I had a horse when I was a kid. Her name was Munchie, she liked to eat a lot, and she was part of the free feral horse roundup program in the 80’s. That meant that if you could catch a horse, you could keep that horse. My dad and his friend caught two for us. My brother gave his horse a more noble name- Thunder. Both horses had to be ‘broken’ so we could ride them, a task that took my dad and brother a number of weeks and a number of posterior bruises to accomplish. Munchy was a great horse and I learned a lot about how to care for a large animal. We even won a couple of ribbons for her minding me, or maybe for me minding her.
Anyway, it had been a while since I’d been on a horse (not since childhood, but certainly not since the calendar turned from a 19– to a 20–) when the idea of an Island ride came into my head. I hit up my friend from the Mainland who’s been living here for the past several months to join me on an adventure (we were also supposed to have a baby goat yoga adventure, but that had to be postponed- story to come later). I researched several options for rides and settled upon Wailea Horseback Adventure (https://waileahorsebackadventure.com), which is located across the parking lot from the Umauma Experience. The key to my choice was the promise of a private waterfall where we could swim, paddleboard, kayak, or rest at the halfway point.
We arrived promptly at 9am for our designated time and were introduced to our fellow riders and our guides. We were then paired up with our horses. Much to my delight, I was paired with Kona, a beautiful Paint. I’d always wanted a painted pony and was quite excited to be given Kona for the day. Our guides put the horses in the appropriate order (some of them need to lead or they’ll get aggressive, and some of them like to hang towards the back, and most of them like to have a reasonable cushion between them and the next feller) and off we went.
The trail was a gradual climb, and our guides provided us with interesting history and information about the property as we went along. We also learned, or re-learned, the proper way to sit when going up or down a steeper incline. The horses all handled it masterfully- probably since they take this trip every day- and none of us fell off (bonus!).
We arrived at the Grand Pavillion, and took the stairs down to a covered picnic spot next to the waterfall. A few folks chose to paddleboard or kayak, but my friend and I chose to just lounge and enjoy the sounds and the views. As we rested, several groups of zipliners passed above us throwing shakas and doing tricks with GoPros attached to their helmets..
After a the rest, we remounted our horses for the trip back down to the stable. Again, a nice slow decline in elevation. Towards the end, we were encouraged to let our horses trot if we wanted to. You could tell several of them were itching to cut loose. Several of them also enjoyed snack-and-walk time on the banana leaves that lined the route back.
It was a beautiful day, a beautiful ride, and I was so happy with my beautiful horse. Almost made up for not being able to walk properly for the next couple of days..