, my rider and all those around me. In the paddock I love to roll in the mud and during Winter I even plant my face in the mud not to mention the rest of my body gotta keep the staff warm by spending so much time and effort brushing me.
My special friend Ceridwyn has been unwell and not able to ride me for a while but still comes out to spoil me from time to time. We hope to be a team again in December…
Waimak River Court Jester
The most colorful of them all! Born and bred at WRRC 17 years ago (born 2003). My mum is the beautiful Cadbury, who I still get to see daily as she is only a few paddocks away. My full name, is Waimak River Court Jester, quite a mouthful really, but just refers to my colorful coat. Initially I was a dressage horse and competed successfully in several competitions with my owner, Erika, but due to a floating accident my career was cut short – had something to do with trying to climb out of the front window of the float – turned out not to such a great Idea after all! I am now Paige’s guide horse, living the quiet life out on the trails, which I really enjoy. Whether it is a relaxing stroll or a bit of a hoon I love heading out on the trails, going for adventures when I am not on the job and have found lots of interesting paths over the years which have now become a part of our standard trekking routes along the Waimak. I have a very smooth gait, something I still remember from my dressage days! I am quite a handsome chap, and some of the other trek horses tend to get a bit jealous of my good looks, I am a skewbald after all!
As you can see I have a beautiful Black coat, which may have something to do with my name! My arrival at WRRC was quite a surprise for me at least. I had just been to the races – came second to last and instead of being taken back to the racing stables I arrived here instead. Wow, what a different place with heaps of horses running in a herd! I was of course the new kid on the block and it took a while to sort out the pecking order, get used to someone sitting on my back and then going out on treks. Initially I didn’t do so good because I kept getting frightened of things, but my owners were clever and decided that the more often I went out the less scared I would be and they were right and I really began to love what I was doing. I soon become a client favourite as I was so reliable not to mention very handsome. Admittedly I did get a bit lazy over the years and my clients did need to ask me to walk faster as I would slip into a little daydream. In February 2020 after returning from a trek and going back into the paddock with my mates a strange thing happened. I don’t really understand it but I did something to my knee and I couldn’t put any weight on that leg. The vet was called immediately. My knee and leg were x-rayed and a fracture was discovered, I thought my days were over! The vet felt that it was in a place that could heal as well as horses bones can heal and Erika bless her soul didn’t want to give up on me, despite the fact that I am 25 years old. I am now in the tree paddock after months of bandaging, but can definitely weight bear and although it doesn’t look pretty I can get around quite quickly when I want to. We still have a long way to go with physio and trying to get my hoof right but I have put on weight and feeling much happier especially now that I have my wee mate Woody sharing the paddock with me during the day – I get to be stabled every night with a deep straw bed and as much lucerne and hay as I can eat! I get 3 hard feeds a day that are super yummy and full of all the good stuff I need to help me recover and keep my condition. So I am definitely getting the 5 star treatment! So lucky to have such a caring team around me! So if you are wondering why the horse in the tree paddock is limping now you know, but I am on the long road to recovery and happy to come and say hello and accept any treats you might want to offer.
Being the “Baby” of the team is sometimes hard the old boys and girls have been very ”helpful” in pointing me in the right direction – there is a lot to learn you know, so they think I am a slow thinker – thing is I am just taking my time to be sure I am doing it right. You do believe me?Anyway what I lack in brains I really make up for in beauty and am often referred to as one of the best looking horses on the team, which is true of course! During my very short racing career I was known as Swap Around. I am 9 years old (born 20/11/2011. On arrival at WRRC I was named Syd after Syd Barret by one of the staff. However, I seem to relate more to Syd the sloth from the movie Ice Age as I can be a bit of a slow walker .Although what I haven’t been at WRRC quite as long as everyone else, I have slowly established my place in the pecking order as I have learnt to relax. My best mate is definitely Nimo and we can always be found together in the paddock and are happiest in each other’s company out trekking.
Aka “The Tank Engine”
Not because I’m sooo cute (although some would argue that I am) but the biggest trek horse and Standardbred at WRRC standing at 17hh. I was born into the harness racing industry and my racing name was American Peaks and I am 17 years old (born 23/09/2003). I only ever raced one time and I was the favourite to win! Weighing in at around 700 kilos and having super long legs everyone thought I would have been a super star, unfortunately I didn’t quite understand the idea of racing and kind of ran in the wrong direction and ended up coming 3rd to last. So my racing career was kind of over before it had even begun. Luckily for me I ended up at WRRC, and the staff, especially Nina, who is my number one fan often compare me to a dog as I love scratches and put pretty much anything in my mouth from lead ropes to snacks left unattended, it’s not my fault they’re not watching their stuff! I am pretty brave on the trails and in the paddock and I would love to be the leader of the herd but Tonne and Bill have repeatedly told me they don’t feel like sharing that role. According to them I am still a new kid on the block!