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Picking the Winner. Finding the Right Horse.

Tracy Williams is our Equestrian Guide and returned to Poronui in March 2015 after a gap of 11 years. Career, travel and marriage had come between Tracy and her passion, and it wasn’t until Tracy and husband Pete returned to New Zealand that everything fell into place – Pete back farming and Tracy riding.

‘My first season at Poronui was back in 2003/2004 and left such an impression, it was hard not to return when the opportunity presented itself. To my delight I find Poronui now attracts experienced riders who really enjoy the well-schooled horses and challenging rides. With a stable of personality+ horses I have found my dream job ……’

A big part of that dream job is working with Assistant Lodge Manager Claire to select the team of horses at Poronui. Tracy and Claire base their choice of a suitable horse on a number of key factors: temperament, looks, sure footedness, riding comfort, willingness to learn and their own trusty gut instincts.

Being a riding stable it is preferable if each horse can cater for a range of ability of riders. Generally the decision on whether to buy a green youngster or an experienced “schoolmaster” horse depends on the rider. Novices tend to get a lot more enjoyment from a horse that already knows the ropes, whether trail riding, running barrels, learning to jump or doing a little elementary dressage. On the other hand, experienced equestrians will derive great satisfaction from schooling and teaching a green youngster. Winning that first ribbon in the first show is very pleasing when you’ve taught your horse everything it took to win that ribbon yourself!

As Tracy remembers her own show jumping days, “‘I never grew up wanting a pony. I have to admit I was more interested in race cars! Then my sister showed me how to jump and as they say, the rest is pretty much history.”

According to Tracy she had an unreasonable amount of confidence and a strong competitive streak. “Just over 12 months from my first jump I was, representing the Taupo region at the North Island Two Day Team Eventing Championship. In fact I represented Taupo at that same event for three consecutive years, before ‘retiring’ from Pony Club and taking up hunting.”

Trekking at Poronui has evolved into a riding stable with a small team of talented horses. The stable needs to cater for riders with a huge disparity in skill levels, from novice to highly experienced, which makes choosing the perfect team quite tricky. One key decision several years ago was to only select geldings – making life much less complicated! Another was to focus on Gisborne Station bred horses. These horses are not a specific breed but result from a breeding program crossing heavier breeds: Clydesdales, Percheron, Irish Draft with lighter breeds like Arabs and Thoroughbreds and the agility of a Quarter horse. They are very sort after for their size, stamina, temperament for show jumping and other disciplines. Poronui now has three of these beauties on the team. Tracy loves her boys, and the five current team members are all personality plus.


Born 2012 is a Gisborne Station bred. Texas is sweet natured, confident, with good manners but can be bossy in the paddock. He is very responsive, excellent to handle and willing to please. He is bomb proof for beginners but being a baby a more experienced rider tends to get the best out of him.

He is excellent with rope work and responds very well to being ridden bit less.



Born 2009, also a Gisborne Station bred. Tucker loves attention, is a real smooch. He is the Alpha male in the team. He schools nicely and jumps 1.10m very well with great style. He is a very smooth ride with a rocking horse canter. When we went to buy him the children were bouncing from the trampoline onto his back!



Born 2000 Shelby, a Standard Bred, is the old boy in the team. He is very trustworthy and a gentleman to handle. He is a joy to ride.



Born 2010, Cadbury is a San Mateo Clydie Cross TB Cadbury is a big baby at 17hh and very cuddly. He is schooling well on the flat and over fences. He loves to learn and is very responsive. Cadbury is a very comfortable ride over any terrain. He is a gentleman to handle.



Born 2009, Rocky is a Percheron/TB/QH. Rocky is very aptly named with his big neck and hindquarters – a real rocking horse. He is an easy ride, with very nice paces and a very comfortable canter. He is the newest to the team, is schooling very well and loves to jump. He squeals with delight when excited!

Poronui’s horses are currently out on grass for the winter months giving Tracy the opportunity for some well-deserved time off for travel. By mid-September they will all be back in work again going through their fitness program. If riding is your passion book a multi-day program with us, or if you simply want to give it a go Tracy will match you with the perfect ride!

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