On one of the first extensive trips SVV and I took together—through and around the bite-sized country of Denmark in 2006—we had an unfortunate experience with horseback riding. I should start by telling you that I’ve done a fair amount of riding in more recent years. Growing up, my time on a horse was pretty minimal (though I did go to riding camp a summer or two), but when I got to college, I worked in Arizona on a horse ranch during my summer breaks, riding anywhere from three to six hours a day. My point: I may not be an expert, but I do know how to handle a horse.
So when we arrived at a horse farm near Blockhus, Denmark, the lady saddled up our equine, Flicka and Flora, and sent us on our merry little ways. Alone. We followed the trail to the beach and promptly were bucked off—first me, and then SVV followed in what I thought to be a move of sympathy—the closer we tried to nudge the horses toward the sand. It was my first and only time getting thrown from the horse, and I could have killed that smug horse owner who didn’t tell us until after that the horses hate the beach and will always rebel when taken near it. Which was just awesome given that we paid money to go on a beach horseback ride.
Luckily, this time was not at all like that.
When we got to Turtle Bay, we had a bit of time to unpack and roam the grounds before walking out to the stables. We were booked on a sunset ride along the coastline where Turtle Bay is located. We arrived early, and our paniolo was nowhere to be found, so we explored the pastures and made friends with the locals.
This mare, in particular, loved her some SVV.
Our leader finally arrived with our saddled horses and had us step onto a platform to mount. Psst. I would have rather done it the real way, but it wasn’t allowed (for safety reasons, I imagine).
I was riding Feather, and SVV was on some horse whose name escapes me but who, for the sake of this post, I will reference as Pokey, as he was just that. Observe him far behind the pack, just moments after we left the barn:
Pokey was one hungry fella. As much as he tried to keep a firm hand, SVV just couldn’t keep Pokey out of the foliage. He sauntered along with an ever-present branch full of leaves dangling from his mouth.
We rode leisurely for awhile on the dirt path then detoured into the woods, passing some famous sites along the way.
Bonus points for those who can tell me what movie or TV show was filmed in this very spot and, furthermore, what scene(s).
I couldn’t even share the revelation with SVV as, once again, he was lagging way behind, out of earshot.
I will say this: If you’re vacationing at Turtle Bay and have been on a horse before, you might want to consider booking an advanced (or private) ride instead. I didn’t know there was an option, and I think with our experience on horses we would have been better suited for a group with a little bit of riding experience. (The others on our ride, a family of four from Albany, had never even been on a horse before! City folk.) Plus, in the beginner group, you’re only allowed to walk; no trotting, no cantering. But it was still a fun, relaxed experience nonetheless and a great first taste of the Oahu landscape.
As the sun began to sink down behind the trees—and SVV started swatting skeeters far behind the pack; they love him, the mozzies—we veered toward the beach and plodded back to the resort along the sand. Finally, five years later, I was getting my beach ride.
Pokey even decided to catch up to the group for the occasion.
Have you ever been on a beach horseback ride? What did you think?
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