The last time I rode a horse was when I was about 10. I decided to experience it again by going riding in Golden Bay with Golden Bay Horse Riding. It’s rather complicated to get to by bus, but the number 44 or 225 go there and you get off at Golden Bay. You then have to walk down the long road behind the bus stop following the sign to Golden Bay Horse Riding. If you wish to go by car, the stables have a big yard you can park in.
The minute I walked into the stables that familiar horsy smell came back to me and my childhood memories all came back. There were all sorts of horses, all beautiful, some brown, some white and one particular one which was magnificent belonging to the boss, which was a light coffee colour.
We went over the basics and got our helmets on and mounted the horses. Mine was really eager to go as it was running it’s front hoof across the floor. I think it was probably irritated by the flies too.
The first few steps I felt a bit unbalanced, but I soon got the hang of it. There were about 12 others riders including two of the stable workers, so the beginners had plenty of support.
We set off up into the hills behind the Golden Sands and into the setting sun. The horses were all really calm and you could see they were enjoying the walk as were the riders. The view was amazing and there was a breeze which took away the heat.
The sunset walk lasts 90 minutes, which goes by so quickly. We walked across the rocky hills which are entirely deserted except for a couple of walkers and got a great view over what seemed like all the north of the island. The one disappointing thing is you don’t get to trot or run with the horses. All I wanted to do was gallop through the hills at top speed with the wind in my hair. It was certainly the place for it!
After turning round, we made our way back and the sky was a beautiful orange colour. The horses became more mischievous as the ride went on, making the most of their rider gazing into the distance to pick at some sweet grass they seemed to love. So I had to tug on my reins a few times so I wouldn’t lose the group. A few riders got bushes in their faces too because they forgot how high up they were on the horse. It was all rather funny!