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“Breathtaking scenery”
Review of Dart Stables

Dart Stables
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: •Stunning scenery and river crossings on horseback• Visit Lord of the Rings and Hobbit filming locations by 4wd •Options for experienced and beginner riders•All gear provided - Drizabone coats, boots, gloves and safety helmets•Fully trained, experienced guides •At least 1 guide to every 5 riders •One of Queenstown’s best value activities
Useful Information: Lockers / storage, Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Auckland, New Zealand
Level Contributor
29 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Breathtaking scenery”
Reviewed September 16, 2012

I've gone riding with Dart Stables twice and I went for the Ride of the Rings both times. The first time I sat on Murphy and my boyfriend was on Borris. Our group had about 10-12 people in total and my boyfriend was the only guy. His horse was right in front of me and Borris tried to bite my horse TWICE. Yes, his head actually turned around and I had a good look at his teeth trying to snap Murphy.

What was upsetting was that the tour guides didn't show any concern and didn't bother to do anything about it. There was a nice and friendly female tour guide (don't remember their names) and she was at the front of the group; the other tour guide was a nasty girl who didn't seem to care that I screamed really loudly when Borris tried to bite my horse and my horse had to jump out of the way and out of the line formation. Another girl in our group even told me that she was trying to stay far away from my boyfriend's horse. I seriously don't understand why they would put Borris in front of Murphy if he obviously doesn't like him. We made this booking as a couple and it sucked to be on constantly high alert if Borris was going to turn around and bite Murphy. The tour guides didn't try to rectify the situation or give any advice, they just pretended like nothing was going on.

I felt so sorry for my poor boyfriend, that was his first time riding and they gave him a horse that just wouldn't obey. Even after my boyfriend pulled hard at the reins and followed the proper instructions, that horse would just not listen to him. The horse would randomly walk off (even after he pulled the reins), eat grass whenever he wanted (even after my boyfriend gave a slight kick), etc.
We stopped at a scenic point to take photos and after the tour guide took a photo of my boyfriend and I with my camera, my boyfriend asked her to take a photo with his camera and he dropped his camera cover on the ground by accident. The nasty tour guide got all annoyed and started complaining that she would have to get off her horse again and why didn't we give her our cameras at the same time? Wow, nice attitude. Oh, and the nicer tour guide was in our photo because the moment she walked off, Borris would walk off as well and would not stand still for the photo.

The second time I came was with my parents and my mother is a first timer and was rather nervous at riding. The tour guide put her in front as there were only 4 of us this time and her horse was pretty tame. Guess what, I got Murphy as my horse again (no complaints there, he was a nice horse) and my dad got Borris. I got so annoyed and told the tour guide my previous experience. They said that they could go get another horse but we would have to wait for approx 30mins since The Ride of the Rings was a little out of the way and they would have to go back to the main stable. My dad didn't want to waste time and went ahead with Borris. The good thing was that my dad has ridden before and when Borris tried to turn around to bite Murphy, my dad pulled the reins back REALLY hard and that helped. So if a girl sat on Borris and didn't have enough strength to pull the reins really hard, will Borris behave like a psycho again?

Complaints aside, the views were amazing and I loved the scenery. I went during winter and spring and I definitely prefer the winter look. Snow capped mountains, frozen lakes and seeing the grass covered in ice was breathtaking. I'm a big fan of LOTR so I loved this trek during winter. Take note that it was below freezing during winter and even with thick thermal socks, my toes were freezing in their boots. It is rather pricey but the views are one of a kind.

That said, the attitude of some of the staff seriously need to be improved and I think safety can be improved in terms of the type of horses selected to go on certain treks. My boyfriend is still scarred by his experience with Borris whereas I had a good time with Murphy. It really depends on what kind of horse you get.

Visited July 2012
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1 Thank 02rabbit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
42 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“A wonderful afternoon on horse back!”
Reviewed September 9, 2012 via mobile

My fiancée and I had a wonderful afternoon riding through paradise (a place about an hour out of Queenstown).

The scenery was great, the guides were knowledgeable and my horse had a personality. On so many trail rides the horse just blindly follows the one in front, this wasn't the case with Yogi. I prefer having to actually ride the horse, some may not.

We did the 1.5 hour lord of the rings tour so it was for beginner riders. Next time I would do one that gave me the opportunity to canter.

Helpful?
Thank Gldnstrn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sydney
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Ride of the rings- great surroundings, mediocre guide”
Reviewed September 8, 2012

In July 2012, our group took the ride of the rings and paid approx $140 each. Overall the trip was good but ruined by the attitude of one of the guides. As our group was quite big, we had two guides. The guide in question is the plumper side. Firstly, she kept yelling out information about the trail, ruining the tranquility and beauty of the surroundings. I can still hear her annoying voice in my head, months after the trip. Whereas the other guide was calm and telling information in a relaxed manner- a much better guide for this type of tranquil activity.

Secondly, the guide in question failed to tell us relevant information at the right time and we got 'scolded' for mistakes that could have been prevented. Being first time riders and city-dwelling folk for all of our lives, we were very inexperienced and did not know that horses follow a hierarchy. At a resting point, one of our girls tried to jump the line to ride with her boyfriend when the horses reassembled. Inevitably, the horses started getting aggressive and she immediately stopped.

The guide that yelled at her and said 'don't jump the line, horses are territorial', to her embarrassment of everyone in the group. Her tone was so harsh and fierce, just like parental chastising. On hindsight, it may sound like common-sense about animals being territorial, but most city people have only seen animals in zoos and have no experience in riding horses. A little precaution before we started the trail would have sufficed.

To add insult to injury, the guide was talking to two other people in the group, saying how her 'troubles' on these tours are when people don't listen to her and try to jump the line. She sarcastically said "I don't know why they do it, I tell them not to but they still do". HELLO, YOU NEVER TOLD US THIS BEFORE, YOU ONLY MENTIONED IT AFTER IT HAPPENED.

No, I would not recommend this horse riding to anyone, not if you get the plump guide. You pay so much money for a tour, only to realise you're back in high school again, getting scolded by incompetent 'teachers' who only give you warnings after mistakes happen! And, the 'thank you' speech at the end sounded so fake and scripted particularly after she scolded us. A normal 'thanks' would have sufficed.

Visited July 2012
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4 Thank claire k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Fell off and still loved it!!”
Reviewed September 7, 2012

We did the 'The River Wild' ride. This is a brilliant way to get out into the wilderness and sea Lord of The Rings country. My wife is an avid horse-rider but I had never been on a horse before because they scare the hell out of me! The staff in Dart Stable were excellent and gave me a nice quiet horse, Marcus. I always felt safe and enjoyed every minute of our 2 hour trek. Would recommend this highly.

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
Thank StEndas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
31 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Very nice view and nice guide!!”
Reviewed September 3, 2012

I ride for 2 hours, the view is very nice. The guide is professional and friendly. Her instructions are clear and I could get on and off my horse and control it well on my first horse-riding in my life!
And, I love my white horse, Backstar!

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
Thank Ad0nia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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