As a longtime horseback riding enthusiast who’s even owned horses, I find there’s no better way to reconnect with nature and myself than on the back of a horse, especially in the breathtaking landscapes of Hawaii. And Kauai, our family’s beloved second home, holds a special place in my heart… as does horseback riding in Kauai!
One of the best ways to truly immerse in the beauty of Kauai is through horseback riding. Whether it’s navigating treacherous bluffs, meandering along shimmering coasts, trotting on white sandy beaches, or pausing to admire roaring waterfalls, horseback riding here is an unparalleled experience. It’s a journey of discovery – just you, your trusty steed, and the endless wonders of Kauai.
Below, you will find information on 3 awesome places you can book horseback riding with. I will also go over what to bring along with you and what to wear!
Best Horseback Riding in Kauai
As a mom of six, I understand the challenge of finding activities that captivate and engage the entire family. Kauai, with its natural beauty and array of adventures, is the perfect place to try something new and exciting together like horseback riding.
So, from our family to yours, here are our top picks for horseback riding adventures in Kauai. Saddle up, and let’s embark on a journey that promises both adventure and serenity!
Princeville Ranch is not only a fantastic spot for horseback riding, but it also offers a rich history that spans three centuries back to the 1800s when horses were the main method of getting around. Before Princeville began raising horses, however, they were a cattle ranch. It wasn’t until 1978 that they began inviting the paying public to mount up and hit the trails.
Today, Princeville Ranch welcomes visitors 4 years old and up to partake in horseback rides, horseback riding lessons, and all things having to do with horses. They are one of the premier places for riding in Kauai.
Lessons are completely comprehensive, offering a cursory glance at every required skill. Guests are first taught the basics, like grooming and spatial awareness, and both English and Western-style riding are taught in either of their two riding arenas.
So, you’ll learn how to take safety first, but that’s not all. The lead instructor will also teach you and your family about how to care for horses, how to build a cooperative relationship and bond with them, and how to get the most out of every and any horseback ride you take from there on out. Combined with the spectacular scenery as your backdrop, you’ll learn how to ride a horse like a real cowboy in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Just make sure you rehearse what you’re going to say when your kids look at you with those big eyes and say, “Can we keep him?”
Giving tours along the South Shore, CJM Country Stables is the quintessential South Shore tour experience that provides guests with an unrivaled selection of horseback riding adventures, both along the coastline and through the mountains. So, you’ve got a horseback ride for any mood or preference.
The Secret Picnic Ride, for example, sets the perfect vibe for families and small groups that like to take it easy and have a bite while they’re at it. After riding for an hour along the picturesque coastline, you and your party will dismount and hit the beach for a little fun in the sun while your tour guide prepares a picnic lunch of tasty sandwiches, ice-cold drinks, and other island favorites.
The Maha’ulepu Scenic Ocean, Mountain, Valley Ride, on the other hand, is a bit more involved, taking you through the historic Maha’ulepu and giving you a chance to see loads of native plants and wildlife as well as panoramic views of the beautiful Pacific Ocean.
If you’re not sure what experience would work best for your current level of riding experience, you can’t beat the Private Kauai Horseback Rides package. CJM tailors the ride specifically to your abilities, so things are never too tough, never too much, and always just right. This is the one tour where trotting is allowed if you want your horse to put a little pep in their step.
Whatever tour you choose, we recommend you reserve your spot ASAP, as slots fill quickly and everything is subject to availability. So, book your ride, sit back, and get ready for an unforgettable experience courtesy of CJM Country Stables.
Healing Horses Kauai began as an extension of Karin Stoll’s private practice in social work way back in 2001. Stoll found that her clients were having more focused sessions and opening up more when in the presence of horses because, well, horses are calm and comforting by nature.
In 2008, Healing Horses Kauai received non-profit status and today offers riding lessons, camps for children, community outreach, and volunteer opportunities. Semi-private lessons begin by grooming and saddling the horses followed by instruction on how to ride. From there, you can ride under the supervision of an experienced instructor.
It’s a great place to check out if you’re on vacation, but it’s even sweeter if you’re planning to spend a few weeks in Kauai, as Healing Horses offers 4-week or 8-week riding packages. They also offer riding and horsemanship camps for children ages 4 to 18 if you’re trying to give your children their own special adventure. Admission is otherwise available for a single day, two days, or an entire week, so you have many options to get into horseback riding at Healing Horses no matter how long you plan to stay in Kauai.
Children will get to ride the horses, groom them, learn about animal behavior, and make crafts.
At Healing Horses Kauai, you can spend just an hour or an entire day learning about the horses and going on a beautiful horseback ride with sweeping views of the mountains.
How to Prepare for Horseback Riding in Kauai
What to Bring
As they say, “luck favors the prepared,” so you’ll guarantee a better horseback riding experience if you show up to your ride with a few basic items on your person once you’ve booked your horseback riding tour with your desired horseback riding company.
One of the most important things to bring is water. Some horseback riding companies supply water so you and your poor horsey don’t get parched in the unrelenting Hawaiian sun, but you’ll be better off bringing your own water in an insulated water bottle, canteen, or other suitable receptacle. Pack more water than you think you need. You’ll be surprised how fast you go through it when temperatures rise well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
By that same token, you also want to make sure to slather on the sunscreen prior to your ride. Never underestimate the Hawaiin sun; you’ll burn faster than you can say “aloha!” if you think you’re immune to those ultraviolet rays. The riding helmet will provide some protection, but it can only do so much.
Bug spray can’t hurt either. The verdant forests full of native Hawaiian plants and animals are beautiful, but they’re also home to flies, mosquitos, and other bothersome insects that love the smell of horses. Bug bites don’t make a good souvenir, so spritz on the bug spray.
One final thing— if the horseback riding company doesn’t provide lunch and/or snacks during your tour, make sure to pack plenty of things to eat for when the ride is over. Despite the horse doing the bulk of the exercise, horseback riding can really work up an appetite for the rider!
What to Wear on Your Ride
A Hawaiian vacation is the perfect time to strip off the extra layers and bask in the sun wearing a brand-new swimsuit. It’s not always the best choice for attire when riding a horse, however, and you may be prohibited from wearing certain items, depending on which place you choose for your ride.
Some horseback riding companies require you to wear long pants and close-toed shoes such as boots and sneakers. The pants protect your legs from chafing as they rub against the horse’s abrasive hide. Close-toed shoes also offer comfort, but they’ll keep your toes safe as well.
As you can see above, Shea is just wearing a hoodie, sweats, and tennis shoes while riding. It doesn’t have to be over-complicated, just comfortable!
People love hitting the sandy shores of Kauai for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing, but horseback riding in Kauai is another great way to commemorate the family vacation with an experience you’re sure to cherish for years to come!
Check out some horseback riding in Kauai on your next vacation and you’ll feel like a real Hawaiian cowboy or cowgirl as you ride in paradise! Yee-haw!
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