Frequently Asked Horse Riding Questions

The Ride

What if I’m a beginner?

85% of our customers have never been on a horse before, so you’re in safe hands with us! We will tell you everything you need to know about what to do and how to ride, and give you a detailed lesson in a safe arena before heading out on the trails. We will be right there with you every step of the way throughout the ride. Checkout which rides we recommend for beginners.

Nervous? That’s okay, most people are at first! But once you are on the horse nerves fade away quite quickly as you see it’s not so hard after all!

What if I’m an experienced rider?

Even though we cater for beginners, we love our experienced riders too! Our horses are safe for beginners and experienced riders alike, and we know you’ll love your horse riding experience with us just as much as our beginners do. As a general rule, rides will go at the pace of the slowest rider, however we may be able to split groups for a trot or canter. Please note however that this is up to the trail guide on the day and may depend on the footing of the trail, temperature, and other riders in the group. Please feel free to mention that you’d like a bit more speed when booking!

Want to make sure that your ride is experienced riders only? Come along for one of our Experienced Horse Rider’s Days – or you can book a private ride.

Is there a weight limit?

Yes, in the interest of the comfort and safety of both horse and rider our weight limit is 100kgs.

Is there an age limit?

Different age limits apply to different lengths of ride. We have set these limits in the interest of the safety and comfort of the children riding:

  • Kid’s led rides: 3yo
  • 1hr :5yo
  • 2hrs: 8yo
  • Half Day: 12yo
  • Full Day: 15yo

There is no maximum age limit, if you are physically able we would love to have you along!

Can I go fast?

There are many factors that affect the speed of a ride:

  • The rider’s ability
  • The horse’s energy levels
  • Temperature and wind levels
  • Footing on the trail
  • Other riders on the trail

We cater for experienced riders; however the ultimate decision will be made on the day. Please respect our decision as we have your safety and the horse’s wellbeing as out top priorities – we aren’t trying to be the fun police, just bringing you home in one piece.

Can my child sit on the horse with me?

No, we cannot allow more than one person to sit on the horse at any one time.

What do I need to bring with me?

Essential: Long comfortable pants, preferably jeans (we cannot allow people in shorts to ride)
Essential: Enclosed shoes with smooth sole and small heel (no thongs!) (more info below)
Essential: Wet weather gear (no plastic ponchos please). We still ride in light rain so come prepared.
Advised: Long sleeve shirt is advised (singlets lead to sunburn)
Advised: Sunglasses
Advised: Sunscreen
Advised: Warm Jacket. Even on warm days the weather can change within hours

Please note due to safety reasons we cannot allow backpacks or large cameras on the ride.

We suggest that you leave the following behind:

  • Phones, Wallets and Car Keys (we can lock these away while you’re on your ride)
  • Jewellery – not only can jewellery get lost or damaged, but they are also a safety issue, often catching on saddles or trees, causing damage or injury.

What if it rains?

We still ride in light rain, so remember to bring a rain jacket! We hire out Drizabones for $10pp if you forget.

In the case of torrential rain or thunderstorms we may cancel a ride. We try to give 3 hours notice where we can, so please check your phone and email before leaving home. If your ride is cancelled due to rain your ride will be rescheduled to another date, a gift voucher given or a full refund.

How many people will be on my ride?

CVHR has a maximum of 6 people per ride. This ensures we can make the ride as personalised and safe as possible. This maximum is firm and we cannot accommodate larger groups, however larger groups can be booked in back-to-back rides.

What’s the instructor : customer ratio?

There will be a minimum of 2 instructors on each ride (sometimes more), so the ratio is a very healthy 1:3 instructor:customer.

Are the saddles comfortable?

Our instructors ride in the same saddles that you do, so we make sure they’re all nice and comfortable! All of our saddles are Australian made stock saddles with a minimum 17” seat which will fit most adults.

What will we see on our ride?

The shorter rides are led through open fields near the base camp, whereas the longer rides combine open paddocks with riding through valleys and over mountains. There is a lot of native wildlife at Chapman Valley, including kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, native birdlife and lots of cattle!

Is it safe?

We want you to be informed – Horse Riding in itself can be a dangerous activity, as we are dealing with live animals in an outdoor uncontrolled environment. HOWEVER! We work very hard to make sure these risks are minimised and controlled as much as possible! From our selection of only the top quality horses in Australia to the safety mechanisms in our saddles and trail leading protocols we have an amazing safety record- our goal is to keep you safe! If you have any worries please feel free to contact us!

What equipment is supplied?

We supply Australian Safety Helmets for your ride. A Drizabone (oilskin jacket) is available for hire for $10pp. Please ensure you wear long pants and enclosed shoes as we cannot allow you to ride in shorts of thongs.

What shoes can I wear?

Suitable shoes are essential for ensuring your safety during a horse ride. Therefore it is essential that you wear boots with a flat sole, and a small (1 – 1.5 inch) heel to prevent your foot from slipping through the stirrup. Here’s an article we’ve written on what shoes are suitable for horse riding. You can hire boots from us for $5pp.

The Horses

Are the horses quiet?

Every horse at Chapman Valley is here because they are very quiet and enjoy what they do. We only keep the best of the best, and all our horses are free of vices – i.e no horse at CVHR is known to buck, bolt or rear. As a beginner you can rest assured that you will be partnered with a quiet and experienced horse that wants you to have a fun and relaxing ride just as much as we do, and experienced riders can rest assured that you can ride a responsive, fun horse but won’t be stuck with a project or problem horse that needs fixing!

Are the horses responsive?

Our horses are trained to listen to and obey their rider, not to plod along out of habit. They have good brakes, and are soft and willing to please their rider. We take great pride in the level of training our horses are up to, and we hope you will too.

Do I get to choose my horse?

Generally, no. We match riders with their horses based on a number of things, such as the height, weight and riding experience of the rider – aswell as the personality of both the horse and rider.

Can we bring food for the horses?

Absolutely! Their favourite is carrots, but they along love apples and bread. Please, no sugar cubes or liquorice.

Can I bring my own horse?

Yes! You can bring your own horse to Chapman Valley for only $40 per horse per day, or $30 per horse per day if the group is more than 10 horses. This includes unlimited riding across the entire 6,000 acres. Please bring your own yards for your horse. Here’s some more information on bringing your own horse.

The Location

Where are you located?

We’re located at Howes Valley, which is a 1 hour drive from Pokolbin and a 2 hour drive from Sydney and Newcastle. Checkout our Location page for full directions and maps.

What’s nearby?

There is a cafe about 10minutes from us, called the Grey Gum Cafe and the beautiful Hunter Valley Wine Region is only a 60 minute drive from us. Unfortunately due to our secluded location there are no other activities in the area close-by – however you’re welcome to bring a picnic blanket and a book and enjoy the serenity the CVHR has to offer!


How far in advance should I book?

Our online booking system automatically closes 1 day out for bookings. To enquire about riding today or tomorrow please call us to see if we have availability.

The earlier you book your horse ride the more chance there is of you securing the ride date and time that you would like. Our weekends tend to book out a week or two in advance, so make sure you get in as soon as you know you’d like to ride!

Can I ride today?

Please call us to check availability for today.

Can I pay on arrival?

No, we require full payment in advance in order to hold a booking. We cannot accept cash or credit card on arrival.

What’s your refund policy?

Due to the very limited spaces and high demand for our horse rides, cancellations and changes made with less than 48 hours notice (before departure time) unfortunately cannot be refunded. Cancellations made with more the 48 hours notice may be subject to a 20% admin fee to cover costs of staff changes and bank transfer fees.

If your ride is cancelled by Chapman Valley Horse Riding due to weather or other circumstances, you will be provided a full refund.

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If you have any Camping related questions, check out our Camping FAQs page.