Recreational riding in natural areas has long been part of the cultural and equestrian heritage of Auckland.
A popular source of enjoyment and physical activity, recreational horse riding is allowed in eight Auckland Council regional parks, says regional parks manager Richard Hollier.
Horse riding is possible at Atiu Creek, Awhitu, Duder, Hunua Ranges, Muriwai, Pae o Te Rangi (Waitakere Ranges), Te Rau Puriri, and Whakanewha regional parks, he says.
From March, people will also be able to take their horses to explore the city's newest regional park, Waitawa, which is due to open on March 8 and will offer bridle trails crossing a vast stretch of the south eastern coast.
However, to ride in any of these parks people must have an annual network horse riding pass, Mr Hollier points out. The purpose is to ensure that there is good two-way communication between park rangers and riders.
Passes ensure rider details are known in the event of an emergency. They are a means to provide up-to-date information on temporary closures and changes to access codes.
Passes are free but there is a $10 charge for the key to access the unloading area at Atiu Creek Regional park.
Riders are expected to carry their pass while riding.
Riders can camp at Atiu Creek - with a horse paddock provided alongside. And one of this park's bookable baches has a small horse paddock.
"Rider-friendly facilities, such as holding stalls, compost bins and gate latches, are becoming more common on our regional parks," says Mr Hollier.
Auckland council also has non-regional or "local parks", where riding is permitted - Totara Park in Manurewa, and Sanders Reserve, Paremoremo, North Shore.