The Ride of the Rings
Trip Start Mar 12, 2012
57Trip End Jul 10, 2012
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What I did
I was picked up from Queenstown at 8am, and we drove down to the town of Glenorchy, which is about 30 minutes away. It was a beautiful drive, with great views of the mountains and the lake along the way. Then we arrived at the stables in Glenorchy. I was introduced to Georgie, my guide for the River Ride. It turned out I was the only one booked on, so it was just the two of us
We mounted up, and rode down Glenorchy's streets till we crossed the river, and went into the common land. The landscape was so beautiful. Long, golden grass, with mountains on either side (some were used as the 'Misty Mountains' in Lord of the Rings, you can spot them in the beginning of the Two Towers), and the river running through the valley. As it was just me, we could go at the pace I wanted, instead of having to take into account different abilities. That meant we could do lots of cantering! We were racing our horses alongside the mountains, it was such a magical experience, I can't really describe it. And I was being really sad, and singing Lord of the Rings music in my head as we were riding. What a loser. As well as doing lots of cantering, we did go at a slower pace, and I got to take in the wonderful surroundings. I don't think I've ever been in such a beautiful place, it was just perfect. We also crossed through the river a few times, which was really fun.
After riding out for a couple of hours, we made our way back to the stables
I made my way back to the stables after my lagoon walk. Once again, I was really lucky, and I was the only one booked on for the Ride of the Rings too. So because I had been telling Georgie how much I loved horses and anything to do with them, she came up with a plan to make the ride a bit more special for me. Usually the guide goes ahead, and gets the horses ready before the clients are brought up. But seeing as I was the only one going, Georgie took me with her, so I could get my own horse ready! So we jumped in the van, and drove to the location of the Rings ride. A place called Paradise. No really, it's actually called that. And the name fits, as it's such an idyllic little spot. No wonder all the big film directors go there to shoot their movies!
Anyway, we arrived at the horse paddocks, got some head collars and went out to catch our horses
Once Georgie had caught her horse, we walked them back to the tacking area. First job was to give them a groom, as both we rather muddy. So I gave Elvis a good brush, and tried to get all the mud off his coat, which stood out against the black fur! It was so exciting, it felt like owning my own horse! Then I tacked him up, mounted, and off we went! Georgie decided to take me on a slightly longer ride, as I had helped out with the horses, and again, I was the only one there!
Firstly we rode round the green rolling hills, then into the woods. We got the boys to give us a good canter up the hill into the forest, but they were both quite puffed out by the end of it, they're more used to just walking along! Once we got into the forest, it was like we had ridden into the Fellowship of the Ring. I kept recognising bits of the forest, it was so strange. Some parts had been used as Lothlorian, and some for the battle at the end of the first film
Then we rode out of the forest, and climbed up the hillside, until we were looking down over Dart River. They used it as a location for Isengard, and it's also been used in Prince Caspian. Also the mountains behind were used a lot. One part was used where the Ents break the dam ('Release the riveerrrr'), and apparently the mountains are often behind Saruman when he's on his tower. I'll have to re-watch them all the movies now and see if I can spot all the places I saw.
Then we made our way back to the fields, with a couple of canters on our way home. It was so quiet and peaceful, and I rode up front on the way back, and it felt like I was by me and my horse, riding through Lothlorian or something
Anyway, we got back, and untacked, fed and groomed the horses, before taking them back to the field to join their mates. Elvis was such a sweet old gentleman, I was so sad to say goodbye to him. We hopped back in the truck, and made our way back to Glenorchy, where I said goodbye to Georgie, before being driven back to Queenstown.
It was just a dream come true to do that ride. I loved every second of it, and all the extra stuff I got to do just added to the experience. I hope I get to go back and ride there again one day!