Any recommendations for tourist riding stable on the Big Island? - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By tinyliny
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post #1 of 5 Old 11-16-2012, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
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Any recommendations for tourist riding stable on the Big Island?

We're heading to the Big Island in a couple of months, and we'd like to do one of the riding tours.

Can anyone recommend a reputable stable/ranch to go with?

I looked up all of them on Tripadvisor, and it's hard to sift through what it all really means. People tend to feel compelled to write reviews when they're upset about something, so they tend to be weighted towards the negative side. Plus the reviews from people who don't know anything about horses seem to be very positive, whereas the reviews from horse-savvy people tend to be pretty negative.

So, I've found that King's Trail Rides seems the very best, but they're also the most expensive, especially since there will be 4 of us. I might get what I pay for.
We really wanted to ride the Waipio Valley, but all the reviews from people who know horses tend to indicate a lot of negligence in the care of the horses, and just generally a rudeness of the guides, including insults and nearly extorting tips.
Some people say the Waipio Valley is fascinating, others say it's an inhospitable mud-pit.

These rides aren't cheap, and it's something that can be very memorable - in both good and bad ways, so if anyone is familiar with any of these outfits, please give your opinion and recommendations.
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post #2 of 5 Old 11-16-2012, 12:37 PM
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I have a friend who owns a condo there. I'll ask her and try to get back to you in a few days.
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post #3 of 5 Old 11-19-2012, 10:47 AM
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My friend rode at the Parker Ranch years ago and had a lot of good things to say about it. The word is that they have excellent horses.
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post #4 of 5 Old 11-19-2012, 10:51 AM
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You might send a pm to IslandWave. She currently lives in my neck of the woods for her job but is from Hawaii. She might have some ideas for you.

Life is like a camera. Focus on what's important, Capture the good times, Develop from the negatives and if things don't work out, Take another shot.
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post #5 of 5 Old 11-21-2012, 01:23 AM
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I can't be terribly helpful since we vacationed this year and opted to do our horse ride on Kauai instead of the Big Island (we visited both).

On Kauai, the CJM stables near Poipu were great and they selected very appropriate horses for my husband (a beginner) and myself. We ended up being able to canter our horses on the beach and rode into the ocean waves. It was gorgeous and I will remember it forever.

I'm not sure if you've been to the Big Island, but it sounds like you haven't been down into the Waipio valley. We parked at the top and hiked down into it. Yes, it is as steep as they say. We are very fit and I am a runner, but my legs were shaking and we stopped to rest each 100 feet or so on the way up. Down was difficult too. We hiked across the beach (no one mentioned that you have to cross a wide and swift flowing, powerful stream to get to the far side) and up the far side to where we had a great view.

We did not see anyone riding horses in the valley, but saw the horses that roam around down there. They were fairly healthy appearing, just a bit on the thin side. They walked casually by us and were not especially friendly but not frightened of us either.

The valley is beautiful and I would have enjoyed riding horses there. It is damp and rain forest-like and there are lake-sized puddles on the road. I would plan to get damp from the vegetation but it is warm and we didn't mind that it rained on us during our hike.

If you want a ride that is more about scenery than riding, I would do Waipio. I've heard that the ranch type rides are more about riding and less about scenery. From what I saw of the Big Island (we drove around, through the center and also up Mauna Kea), the grassland/ranchy areas were beautiful too, but in a far different way from the jungle type areas near Hilo. More like riding through Montana grasslands, but very bumpy and hilly terrain and with a far off ocean view.
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