Meet the Team
Get to know the faces of Ahipara Horse Treks
Lonnie & Selena
Lonnie and Rob started Ahipara Horse Treks in 2008, to fund Lonnie's love of horses that Rob said should be able to pay their way!
She ran treks whilst working fulltime as a Primary School teacher, and helping Rob kickstart their beekeeping adventure, which saw them incorporate Tai Tokerau Honey Limited in 2009.
As the beekeeping industry boomed Lonnie found herself having to spend more hours in the office, using woofers and university students to guide the treks over the summer months.
In 2019, Selena finally made the move north and fell into place. Being the extrovert that she is, Selena is now the face of Ahipara Horse Treks - she's the one you will find on the other end of the phone or email when you make your bookings, keeping you updated through her social media posts and of course you will likely have her as your guide when you ride with us. Lonnie still keeps track of the finances, and because she loves her horses so much she still actively helps with the care of the horses - from trimming, dentist visits, vet days and shuffling horses around the various grazing blocks. If you're lucky she may also take you out for a trek occasionally!
The quieter winter months are usually only a two man band, so if you make a large group booking for the "winterless" north you will get both Selena and Lonnie as your guides! Otherwise, they share the joys of winter feeding and the never ending horse care.
For the busy summer season, Lonnie and Selena run a team of trusted trekking guides as the influx of booking requests and the long hours means Selena has a hard time juggling everything to stay on top - and we all need a break sometimes!
Ebony first came to do a horse trek with us in 2020 with her daughter Manaia after their whanau returned to Ahipara from Australia.
Selena and Ebony quickly hit it off and are now almost inseperable - Selena says Eb is her right hand man and relies on her a lot when she needs a quick hand with this or that.
Manaia, and her older sister Reggie, are two of Selena's students at Free Rein Equestrian, and always jump at the chance to help out with anything horsey.
Ebony is slowly acquiring her own herd of ponies, and with 4 kids and a hubby she has a big task ahead of her! She loves being around the horses and meeting new people so takes as many treks as she can squeeze in to her already packed schedule!
Her bubbly peresonality is infectious and her kind nature puts all her customers at ease - we love her and we hope you will too!
Jiah is a happy-go-lucky kind of girl, and her beautiful, laid back personality is a real asset to have around - even the horses go into a zen zone when they spend time with her!
Jiah grew up in Ahipara, and spent many hours shadowing Lonnie around and feeding her appetite for anything horse-related.
Her love of horses has led her to Massey University where she is currently studying to be a vet! She even managed to wrangle 6 weeks with us for her second Student Practical Experience in 2021 and she enjoyed it so much she didn't want to leave! Lucky for us she has committed to coming back to us in the summer (we hope) when she can, because you won't find a friendlier guide with a sunnier smile than Jiah!
Sally-Ann was Lonnie's main trek guide for over 6 years after Tai Tokerau Honey began to take much of Lonnie's (and Twyla's) focus.
Now, Sally-Ann has turned her skills to gardening (she always did have greenfingers) and mushroom growing, running Mangatete Growers with her parther Mark, but occasionally you might still see her with her trek guide hat on - although a few things have changed around here since she left!
Sally-Ann always had the best reviews, and really took her time with her customers.
She still joins us for some longer rides on the weekends on her pony Boots (who is an oops-baby out of Dreamer!)
Twyla is another enthusiastic horsewoman who has grown a passion for the rodeo circuit.
Twyla did a summer at treks in 2011 while she was home from studying at the University of Auckland, she came back for summer of 2012 and then stayed, opting for distance learning for her Master's thesis and helping Lonnie with Treks and office work for Tai Tokerau Honey, where she now works fulltime.
You won't often find her at Treks, as she is the technology ninja who brings Selena's website and design ideas to life and keeps things in the office running smoothly - but she does enjoy getting out of the office so you may see her make a cameo appearance in summer. Otherwise you will find her out on our adventure rides, blasting around the barrels on the rodeo circuit or chasing cattle.
Esther is a super horsewoman who runs her own starting and schooling service over in Kerikeri.
She loves coming up north and having some less "serious" horse time with us. When she's not busy training her own team, you can find her up here with us giving her horses a Far North experience.
We love having her around as she's always game to ride our young horses because she is so talented!
We hope Essy can join us more over the summer!
Melika, Manaia & Ressy
These three are often spotted with Selena, doing their bit to help out. Despite their age, they are super useful - especially when horses need to be caught, tacked up or when there is a group of young children that need leading.
All three of these girls are students of Selena's at Free Rein Equestrian and are the next generation of horsewomen! It has been amazing watching these girls develop their skills and talents and Selena loves fuelling their passion! Their energy is infectious so it is very hard to keep them away!
Ziggy is the Ahipara Horse Treks little mascot and you’ll find her at the gate greeting you as you arrive.
She’s a 2 year old Foxy x Jack Russell who is so full of life that she will run endlessly in the paddock while Selena teaches lessons.
Ziggy is super friendly and loves cuddles so don’t be afraid to give her a pat while you wait for your trek.
Meet the Herd
Star & Storm
Introduced together because they come as a team!
Star and Storm are our OG's and have done many miles up and down the beach for us.
Both Star and Storm were originally wild, Northland bush ponies, we couldn't think of anyone more reliable than these two!
Star (named for his obvious face marking) was Nuki's horse growing up (Nuki is Lonnie's youngest son and Selena's other half). Storm was George's (Lonnie's oldest son) and they certainly all chased many adventures - from mustering wild bulls, to swimming Whangape harbour and riding the golden stairs! They certainly didn't have a boring life and Storm used to love the beach races!
Now these two are our "koro's" of the herd, with both of them around 24 years of age. They have earnt their semi-retirement here with us, but you will still see them out occasionally for a plod along the beach.
Foxy is a 14.2hh mare that originally ran wild out in Mitimiti.
When she came to us, she had a bucking problem in 2018 and now she is one of our most reliable horses taking both beginner and advanced riders.
Foxy is one hearty girl, she's never been sore or lame and is always ready for the job!
We don't like our horses always doing the same thing, so Foxy often gets away mustering, or out on the 2-day treks with experienced riders. She also LOVES jumping with Selena's kids at lessons.
Unfortunately for Foxy, she is the bottom of the pecking order in the herd, and is always bossed around by the other horses, so you will often see her keeping away from the others on the beach - particularly Najo!
Selena classes Najo as our "sexy horse".
He is a very nicely put together registered Paint with a WHOLE lot of character.
If you get to know Najo, you will love him, but his first impressions can be a bit deceiving. He's a super soft and responsive horse, never needing a bit - even after a hoon down the beach you can just neck rein and amble off. He's the only one in the herd that ambles, and is a super smooth ride!
Sometimes, he likes to test his rider by flicking his rear end at a canter, but he never puts his head down and has never lost a rider!
He sometimes thinks he's a bit of the man (he is the father to some of our other horses) so his facials can look a little bit grumpy when you first get on, but we have not had a customer who has not enjoyed their ride on Najo.
He is great with super tiny kids, and is happy to cruise at the back! He has no spook in him but sometimes likes to stop for a snack on some yellow flowers.
Chino hardly needs an introduction as he's a bit famous in the horsey world - and he is Selena's baby!
Chino is a 14.1hh Arab/Welsh/Saddlebreed cross who Selena can ride with nothing at all - no bridle, no halter or no saddle - he's the definition of a "Free Rein" pony!
Although Chino was never destined to work at Treks, sometimes he has to be used because he is so perfect at what he does.
He LOVES kids and attention and would come inside your house if you let him. He thinks he's a big Labrador and even acts like one around food! He loves carrots and apples, and if he hears the rustle of a plastic bag - he'll be there!
Chino is mainly used for lessons as he is so subtle to ride - and only ever in a halter.
Selena lost track a long time ago as to how many children Chino has taught to ride - he's a bit of a legend!
Teddy, who is very suited to his name, is one of the newer additions to the herd.
He ran wild over in Mitimiti in 2020, but due to his unusally quiet nature, he already takes treks and lessons.
Everyone who sees Teddy loves him, and he is totally growing into himself - he's had a bit of a glow-up since we got him.
He is also one of our youngest horses - being only 6!
Because of his age, Teddy can be considered a bit green, but he has never put a foot wrong - sometimes he can be a bit too food-orientated! He has been on some big cattle musters, and large group rides -with only kids on him.
When we first got him, you could hardly catch him in the paddock - now he's the first one to the gate waiting for attention (or food) and the kids love using him for lessons. He even loves jumping, and has a suprisingly great jump in him. He's definitely a keeper and we look forward to many more years with him.
"Big V" our big, friendly giant!
Vienna was (until recently) our biggest horse. We don't have very big horses up here in the Far North, as most people like them smaller for bush bashing and pig hunting etc.
She is one big soft, gentle soul who absolutely just loves cruising and looks after her trekkers more than anyone could ask for!
Both beginners, and experienced riders love her as she just feels so safe, and would rather chill than do anything else. If you do canter, she will just lope along slowly and is super easy to stop as cantering takes a lot of effort!
In the summer she LOVES the water, and the kids can climb up and jump off her, doing bombs for hours!
Vienna has been an absolute asset to the team - and is a go-to for our trekkers!
Dreamer is our little pocket rocket!
Dreamer was wild from the Aupouri Forest and must have lost her eye when she was running wild.
She may only have one eye - but don't let that put you off!
She looks after tiny kids like no other and will go into "Kid Mode", but if she knows you can ride she will give you the best canter ever - even through the waves! Man she can boogie!
She is only a little thing - maybe 14hh (if that) and at 21 years old she still has plenty of life left in her!
She has been a favourite of our guides for many years, and can be left in the paddock for months and go straight to work, even if she does sometimes look a little bit pregnant from all the grass.
If Lonnie is taking your trek out, you won't get a chance to ride her as she loves the way Dreamer moves and they have a real bond!
Taika is our only Standardbred in the herd, but if we could get more like him then we would!
Lonnie bought him to use as her trekking horse for their trips away, but he is so easy to use for trekking and totally knows his job for beginner riders that he hasn't left the Treks paddock!
Shylo is our newest - and biggest - addition to the team!
She is a 6 year old, Clydie cross mare, that hasn't had many experiences yet.
We saw her ad on Trademe and acted quickly as we had been looking for a bigger horse since Star went into semi-retirement.
We haven't had a chance to get out on her much as she needed some hoof maintenance, but so far, she has shown a cruisy, placid nature and we think she is really going to be an asset this summer season!
Now that she has joined Ahipara Horse Treks she will definitely experience it all!
We weren’t looking for another horse, especially not in winter! But Charlie just happened.
Because Charlie’s mum and dad said he hadn’t been ridden in a very, very long time we said we would just trial him. They also wanted him to stay close by so they could visit him now and again.
Well on his second ride with us Ebony was cantering him down the beach with no arms (it was supposed to be a walking trek because we were still learning about Charlie), but he must have given Ebony such a calm and confident feeling because she wouldn’t do that on just any horse!
Every day we love Charlie more and more. He’s only been out for a couple of rides in this winter weather and even had to step in to take a trek last minute where he was perfectly behaved despite the stormy weather.
His hooves have been done and are in great condition, he’s had a visit from Julian our dentist and is aged at 13 years so he’ll have many years of adventures here with us and we are so happy and grateful to be able to welcome Charlie to our team - watch out for him this summer!
Peter Paint & Benji Button
What a pair these two are!
These little mischief makers are often seen grazing on the sweet, lush grass they aren't supposed to be eating! Their small size means they often duck underneath the tapes, rip off their grazing muzzles and proceed to expand their waistlines!
When we can get them to do some work, you can often find them as the honorary guests at a fun kids' birthday party!
Or tagging along on the swim rides - assuming you can get them past the yellow flower snacks too!
Rimmie is a project that had an "Oops" baby, so her progress has been a bit slower than Selena would have liked!
Rimmie showed lots of potential when Selena first trialed her, however despite being told there was no way she was in foal, in December 2021 she popped out a little mini-me colt!
Now that her boy is a bit more grown, we are excited to see some progress with Rimmie and we hope she will join the trekking team this summer!
If you can't tell, the coloured coat comes from her daddy, Najo.
Gypsy used to be one of our most-used trekking horses, particularly for experienced riders - and she is still Twyla's favourite!
Unfortunately a paddock injury has put Gypsy on paddock rest for a while, but we hope with gentle work she will come back and be part of the herd again.
She loves the water so we are planning on adding some water therapy to her schedule this summer!
Pepsi is the most gentle soul you have ever come across!
She was rescued from the wild as a yearling, and came with enough hoof and body issues that meant Selena had to take her education slow, but she is turning into the cutest little kids pony!
The kids absolutely love her and she has been used for a few lessons, and they even took her to a Jackpot games day, despite only having a few rides under her belt, and she didn't put a foot wrong!
Ahikaha means "strong fire" in Maori - and this describes Ahi perfectly!
Ahi is by Najo, and is an absolutely stunning horse with lots of go!
She was never used for customers, only as a guide horse as she always has to be at the front - and this job suited her perfectly as she made sure that no horse was allowed to get in front - if anyone tried her ears would go flat back and the teeth would come out!
Ahi is a mare, and mares are usually smart, and Ahi most definitely outsmarted her job here at Ahipara Horse Treks, so we knew that it was time for a change of scene for her.
She is still in the family, but you are now most likely to find her out on the farm using her teeth to help Uncle Rob shift the cattle - who needs working dogs when you have Ahi!
Thursday is the only Appaloosa in our herd!
Despite being 24 years young Thursday is a 14.2hh mare that is super light on her feet - and man can she move!
Thursday is best suited to our guides as in her younger years her fast walk meant she was always at the front. She knew her job and the trail well, leaving our guides free to do all sorts of things such as look after the trekkers or take photos etc.
Thursday has been in semi-retirement, but often comes back during the busy summer season, and like wine she has aged well!! Thursday is now happy to cruise anywhere in the group and looks after tiny kids real well! However if one of our top guides is back with us then not many will get the chance to ride Thursday as she is Jiah's favourite!
Honey is also in the semi-retirement paddock - and absolutely loves Thursday to bits! She has a strong motherly instinct and will try to claim any foals as her own - and Roma is actually Honey's son!
Honey has been with us for many years, and was a favourite for the boys to ride as she was a nice strong mare, although her high wither did not make her a popular bareback mount!
She did a few week long treks, and even tried her hand at games, barrel racing and team roping in her younger years.
Now that she is a bit older, her back issues mean we can only put very light riders on her but she is still one of our top trekkers in summer and has looked after many kids
Roma was purpose bred out of Honey by our Arab pony stallion, Bronze (who was imported from Australia).
He hung around at Treks as a foal, making a nusiance of himself until he was turned out on the farm to grow.
At 12 years old, Roma was a late start but his quiet nature is already shining through.
He has taken a real liking to kids, and has enjoyed helping Selena with lessons, and is showing real scope for jumping - we might get him in the show ring yet!
Roma still needs many more miles under his girth but we look forward to seeing him grow this summer!
Dakota also gets his good looks from Najo.
His cream coat and beautiful hazel eyes attract all the girls - which is why George likes riding him!
Dakota is best suited to a confident rider and enjoys getting out on the bigger treks - he has done all of the Trek for Life stages so far and even went all the way to the South Island, finishing a ride at the Bluff!
Rua, who's full name is actually Wairua, is also a Spirits Bay pony, but sometimes we think he should just be called "Wai" as there is no horse that loves the water as much as him! Rua once decided to swim across Whangape harbour for fun - and of course Mal went too!
As Selena's personal horse, he goes on all her trekking adventures with her! But his love of water means that you might spot him leading the Swim Rides in summer!
Mal is Nuki's personal horse from Spirit's Bay, but we sometimes need to "borrow" her when we need a slightly taller horse and she is such a good ride as well!
Mal is Rua's shadow, and makes her attachment issues well known - she doesn't like to stand still while you get on so you have to be fast!
Nuki uses Mal for weekend treks, pig hunting, the Trek for Life and all his other adventures!
Atlas is Rob's personal horse - he likes them with a bit of fire under their tail!
After riding him for one day on the Trek for Life, Rob fell in love and had to have him, and so Atlas stayed in the Far North and has been his 4WD ever since!
Rob loves getting out mustering so he and Atlas are often off on adventures.
Dobbie is Lonnie's match made in heaven!
He is such a dude, and Lonnie enjoys taking him trekking because he has reliable little legs that power over all the miles!
You won't see him taking the beach treks though because he walks too fast, but he has been used for experienced riders on our all-day or two-day treks.