Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It's still all about horses!

(Now with the trip over, I've arranged the posts in chronological order.)
January 9th, 2011
I arrived in New Zealand on New Year’s Eve.  A long and un-eventful three plane trip with 20 hours in the air and 10 hours in layover time. I watched the New Zealand film "Boy" on the plane. I recommend it.
The view from the farm.

I'm staying on a farm owned by Brian and Marianna Hayworth near a small town called KatiKati.  We're about two hours drive south of Auckland, the biggest city in New Zealand.  From the farm we look out from the coastline to the east to the mountains to the west.  It's a beautiful location.

I kinda figured that Marianna and Brian would be great people to work for.  Our emails gave me that impression and I’m totally right.  They, and their two sons who are at home are delightful people.  They have a “Home Stay” (Hostel) and Marianna runs a horse program that includes lessons and treks.  I’ve already been involved with both. 

There are seven horses here…all good looking and well behaved.  I’ve ridden three. So far and my favorites are Freedom (on the right), a beautiful pinto with gaits similar to a Tennessee Walker and my most favorite, Snoopy, a very well behaved and smooth gaited bay mare.  I seem to have great luck with bays.

I live in an old (but clean) caravan right next to one of the paddock, so at times I hear horses from my bed…just like in South Africa last summer/winter.  The caravan is right behind their “Home Stay” lodging with includes two bedrooms and a lounge/kitchen which volunteers use as well as guests.  Currently there is another volunteer, Marika, a woman from the Netherlands who also has great horse experience.  We’re having fun working together.

Snoopy and I explore the farm country.

I’ve been riding several times…taking out some guests the other day and fun rides with Markita and Marianna. We can start rides right across the road with trails in the forest that connect to the farm country.  There’s a  lovely stream about ¼ mile down the trail and it’s large enough to swim a horse.

There are beautiful flowers everywhere
Marianna organizes treks, inviting local horse folks for wonderful rides. She calls it "Horses for Fun."

My first trek was to the beach.  For this trek we trucked/trailered our horses to the meeting place on the beach.  There were about 25 people on this ride.

Our group heads out on the Beach

The forest come right up to the coast line.

We also headed inland.  The area has many of these windbreaks. 
 I thought they were really old, but in NZ, thing grow very quickly
 so these were only maybe 30 years old.

Lunch Break before swimming
Marianna swimming on Snoopy!

The second trek was to the south of the “Home Stay” into the farm country.  The pictures speak for the beauty that is all around us.

The farm country around where I live.

An old rural "post office"
The third trek was up into the hills. This was the funnest ride so far. Again, there were about 25 people and the guide for this trek upstaged me by being 79 years old! The vast open spaces are SO beautiful.  The pictures say it even better….
Getting ready for the trek.

Heading out

This beautiful fir tree is only  50 or so years old. 
I found that hard to believe, but that's what the locals told me!



30 years ago, I met a fellow, Paul Gillingwater from New Zealand while I was working for the Krotona Institute in Ojai, California.  Paul and I, along with another fellow, Craig Burkus had great fun hanging out together. So when I decided to come to NZ, I was able to track Paul down.  He and his wife now live in Vienna and both work for the United Nations there. 
View of the Auckland Bridge from the (hopefully) dormant volcano cone.

But as fortune would have it, he was here for the Holidays and we met in Auckland for a great reunion.  They were staying at the Theosophical Society headquarters in Auckland…a lovely old building quite near to downtown.  In fact I’m going to stay there as I leave New Zealand at the end of February.

I’m feeling pretty lucky (again)…I’ve found myself a great place for another adventure.


  1. Great story, glad you like it here!! More adventures to come while you are here.....
    Cheers, Marianna.

  2. Thank you, thank you! The post is wonderful and the pictures say it all. Continue to enjoy yourself and I will continue to follow along :) Love, Tricie

  3. David, your journeys are my dreams. I love what you are doing, and your photos are beautiful - that place is beautiful! Have a wonderful time.

  4. I love to follow you on your blog! The pictures are great and I can't imagine what it looks like in real life.
    It sounds like your having the best of times!
    I did see that you made a misstake though... It says you're 79 years old and that must be wrong!
    Love Maria

  5. wow really nice view i wish i can practice horse riding and my horse riding techniques in a place like that.