Had another lovely day! Went riding all morning at Harakeke which is a 3,000 acre farm owned by Karen Niederer (who was a member of the 1996 NZ Olympic 3 day eventing team). Took some persuasion because they don’t really take public bookings any longer, but between us and our motel owner we eventually managed. Picked up at 9.45am from our motel by Jo and the three of us went out for a 2.5 hour ride across Harakeke’s open farmland. We all rode chestnut quarter horses and used western saddles (which are better really for the terrain – very steep). The weather is cooler today and it rained a little when we were riding – but this was good because it kept us cool. Karen asked me twice over the phone (last night and this morning) whether we still wanted to ride as it was raining but I told her we are English and used to it! We rode up and up several minor volcanos until we were high above the land and had spectacular views. John managed really well on his horse – even when he spooked at a pheasant and had a little canter. Returned stiff, smelly & happy. Karen’s yard reminds me of Christine Stuckelberger’s – it’s not at all glamorous, but tidy and professional and crammed with horses, equipment and trophies. Jo takes us over to see their labrador puppies, who are only 4 weeks old – they are absolutely adorable. Tempted to smuggle one home under my jacket! Then she drives us back to our motel and we walk into town for lunch – both starving so opt for fast food. McDonalds in Taupo is the most glamorous one I have ever seen – they have a coffee shop, plasma screens, trendy seating and a (real) 1943 Dakota (decorated with the McDonalds logo) in their kids play area. I think John feels the Dakota has come to a sad end – but at least it’s being admired and used! Can’t resist another nose around Scenic Cellars, but limit our purchases to manuka honey and pear ice cream. Walk back and later go for a swim in the lake. It’s pretty cold water and John is a chicken! I just plunge straight in as usual – it’s lovely and refreshing! Return and warm up in our hot tub.