Frequently Asked Questions

about horse riding or rafting in NZ

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Frequently Asked Questions about horse riding or rafting in NZ 2017-06-06T02:55:34+00:00

Questions and Answers

You may have questions about taking part in a River Valley experience, and cannot find the answer elsewhere on our website.

These questions may be of a technical nature, or they may simply be some concerns that you may have about booking an experience with River Valley that you need answered in order to put your mind at ease.

This page is for you, as it could be the question you are asking has also been asked by someone else.

If you still do not find the answer here, then email our team at reception and they will find an answer for you.

Fitness and Experience Required for Rafting

How fit do I need to be to take part in a Grade 5 rafting trip?

Average fitness is all that is required for someone to take part in a Grade 5 rafting trip. Enthusiasm is a critical component, with a willingness to listen to and adhere to a guides instructions.

 

Going in for a surf in Pop Up Rapid during a Grade 5 rafting trip.

Do I need prior rafting experience before going a Grade 5 rafting trip?

Prior rafting experience is not required before going on a Grade 5 rafting trip with River Valley. What is important is an average level of fitness and plenty of enthusiasm.

This enthusiasm is best described as a willingness to listen to and respond to your guides commands.

You do need to realise that a Grade 5 rafting trip is not some sort of fairground or amusement park ride. The unexpected can and does happen.

Janey and crew running the last drop in Foamy Rapid on a Grade 5 rafting trip on the Rangitikei River, NZ

Riding Ability and Related Questions

How to define a prospective riders riding ability?

We take a fairly broad view on defining someones riding ability. However it is important that people are as honest as possible about their level of ability.

It is also important to note that our horses are trained using Natural Horse Training techniques, which is in many ways quite different to traditional English style riding. On occasion, even experienced riders have found this transition difficult, whereas Beginner or Novice riders have not.

Riding Ability Categories

Beginner – 1st time riding or have someone who has little confidence

Novice – Ridden a few times & feels confident about sitting on a horse and asking it to do stuff

Intermediate – Confident knowledgeable rider

Advanced – Been riding for years

Happy Riders out on a Two Hour Horse Trek

Are there weight restrictions for horse trekking at River Valley Stables? If there are, what are they?

There are weight restrictions if you are looking at going on a trek with River Valley Stables.

These weight restrictions are a maximum of 110 kilograms (one kilogram = 2.2 lbs) for a rider. This guideline is in place for the health of the horse.

If you are heavier than this, and still wish to trek, then check with our reception team by email, or 0800 248666, to see if one of our heavier horses is presently in work and would be suitable for you.

Some River Valley Stables rides cover some big country. Here a group of riders is on top of local landmark, Pukeokahu

Questions about Booking a Trip or Stay at River Valley

When planning a stay or hoping to take part on a trip or trek, how far in advance do you need to book?

We do encourage people to book as far in advance as is practical. Obviously this would be more likely to assure you of being able to purchase what you want, but also, and especially in the case of multi-day trips, this gives us a little more planning room.

There are a number of different ways you can book. Our “To Book” page explains these.

The online reservation system will tell you whether there is space available for which ever trek, trip or stay you are wanting. However, even if there appear to be no spaces available on the dates you would like, try contacting our reception by email or free phone 0800 248666.

In certain circumstances we may be able to add a custom departure for you.

How do you know that River Valley is a reputable company?

River Activities

River Valley has been rafting on the Rangitikei River since 1982. We are fully audited by Maritime New Zealand, the government agency responsible for overseeing the rafting industry, and undergo an annual review of company policies, practices and operations. In addition River Valley has been awarded numerous awards over the years.

Horse Trekking

River Valley Stables carry’s on a fine tradition of working with horses and the land that goes back generations within the family. River Valley has been involved with horse trekking since 1988, with many thousands of people having enjoyed the countryside of the northern Rangitikei District and often their first experience on a horse.

Visit Trip Advisor

Of course you could always just go and check out Trip Advisor to see what other people have to say.

Testimonials

We have many people write to us with some great testimonials. Visit our Testimonial section to read some.

How do you know which activity is most suitable for you? Some activities can be quite demanding, so getting this right will ensure a better experience.

On both the main rafting and horse trekking pages there is a great deal of information on how to choose the most appropriate trip. For a summary, read below.

River Activities

We have an activity for almost everybody. Our Scenic Family Rafting Trips (Grade 2) are ideal for families, the less adventurous, and those wanting a slower paced interaction with nature. Our Grade 5 White Water Rafting trip is suitable for people aged 13 years and over, who have a reasonable level of fitness, and a sense of adventure.

There is a multi day river trip for almost everyone. Choose the one with the most suitable river grade.

Horse Trekking

River Valley Horse adventures are not suitable for children younger than 12 years old. Children younger than 12 years may be able to get a horse experience by prior arrangement. Please contact us to find out more.

In general, match your riding ability to the length of the trek. If you have less experience, choose a shorter trek. The exception to this is the Home on the Range which is an excellent horse riding holiday suitable for all abilities.

What do if I have a health problem that could effect either myself or others with me on a trip or trek?

If you have a health condition such as diabetes, epilepsy, pregnancy, heart condition, asthma, etc, please advise us before trip departure. It is your responsibility to make sure we are aware of your condition, that you are fit enough for the activity, and that you have appropriate medication with you.

If you do not tell us, then this may put both your own safety and others on the trip in jeopardy.

What is our policy regarding illegal drugs being consumed either prior to or during a trip?

River Valley reserves the right to refuse participation in our activities to anyone suspected of consuming alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs before or during any trip. In addition River Valley is committed to operating a drug free workplace.

We will and do enforce this policy for the safety of all participants.

On multi day trips, alcohol may be consumed after the main activities of rafting, horse back riding or hiking have concluded for the day.

What is our policy regarding the consumption of alcohol either before, during or after a trip or trek?

River Valley reserves the right to refuse participation in our activities to anyone suspected of consuming alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs before or during any trip. In saying that, sharing a drink with friends after a days adventuring is one of the finer times of life.

We will and do enforce this alcohol policy for the safety of all participants.

On multi day trips, alcohol may be consumed after the main activities of rafting, horse back riding or hiking have concluded for the day.

Rafting Trip Schedules

What is the season and daily times in which you can do a Grade 5 rafting trip?

Grade 5 rafting trips operate 364 days per year depending on weather and river conditions, and bookings. We offer no adventure activities, including rafting, on Christmas Day.

From May to mid September (winter season), only one departure per day is offered. This is a morning departure as there are concerns about running out of daylight hours at this time of year for afternoon departures.

From mid September to the end of April (summer season), we offer two departures per day, one with a briefing at 8.30 am, the other with a briefing of 1.00 pm.

What time of year is the best time to go on a rafting trip?

New Zealand has a temperate climate. Where River Valley is situated, we have 4 distinct seasons, though as with much of this country, weather conditions can change rapidly – 4 seasons in one day

Rafting

If rafting, expect higher flows in the winter and spring, and more technical steeper rafting in the summer and autumn.

Colder water is experienced from late Autumn through to mid Spring.

Multi day rafting and camping trips operate from mid Spring to mid Autumn.

Summertime on the river. A family overnight rafting trip on the Rangitikei River

General Rafting Questions

How are rapids on rivers graded or classed?

For the full answer to this question, please follow this link to this page that describes what constitutes each class or grade of rapid under the International system.

The words, Grade or Class or interchangeable.

What Training do River Valley raft guides have?

River Valley only employ guides who have been assessed and registered with Sports Fitness Recreation Industry Training Organisation (SFRITO), and the New Zealand Rafting Association.

Many of our guides also have international guiding experience, not to mention many seasons at home. All guides are trained in First Aid and CPR.

In addition, guides carry out on site regular scenario and skill training.

Attending to a victim in a simulated Rescue Scenario

What equipment or clothing do you need to provide yourself for your rafting trip?

The most important thing to bring is a keen fun attitude.

River Activities

If you are on a day or shorter rafting trip, a towel and your swim suit are all you need. We cannot guarantee the safety of cameras or video equipment on the river, however on multi day and scenic trips, waterproof containers can be provided. We do not 100% guarantee the safety even then of your equipment.

What items of apparel and equipment does River Valley provide on your rafting trip?

Recognising that you want to be comfortable and warm on your adventure, River Valley provides quality equipment and apparel.

River Activities

Depending on the season, when you go on the river you are supplied with neoprene boots, neoprene socks, 5mm wetsuits, polypropylene tops, polar fleece tops, paddle jackets, lifejackets, helmets, and on especially cold days, neoprene mittens. All our rafts are self bailing, and regularly updated.

On most white water trips there is also a photographer who captures those unforgettable moments.

Talk about all dressed up and nowhere to go. The full kit other than neoprene gloves which are only warn on cold days.

What items should you plan on packing for a multi day river rafting and camping trip?

Before the trip departs we will send you a list of suggested items to bring on your ulti day rafting and camping trip. Alternatively you can follow this link to download the “What To Bring List”.

Remember sometimes less can be more. You really do not need to bring that much. Think warmth, think sun protection.

An evening scene on a Mokai Canyon Three Day River trip

Dining & Meals at River Valley Lodge

Are there vegetarian options with meals at River Valley Lodge?

There are vegetarian options available with all meals at River Valley Lodge. However, we do advise that you let us know in advance of any specific dietary requirements so our kitchen can prepare the appropriate meals.

The Lodge does maintain a large onsite vegetable garden from which a great deal of fresh summer produce is sourced.

Gift Vouchers

How long from the date of issue is a Gift Voucher valid for?

Our Gift Vouchers are published with a six month expiry date on them from the date of purchase.

However in saying that, we have never refused to honour a Gift Voucher over six months old. We do want to share the hills and rivers of the Rangitikei with you, so don’t really see why you not being able to make the date should stand in the way.

If in doubt, please contact our team on reception at 0800 248666, or send them an email. Have your voucher handy as we may want to look up the details.

Can you purchase Gift Vouchers from River Valley, and for what trips or packages?

All River Valley trips, packages and stays can be purchased as pre-paid Gift Vouchers. These can be a great present for Christmas or Birthdays, and not only for the more “adventurous” amongst us.

For instance, a Lodge to Lodge rafting trip can be a great way for less physically active, but still adventurous people to spend an enchanting couple of days on the river.

Vouchers are valid for 6 months from the time of issue, but see other questions and answers on this subject.