Horse RidingRSS

You can take horses through most of St James Conservation Area, with the exception of the St James Walkway and the privately fenced land around Ada homestead.

The St James horse herd can be seen around the Henry, Waiau and Ada River valleys. These horses are mustered and the offspring removed and sold every two years. A stallion and up to 30 brood mares are contained within the Henry River catchment (which includes the Henry Track and access to Anne Hut). Leave the gates closed at all times.

The horses are technically wild as they cannot be handled and will generally move away from visitors, but do not chase them and avoid contact with the stallion and mares with foals at foot. For more information, contact the DOC Waimakariri Area Office during office hours phone - 03 313 0820 or email - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Horses can follow most of the mountain biking tracks – except the 5km of mountain biking track from the Maling Pass-Waiau River junction to the turn-off to Lake Guyon. This section of track is too narrow to accommodate horses, walkers and mountain bikes. Horse riders will need cross to the true right of the Waiau River for this particular section if wanting to access Lake Guyon from Maling Pass.

In normal flows the Waiau River is more easily crossed in the upper reaches. Note: Saddle Spur and McArthur bridges further down the Waiau River are not suitable for horses


Horse-rider's care code

Help stop the spread of weeds

  • Feed horses treated hard feed 48 hours before entering the St James Conservation Area
  • Bring only hard feed with you
  • Ensure hooves are clean of seeds before your visit

Dispose of horse manure carefully

  • Scatter manure well away from waterways, wetlands and areas commonly used by other visitors

Consider other visitors

  • Tether or pen horses 50 m away from huts so flies and manure do not create a nuisance
  • Water horses downstream from where other campers get their water

Care for the environment

  • Use tree protectors on nightlines to prevent damage to trees
  • Do not allow horses to browse on native vegetation
  • Relocate portable yards each night