Why this journey?
I’m a thirty years old french girl and I’ve always been a horse fanatic. For years, I’ve spent all my free time in riding schools and trekked in many parts of France (including Larzac, Burgondy and Corsica). During my college years in Grenoble, besides becoming a mountain fanatic aswell, I joined the troupe Les Cavaliers de Chambaran (cavaliers-de-chambaran.fr). I played in many of their shows, and enjoyed the freedom we had to go anywhere on horseback, at anytime and at any pace.
On another hand, I caught the travel bug. I was lucky enough to spend a school year in the US, where I learned english. Later, I set my sights on Chili, where I backpacked for two months. At last, I spend half a year working in one of the most fascinating country: India.
A horse journey is a concentrate of all I love. I believe it since I used the Compostella trail between Grenoble and Genova. My dream is to reproduce such an incredible journey at a larger scale, to seize the day and improve my horsemanship skills.
Two horses will be involved. One would not be able to carry what's badly required for basic confort, autonomy and security. Moreover, horses are used to live in herds, a lonely one could get depressed! This also enables me to share the adventure with somebody from time to time ;)
I plan to spend two months in New Zealand (october-november) before my trip starts, in order to buy the horses, the gear and test that they all fit together. Then will start a six months journey. No number of miles is at stake, the itinerary and timing will greatly depend on the cheerfulness of places and people. We'll be autonomous: a tent, a sleeping bag and camping stove for me, feed for the horses (fortunately they sleep upright!).
Waiting for the big day, I study the geography, get in touch with some "kiwis", and learn (with the best!) about saddle-packing, farrier and horsemanship. I'm not sure I'll use all of it, but for sure it won't overload me!
I've also met long riders, especially female ones (Paris is full of surprises!). I benefit from their experience, their advices, and also got to practice managing two horses on my own.
Word of mouth helped my choice: all the people coming back from New Zealand have sparkling eyes when they talk about the awesomeness of the landscape and the cheerfulness of the kiwis. That's enough for me to go and check how is the grass over there.
The country might seem small for people flying all over the world. But on horseback, it's a nice playground.
The south island is wirld, mountanous and rainy; the north one is warmer and more flat. The plan is to ride in the north one only: 114000 km2 (five times smaller than France) for 3400000 inhabitants (population density is for times less).
The itinerary is not yet defined, but the ideal starting point seems to be Hukatere Lodge, in the "far north" (www.hukatere.com). They have a about fifteen horses and can host me during the on-site preparation.