#54 Go for a Romantic Horseback Ride on a Trail

June 1, 2011

I’m going to pick up from my last post about the cowboy culture of Hawaii with my next adventure!  Also taking place in Kauai, this adventure was completed on the South Shore of the island in a town called Poipu.  We really wanted to go for a horseback ride on our trip, and our local rodeo friend recommended that we head down to CJM Stables so that is exactly what we did.  Aside from beef production, another source of income for these ranches and stables are tourists coming through for horseback rides and tours.  Sorry again for being repetitive to those who took the time to read my entire Hawaii post, but I want to elaborate for those who only read the condensed version.  Before completing this bucket list item, I had only been on a horse twice in my life–once was on my 7th birthday when my parents threw my sister and I a carnival birthday party (still my favorite birthday party to date.)  They hired the neighbor who had a stable to come up with one of her horses for “pony rides” for all the kids.  We walked around the front yard a couple times with someone holding the reins from the front leading the horse around, and we called it a day.  The second time, I was about 10, and once again I didn’t have full control of my horse, as we were at the stable of a family friend, and she led the horse around the ring a couple times with me on it. 

Upon our arrival at CJM Stables, I was really excited as this would be my first time on a horse by myself without help controlling it (which also made me a little nervous!).  I was also really looking forward to a romantic experience of riding a horse down a trail with my new husband.  The best part was that the ride took place on both the beach and the mountain side; I really don’t think you can get any better than that!  My horse’s name was Hoppa, and while she listened to my commands fairly well, she was definitely a lazy one!  I think it was a good match for me though, because as a beginner, I may have freaked out with a rambunctious horse.  You know what happens when a horse feels your fear?  That’s right–they get scared, and could consequently buck you off.  Not my idea of romantic.  So Zack, the fearless one, got the spunkier horse named Dude who just ate grass the whole time on the trail (you weren’t supposed to let them eat the grass by the way–I hope this isn’t how Zack plans to discipline our future children.)  The ride was absolutely beautiful.  It was so amazing to be riding a horse right on the beach and then up through the mountainside.  We got caught in a couple rain showers, but even that couldn’t ruin the amazing scenery and experience we were having.  I picked up riding surprisingly quickly, and we had such a great time.  Our guide, Chaz, was a lot of fun, and we found out that he and his partner actually won the roping competition at the Waipa Rodeo from my previous post!  We took some photos which you will see below and enjoyed some delicious POG (Passion Fruit, Orange, Guava drink) on the trail.  At the end of the ride, I was sad that it was over and I had to say goodbye to my horse, but my legs and bum were certainly pleased that we were finished!  This is the last Hawaiian adventure I’ve completed on my bucket list to date, and I’m so grateful we were able to tick off SO many fun things while we were here!  Hawaii, especially Kauai, is definitely a must in terms of travel, so if you haven’t been there yet, make sure to plan a trip in the future!

CJM Stables

Me and Hoppa

#40 Go to a Rodeo

May 29, 2011

During my senior year of high school, my basketball team took a trip down to Disney World for a tournament.  There was a boys wrestling tournament and a boys basketball tournament also going on there at the same time we were there, and we all ended up staying at the All-Star Sports Resort during our stay.  Being the silly high school girls we were, of course we wanted to meet all the boys on our off time from the court.  One particular person I remember meeting on this trip was a boy from Texas.  I can’t remember his name, but my friends and I all thought he was a very sweet guy who portrayed the epitome of southern hospitality.  I had never been to Texas, but he told me that if I ever went I would HAVE to see a rodeo while I was there.  Well, I still haven’t made it to Texas, but I did get to see my first rodeo!  While on our honeymoon in Hawaii, Zack and I were able to check off yet another one of my bucket list items!  I know you are probably thinking “A rodeo?  In Hawaii?”  which is exactly what I thought at first too.  We met a local Hawaiian at a bar called Tahiti Nui the night before.  He was from the South Shore of Kauai, but he was up on the North Shore for the Waipa Rodeo.  At the time, we weren’t really sure if he was being serious, or if he was just “messing with the tourists,” but we decided to check it out since it wasn’t too far from where we were staying.  Turns out, he WAS being serious and you could smell the horses and cattle upon pulling into the Waipa Ranch.  We later found out that cowboy and ranch culture is a big part of the Hawaiian life.  More than a century ago, a man by the name of John Palmer Parker contracted Mexicans (called Paniolo by the Hawaiians) to come to Hawaii and teach the locals how to rope and ride a generation before their American counterparts in the “Wild West.”  The beef business boomed and the first ranch was born.  Since then, many other ranches have been born, and it still remains a part of culture today.  You have your surfers, and then you have your cowboys.  As strange as that sounds, it somehow works!  Upon our arrival, it was clear that we were among a crowd of locals who had gathered their families around to enjoy an entire day of rodeo.  Being that it was a small town rodeo, there were no huge grandstands; just one side of small bleachers, a ton of trucks pulled up, and lots of tailgating chairs to host the audience.  There was a grill to serve up some Kalua pig sandwiches and burgers and lots of kids running around.   To be honest, I really wanted to see some bull riding, but it was a little too small town for those big bulls.  However, there was lots of calf roping and mugging which was really cool to watch since neither of us had seen that before.  We chose our favorite cowboys (and one kickass cowgirl!) and cheered them on as they took off chasing the calves.  I have to admit I did feel bad for the little calves.  Although they weren’t hurt, they didn’t look like they were having too much fun.  Overall, it was a good day and a good learning experience to see a different part of the Hawaiian culture.  It also segues into my next completed adventure, so stay tuned!