Have a look at what others are saying about our services...


Some of our Happy Clients

"To whom it may concern,

I would like to give my recommendation to anyone who was thinking of using the Pirongia Clydesdales for a production or occasion. Nick and Jill van der Sande are extremely cautious and realistic of all that is required of these beautiful horses. We have now used them twice for The Grand Pageant in Waipu in front of large audiences. Every member of the 300 cast who all worked in very close proximity with them felt totally safe at all times. On both occasions we never had doubt that they would perform with panache and reliability working along side such hazards as pipe bands, the Kapahaka group, other animals and even fireworks. I consider The Pirongia Clydesdales a great asset to this country. The van der Sande family are also very professional and pleasant to work with.

Lachie McLean
Director of The Grand Pageant of Waipu

"Hi Nick, Jill & Samantha

We can not thank you enough for helping to make our wedding 100% perfect. Your venue and your family and your horses provided us with a wedding that we will remember for the rest of our lives and we would not change a thing.

It was a real pleasure to deal with you in organising the wedding and you were very accomodating for us coming down a few times to check it out and do our measuring etc :-)

We also received feedback from all guests saying that they had a fantastic time and many said that it was the best wedding they had ever been to. I think this is a credit to you and your venue, which provided such a relaxed atmostphere. And another friend who had been to many 'flashy' Auckland weddings around the same time said that the food at our wedding was the best out of all, in fact many people commented to us about how great the food was - and that there was plenty of it.

Anyway I hope that all is well with you and your family. It was a real pleasure to get to know you and we cant thank you enough for everything.

Best regards,

Fran, Brady & Farrah (born 5th July 2012)"

"Thanks so very much for your fantastic service with the Clydesdales on Saturday. They truely are a credit to you both. The horses were definitely the highlight of Dad's day. He will be talking about it for a very long time. The party was a great sucess as well. We had a huge crowd turn up (over 200) the oldies danced and boogied for hours and great fun was had by all.

Once again sincerest thanks for helping to make such a wonderful day for Dad.

Kindest regards

Sandy Powell."

"Dear Van der Sande Family

Congratulations on receiving the Traditional Tradesperson, Professional or Volunteer Services Award, for your knowledge and skills of traditional horse drawn carriage driving within your business of Pirongia Clydesdales at the 2009 Waipa Heritage Awards held recently.

This is an outstanding award to have received and acknowledges your commitment and dedication to your business, and keeping the Pirongia Clydesdales operation traditionally authentic.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all every success for the future.

Good luck and best wishes.

Yours sincerely,

Shane Ardern

"Nick and Jill brought their stunning Clydesdales out to our property on a beautiful crisp clear day in July. We booked them to carry our father’s coffin over farmland to our family cemetery for his burial. They arrived in plenty of time to prepare the horses and carriage immaculately for the task. Guests had time to admire and take photos of the team which were impeccably mannered. It was just a most special morning as family walked behind the horses down to the cemetery with a drummer walking in front. We all watched in silent awe as Nick directed and maneuvered these mighty animals to pull up and back into cemetery gate-way. It was a most splendid procession to honour our very much loved father who had loved the land and had fondness for the Clydesdale breed of horses.

Thank you Nick and Jill for helping to make what was a very unique and treasured day for our family

the Furniss family."

“Dear Nick and Jill,

On behalf of my fellow students in the Horse Business Management course at Marcus Oldham College, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to visit Pirongia Clydesdales and for the time you spent with us.

We all found the visit most interesting and informative. As many of us intent to make our careers in the horse industry, being able to see a different side was really appreciated.

All of us were very impressed with the high standard and felt we learnt a great deal. Thank you again, the co-operation and involvement in our course of leading industry people such as yourself, is truly appreciated.”

Bryan Carlson
Marcus Oldham College

"To the van der Sande family (Mark & Sam).

We would like to thank you so much for making our wedding day so memorable... Mark and Sam were perfect and our wedding was awesome because of the horses! We had the perfect day and you made it just that! It couldn't have been better!! Thank you for your time."

Emma and Lincoln Carr

"I was appointed National Sponsorship and Events Manager for DB Breweries Ltd, a position which included management of the DB Clydesdales operation...

The one thing I did not have to worry about was the management and care of the Clydesdale team itself as Nick and Jill are widely recognised as the best available in this country, and they are also widely respected overseas with other similar teams with whom we maintained contact. Nick's team driving skills were regularly put to the test under some very stressful situations but he was always able to cope magnificently and his considerable skills were also used to carry out team driving demonstrations at shows and other events to which the team were invited. On one occasion in Christchurch Nick carried out a driving skills demonstration using a 10 horse team, something that is almost unheard of here and overseas...

...It was essential the team was maintained, trained and turned out to very high standards. The highest standards of all were set by Nick and Jill themselves...

...I would simply summarise their ability to manage the Clydesdales... 'Totally Dedicated and Professional'".

Dave Christensen
Impact International

"Having heard only rave reports on the Pirongia Clydesdale Carriage Driving Clinic held in Palmerston Nth, I very quickly made arrangements for a session to be held in the Christchurch area, on hearing Nick van der Sande and the Team were coming to the South Island.

Our group was small, just 9 folk, due to the clinic being held over two weekdays. However, this only contributed to the friendly and informal atmosphere of the sessions, as Nick and the Team took us through the two days of informative Carriage Driving lessons.

Everyone present agreed, there is a great deal to be learned from Nick’s experienced method of teaching. We particularly enjoyed his instruction on the Achenbach driving method and all have vowed to persist with our newly learned skills!

I personally had been having driving problems with my gelding, Monty. I thought my “on the ground” training had not been sufficient and I had perhaps “rushed” Monty. Nick found Monty to be responsive to the bit and that he had learned his skills well. My problems lay with my own driving skills, or rather, lack of! With Nick’s help I am now mastering my new technique and keeping good contact with the mouth throughout turns. Consequently, I have a much more responsive animal. A very small adjustment but a huge result!

I felt I learned a great deal from the clinic, not only about carriage driving, but also about myself, as a driver."

Margaret Salkeld
President Donkey & Mule Society of NZ

“Dear Nick and Jill,

Thank you for the fabulous day and the awesome venue. Everybody has since said to us they have never enjoyed a Wedding so much. Probably the coach rides and horses around made for an enjoyable day… Thank you for all your help. Know you will help to give lots of other couples a happy day.”

Sharon and Gordon Chatterton

"At Hunt Farm, we represent the Friesian Horse in New Zealand. We commit our integrity to the breed, hence, the people that we allow involvement with our horses must be the best.

The Friesian is a new breed in they must have the BEST trainers.......we could not go past Pirongia Clydesdales..... We look on Nick and Jill as being the best one on one training / teamsters available in NZ."

Ailene McLaren and Jules Phillips
Hunt Farm, Cambridge

"A Great Night Out"

At the end of last year 24 of us from the Mahoe St Medical Centre went out to the Pirongia Clydesdales for our Christmas Party. What a great night we had! We started with drinks and nibbles and a look around the stables, meeting a few of the animal characters in residence. Then, wine and beer in hand we climbed abroad the wagons and set off for a wonderful early evening ride around Pirongia. The weather was gorgeous and it was a most relaxing way to view the mountain and township. We stopped for photos, swapped wagons if we wished, and admired the strength of the horses, and the skill and competence of the drivers!

Back to the stables and the barn to admire the old and new Carriages and enjoy a generous barbecue with plenty of freshly prepared food. Then the music played and we chatted and danced and felt under no pressure to wind up and go home even when it got quite late. We took our own drinks which kept the costs down, and provided some of our own music, although both drinks and music were on site if needed.

It was a great evening, and thank you to all at Pirongia Clydesdales, we can thoroughly recommend and outing to this quite quintessential Kiwi Experience!

Janion Heywood
Mahoe St Family Medical Centre
Te Awamutu

"As President of the Rotorua Central Probus Club I write to congratulate you on your operation. The obvious dedication to publicising the Clydesdale horse and its place in our agricultural history is excellent. The meal you provided and the interest you showed in our questions, made this a day to remember.

Again our warmest thanks and all good wishes for the future."

The Rev. Canon Gerald Hadlow

"I took my class of International students to see the Clydesdale horses as an end of term treat, and we had a wonderful outing.

We watched the horses being harnessed and handled, and the students especially enjoyed the ride on the wagon behind the huge animals. We also met the other animals on the farm.
It was a day with a difference, and I consider that we are fortunate to have such a unique facililty in this area, run by such friendly people."

Jane Wilson
E.S.O.L Teacher, Hamilton

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