10 November 2016 – A pet horse isn’t the most usual holiday companion but a Northland holiday park has opened its doors to these equine friends. Kauri Coast TOP 10 Holiday Park has just opened what it thinks could be New Zealand’s first equestrian centre at a holiday park. The centre features an Olympic sized riding arena, paddocks and yards, offering riding, tuition and stables. Chris and Jane McComb bought the 2ha park three years ago and have since set up a steady programme of improvements, recently earning them a Top Service Award in the TOP 10 Holiday Parks’ annual awards. Their new equestrian centre caters for riding holidays where people can bring their own horses and riding lessons are available. It will also have up to four horses of its own for beginners. Maru and Xena are the first in their stable.
“Our guests are loving the experience and I know the horses did too. It’s great for guests to be able to combine a holiday with this sort of activity as well – they can ride as much or as little as they want. Maru and Xena are very gentle horses and are great with people learning to ride. They’re very patient.” The park saw an opportunity to offer lessons to their guests, as well as providing facilities for those who want to bring their own horses on holiday with them. Over time the enterprising couple has transformed an adjoining uncared for piece of land into the Equestrian Centre. Jane is a keen horsewoman and has an international coaching certificate as a riding instructor. Having been around horses most of her life, providing riding lessons and horse livery seemed the ideal way to connect further with guests and make their stay extra special. “Pets are part of the family and more and more people travel with their animals; horses should be no different,”.
During the busiest month of January, about two thirds of holiday makers are from Auckland and Northland while the rest of the year is a mix of international and New Zealand visitors. The park features 100 powered and unpowered sites, together with 11 cabins/motels catering for about 40 people.