Monday, December 23, 2013

Horseback Riding in Paradise

My husband and I went to the big island of Hawaii for our silver anniversary.  Because he works all the time, he was mainly interested in resting, but he was willing to go on a horseback ride.  I researched our options and chose an outfit that would take us into the mountains to view waterfalls, valleys, and the ocean.

Our guide picked us up in a van and gave us a little tour of his town on the way to the stables, pointing out the various plants, trees and flowers that are native to the area.  He said something about giving each of us a rope and letting us pick out and catch whatever horse we wanted to ride, and I thought, "Wow, people are really easygoing here in Hawaii."

It turned out he was kidding.  He had our horses saddled, ready and waiting based upon information we previously provided regarding our weight and experience.  We were there with another couple.  The man's parents owned an Arabian horse farm on another island, but his wife only rode a horse once before.  My husband doesn't ride much, so the other man and I got the horses that required more experienced riders.  I was assigned a pretty Paint named Magic.

Magic made me laugh with his antics.  Each time I got busy taking pictures, he'd take advantage of my inattention by snatching snacks along the trail and taking off at a trot or canter just for the heck of it.  At one point I aimed him into a fairly deep water puddle to see if he'd go, and immediately regretted it because he wanted to drop and take a bath.  I still felt he was easier to control than any of my horses, so it was a fun and relaxing ride.  My saddle was incredibly comfortable too.  I meant to find out if it was a known brand and model before leaving, but I forgot.



The guide brought his two Dobermans and Pit Bull along to fend off wild pigs.  They did circle the bushes a few times, and I suspect they had something cornered in there.  Magic didn't like the dogs much and occasionally ordered them to back off by lowering his head and putting his face right into their faces, glaring at them eye-to-eye.  The dogs sure seemed to love him, though.

The guide warned me to hang onto the saddle horn because sometimes Magic would lunge forward and charge the dogs.  A few seconds after he said that, my horse did charge the dogs.  It turned out that the dogs had a tendency to pester whatever horse was at the back of the pack, as if they knew part of their job was to keep the horses moving along.  I was trailing on the way up the mountain, and the other woman was the caboose on the way down.  At one point we heard her yelping for help because her horse was getting out of control.  It turned out that her horse was charging the dogs because they kept circling it.

They were very sweet dogs, though.  We dismounted our horses and took a half hour break at some hitching posts on a cliff that overlooked the Waipi'o Valley, and the dogs were loving all over me, leaning on me, climbing in my lap, licking my hands...  Well, they were licking my hands because the guide gave us each a star fruit to snack on and I got juice all over myself.

The guide picked leaves and flowers along the trail and handed them to us as we rode past him.  He explained what each of them were.  One was a flower that he told us to wear over our left ear if we were taken, and our right ear if we were available.  He joked about how hard it is for island men to find island women they aren't related to.  He said that if a man finds a woman who is more distant than a second cousin and who can cook, he marries her.

Looking down into the valley, he told us that is one location on the island where one can find wild horses that are descendants of the domesticated horses that had to be left behind during the most recent tsunami.  Islanders had to evacuate in a hurry, and left their animals to fend for themselves.  Those horses that survived created many generations of wild herds.




While we were enjoying our snack and the view, another group of tourists rode past on ATVs.  I thought it was interesting that more people chose to ride ATVs than to ride horses.  During our entire week on the island, we searched out local restaurants to try out new menus.  I remember one local man walked into a place where we were dining, and the waitresses asked how he liked his new motorcycle.  He said he loved it, because it never bites or kicks him.  I guess he had a horse before for transportation.

We savored every moment of our horseback ride in paradise knowing it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us.






9 comments:

Cindy D. said...

Well that there is a darn good reason for the belated response on my post.
Talk about gorgeous!!!!! I am beyond envious right now. Looks like you had a wonderful relaxing time, which you were past due for.

Once Upon an Equine said...

Happy Anniversary and Wow! What a way to spend it. Looks like a fabulous time.

Brenda said...

Great pictures! I can't imagine preferring ATVs over horses, either. Lol. Enjoy your trip.

ellie k said...

WOW, that was a great anniv. Celebration. I am So happy for you all.sounds like a dream vacation.

Mary said...

Gosh that looks so pretty! How wonderful that you got to there for your 25th! Happy Aniversary! Magic sounds like he was a lot of fun too!

GunDiva said...

I would so love to do this! I wanted when we went for our honeymoon, but time was limited. One of these days...

fernvalley01 said...

Wow!! I have missed so much! Happy Anniversary! And what a beautiful way to celebrate. I will say Merry Christmas now , and then go read back to see whats up in your world

achieve1dream said...

Happy belated anniversary!! What an amazing ride through Hawaii!! That is so cool. I hope someday my husband and I can do that. :D

Linda said...

Yes, this is the same one! I rode JR, and my husband rode Magic. Magic was a funny horse. He removed his own bridle at the hitching post above Waipio Valley. haha. Those wild pigs were something else!! They were eating the horse's food at the main building. We heard one screeching after we left. Who knows what happened to it. Our guide was named Roy.