Horsin' Around in Po'ipu Kauai

Horses have always fascinated me.

Of course, Hollywood played a role in this obsession. I’ll never forget how jealous I was of Elizabeth Taylor’s equestrian talents in movies such as Black Beauty and National Velvet.

And then, there were the friendly police horses whose stable was within walking distance of our home in suburban Pittsburgh. I can still recall my mother’s annoyance at my depleting the fridge of apples and carrots on a regular basis--but what joy it was to give those steeds a daily treat. I can still feel their soft nuzzles in my palm as they munched down on those tasty tidbits.

I wasn’t really expecting to have a horse encounter during our recent visit to Kauai. Here we were on the south shore of Kauai’s Po'ipu Beach, best known for its pristine sandy beaches, with excellent snorkeling, boogie boarding and surfing opportunities, to name a few of the aquatic activities available to the visitor. It was hardly a place where you’d envision a rustic ranch and a stable of horses.

But then we were introduced to CJM Stables, and thus began an adventure that was truly one of the highlights of our trip to the Garden Isle.

Mind you, my husband Tony and I have ridden horseback just a handful of times, the last occasion being well over a decade ago. So I naturally felt some trepidation as we approached the stables, which are located a few miles from Po'ipu Beach on the site of a working cattle ranch.

There were several people lined up for our morning tour, all of whom obviously had more recent experience on horseback than we. However, the capable crew at the stables quickly quelled our fears and, upon our request, outfitted us with mild-mannered and gentle horses.  They helped us into the saddles (they even provide a platform that makes getting into the saddle so much easier than if you are starting from ground level) and the glorious adventure began…..

Our horses trotted gently through grasses and plains on a red dirt trail, reaching breathtakingly beautiful bays and beaches that one just doesn’t readily see from the road.  Every turn brought forth a gasp of awe from our group, as we meandered through lush vegetation to reach a clearing that afforded us a spectacular view of the rugged coastline. Our affable guide embellished the entire experience with his tales of ancient and historic Hawaiian legends when we stopped at various beaches and outcroppings along the trail.

Riding along a sandy beach on horseback was always one of my fantasies, and this adventure actually allowed me that thrill at long last. My gentle horse, “Quick and Easy,” nimbly led me over the coastal rocks and sand and with equal grace, carried me over the mountain trail above the shore on our trip back to the ranch. The vistas along every part of this route never failed to inspire, and the joy of seeing this awesome scenery from horseback will remain a vivid memory of our trip to Kauai.

The “Scenic Valley Beach Ride” we experienced is available daily at 9:30 am and 2:00 pm.  Log on to the CJM Stables web site at: www.cjmstables.com  for more details on this activity, as well as other tour options.

Happy Trails to You….