In October 2019 we embarked on our most daring adventure yet: Taming 3 wild Kaimanawa stallions and traversing the length of New Zealand.

Our Journey So Far

0 km
KM on horseback
0
Days on the Trail
0
Nights in tent

Our Mission

In October 2019, we will be traversing the length of New Zealand on horseback, accompanied and guided by our team of recently-tamed, wild Kaimanawa horses. Starting at the Bluff, we will ride through both islands to conclude our journey in Cape Reinga, taking an estimated eight months to complete. 

Through this ride, we aspire to both share and protect New Zealand’s wild spaces, whilst connecting people through nature and inspiring others to embrace a rewilding journey of their own.

In conjunction with our journey, we are also developing our humanandhorse.co.nz platform to connect New Zealand’s equestrian community and develop the equine industry in NZ. Throughout our journey, we will be documenting and advocating for horse-friendly trails / routes throughout the country as well as providing a platform to access information to riders looking to get out and explore. 

 

 

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity”


– John Muir

Follow our Journey

Our story begins four years ago, amongst the snowgum-covered hills of the Australian High Country, retracing the hoofprints of the iconic “Man from Snowy River” movies on horseback. Although we come from very different backgrounds – Jess in forensic anthropology and Bijmin in digital media, our love for horses and exploring the untamed spaces on earth found us both abandoning the conventional 9-5 rat race in search of a more authentic and fulfilling lifestyle. It was during our time here at Watsons Trail Rides that our separate journeys intertwined and a passion for sharing the wild places around us was ignited. Since then we’ve been travelling the world, finding magical places that help us connect both with nature and with ourselves, alongside the best teachers we’ve ever come across: Horses.

Our journey has taken us through the most remote wilderness area in the lower 48 states, guiding 6 day unsupported pack-trips with Yellowstone WIlderness Outfitters alongside the bison, bears and wolves that call these woods and open plains their home. It has taken us to the Tapapa cliffs and rolling green hills of New Zealand’s North Island with River Valley Stables – teaching others how to connect with horses, and themselves, through natural horsemanship. Finally, our journey has taken us to the rugged alpine, glacially-carved valleys of New Zealand’s South Island, swimming horses in crystal clear glacial fed pools and exploring ancient native beech forests with a focus on sharing the transformative power of being immersed in nature with everyone who has joined us for this spectacular 5 day ride with High Country Horses.

Each experience has taught us a unique way to interact with and appreciate the treasures of the natural world and how important it is to share and protect those spaces for future generations. 

Our Story

Facebook Feed

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons

2 weeks ago

Human & Horse: Rewild Project

... See MoreSee Less

Comment on Facebook 2053050204929827_2732977006937140

Amazing! Where?

Are you doing any riding?

Stunning photo!

Are you guys home in Glenorchy?

Truly amazing!

Awesome photo

Emma Rose how divine

View more comments

Absolutely heartbreaking!

Far more than simply organising musters and raising awareness for the Kaimanawa horse, the team at Kaimanawa Heritage Horses and their affiliated partners do some super important work behind the scenes in taking on any welfare or rescue cases that involve Kaimanawas - regardless of the situation.

Our very own Tussock was a KHH rescue and a testament to the potential every one of these pictured horses have given some TLC and a second chance at life.

It's gut wrenching to look at these photos and no doubt it will be a huge undertaking to rehabilitate these horses and give them the life they deserve but we have no doubt they will flourish now that they're in good hands.

Please take a moment to read the post below and if you're in a position to help please consider reaching out to KHH or donating.
... See MoreSee Less

Absolutely heartbreaking!  Far more than simply organising musters and raising awareness for the Kaimanawa horse, the team at Kaimanawa Heritage Horses and their affiliated partners do some super important work behind the scenes in taking on any welfare or rescue cases that involve Kaimanawas - regardless of the situation.  Our very own Tussock was a KHH rescue and a testament to the potential every one of these pictured horses have given some TLC and a second chance at life.  Its gut wrenching to look at these photos and no doubt it will be a huge undertaking to rehabilitate these horses and give them the life they deserve but we have no doubt they will flourish now that theyre in good hands.  Please take a moment to read the post below and if youre in a position to help please consider reaching out to KHH or donating.

Comment on Facebook 2053050204929827_2732936163607891

I’m having trouble with donation going thru.. keep getting stuck on Shipping.,? Nothing to ship.. I’m just donating..???

Throwback to midday sun naps & story-time and one of the great lessons of the trail.

There are some days where the gentle warmth of the sun combined with a playful breeze dancing through the tall grass would melt away any urgency we might have felt on the trail.

On these days, when both humans and horses reached a consensus, we'd let our hour long lunch-break stretch as long as the moment required. Simultaneously enjoying being present and being whisked away to far away literary worlds.

Why do we always feel such an urgency in our lives? A need to rush, to just get it done. There are so many beautiful moments in between that are so easy to miss when we're only focused on getting where we're going.

Time slips by so fast already. By appreciating the seconds in between: the hours, the days, the years are so much fuller for having been experienced with intent.
... See MoreSee Less

A few months have quietly slipped past since we settled in for our winter rest. The ponies are fat and fluffy and we are all a few kilos rounder.... We spend plenty of time with them but ask little of them, opting for play sessions and mentally stimulating games above anything else.

While the ponies have their time to enjoy being ponies, Bijmin and I have taken to using our own two legs to explore the natural spaces around us. We have fallen in love with the Golden Bay area, the waterfalls and towering fern tree jungles, wild coastlines and rock labyrinth mazes. Each place has its own magic and holds a unique personality.

I have captioned each photo, but as always, words fall short in capturing the true essence of a place.

-Jess
... See MoreSee Less

A few months have quietly slipped past since we settled in for our winter rest. The ponies are fat and fluffy and we are all a few kilos rounder....  We spend plenty of time with them but ask little of them, opting for play sessions and mentally stimulating games above anything else.  While the ponies have their time to enjoy being ponies, Bijmin and I have taken to using our own two legs to explore the natural spaces around us. We have fallen in love with the Golden Bay area, the waterfalls and towering fern tree jungles, wild coastlines and rock labyrinth mazes. Each place has its own magic and holds a unique personality.  I have captioned each photo, but as always, words fall short in capturing the true essence of a place.  -Jess

Comment on Facebook 2053050204929827_2689587447942763

what a beautiful collection of photos, thank you for sharing. It is wonderful to read your stories regarding your appreciation for everything around you. ❤

Check this page out Daniel Miller - my two friends trek with wild horses they have partnered with to take them through the wonderful north island NZ. You would be in your element x

I was only thinking about you guys and the horses wondering how you are getting on, looks like you are making the most of it. Beautiful photos and definately a lovely part of NZ. Stay safe.

Beautiful photos and words xx A very special part of our country. So glad you are able to have time to truly explore . Love to you both 🌹

It is so lovely to hear from you both. Your adventures are soul food for those of us at home 🥰🥰

Been wondering how you've been getting on, nice to see your update pop up 🙂 Sprite is fat and happy too and will be a bit shocked when we start to ride again! When do you guys reckon you'll start back up?

What an amazing eye for photography you have. Just brilliant!

Ok so I don’t even like y’all anymore! Hotter than HELL in TEXAS! I want to be there so much!

So much beauty!! Thank you for sharing with us. xo Looks like a wonderful birthday.

Absolutely beautiful! Our world is so amazing! Thank you for sharing your special places.

What an utterly magical and stunning place. Thank you for sharing.

Omg what an incredibly beautiful place wow 🤩

What stunning photos. Thank you for sharing. 😊😊❣❣

Thank you for sharing... Simply amazing picture's ❤️

Beautiful photos thank you

Keep exploring Jess. Beautiful!

Gorgeous photos, love following your journey 😊😊

Fabulous photography 💕💕

Great formations, and colours

Stunning photos thanks for sharing

Beautiful photos,Jess xx

Thankyou for sharing... truely beautiful..

In the moment memories, love it 😁

Looks beautiful Jess

Beautiful.. gotta luv NZ

View more comments

"Some days are spent on top of the world while other days the mountain looms high above us. Neither place is superior to the other as each provides its own unique perspective, challenge and story." - Jess

These photos were taken along Fowlers Pass in St. James Conservation area on one of our "day rides" out from Stanley Vale Hut. After switch backing our way up a formed track we split off and went cross-country in search of the infamous shingle slide that Mr. Fowler took a horse drawn wagon sliding down the face of many many moons ago. Given no other option to descend, he hitched one horse to the front and four to the back for brakes and slid the entire team down the loose shingle mountain face. Needless to say, its not a place I would take a pack pony, let alone a carriage... but they all made it down to tell the tale!

Such a great story of perseverance and determination and possibly, an example of when being at the top of the mountain is less ideal than being at the bottom.

Looking through photos I realized that for each mountain pass we rode, we have a photo taken from the bottom looking up in anticipation and excitement as well as a photo taken from the top, full of exhilaration and a sense of achievement. Neither photo held a negative perspective. Sometime I have to remind myself to carry this knowledge into the rest of my life. Just because the mountain looms high doesn't mean it is a bad view. To summit a peak you must begin by looking up at it first.

-Jess
... See MoreSee Less

Some days are spent on top of the world while other days the mountain looms high above us. Neither place is superior to the other as each provides its own unique perspective, challenge and story. - Jess  These photos were taken along Fowlers Pass in St. James Conservation area on one of our day rides out from Stanley Vale Hut. After switch backing our way up a formed track we split off and went cross-country in search of the infamous shingle slide that Mr. Fowler took a horse drawn wagon sliding down the face of many many moons ago.  Given no other option to descend, he hitched one horse to the front and four to the back for brakes and slid the entire team down the loose shingle mountain face. Needless to say, its not a place I would take a pack pony, let alone a carriage... but they all made it down to tell the tale!  Such a great story of perseverance and determination and possibly, an example of when being at the top of the mountain is less ideal than being at the bottom.  Looking through photos I realized that for each mountain pass we rode, we have a photo taken from the bottom looking up in anticipation and excitement as well as a photo taken from the top, full of exhilaration and a sense of achievement. Neither photo held a negative perspective. Sometime I have to remind myself to carry this knowledge into the rest of my life. Just because the mountain looms high doesnt mean it is a bad view. To summit a peak you must begin by looking up at it first.  -Jess

Comment on Facebook 2053050204929827_2644549759113199

Thanks Jess, great reminder of perspective.

Climbing the mountain isn’t easy but it is challenging in both its successes and failures as you approach the summit. But it’s the down slope slide that will determine whether or not you learned anything from the climb.

Great to hear from you guys, do you have any idea when you are able to continue on your great adventure.

Been over Fowler’s once, don’t think I could do the scree slope 🙈 Love the St James. Hopefully one day I’ll make it back!

Been over twice on horse treks years ago Amazing story Thankyou

We saw your tracks, looks impossibly steep from below, great to get a close up picture

Nicely said Jess👍 What an amazing landscape

Oh my.....what a story. Great advice right there.

Gotta do that shingle slide

When you went up from Fowler's carpark and had reached the summit, did you then go to the left or to the right?

Great perspective jess 🤗

Love that quote!

Love this did Fowlers pass just before lockdown and looked at the scree slope in awe of the wagon coming down it!

Claire Bear

Chris Cairney

Catherine Ballinger read this <3

Beautifully thought out and expressed here, Jess. So many life lessons from your journey!

View more comments

Load more

Our Horses

In April 2018 we adopted 3 wild Kaimanawa stallions from the annual KHH muster. From the moment Tokala, Madiba and Kaewa stepped off the truck our lives were forever changed.

Although our journey together is just beginning, theirs began a long time ago. These horses are born and raised free spirits of the Kaimanawa ranges; the rolling hills that gave them their name. They spend their days roaming the hills in natural herd groups, existing in harmony with the land around them. These wild animals embody what nature intended for the horse. Over years of survival, the hills have sculpted them into strong hardy animals, with coats to withstand the elements, hooves conditioned to the rough and rocky terrain, and a fiery soul that runs freely through their veins.

Click on any of the profiles below to find out more about each horse and updates with where they’re at. 

Adventure Journal

Madiba the kaimanawa horse
Madiba

Madiba

Madiba (Dibs) is the little joker of the group. This little horse has been one of our most challenging so far but loves cuddles.

Read More »

Contact us

you're currently offline