Espirit De Corps Offers a Wonderful Way to See Lush Hawaiian Wilderness on Horseback: A Nice Change of Pace

By Alohi Kani

Although the sky was a bit overcast at first, the sun was soon on my side for my horseback riding adventure with Dale Rosenfeld’s horse riding academy, Espirit De Corps. With a small, but clearly tight knit staff (which of course includes the horses), Espirit immediately struck me as organized and very conscious of the well-being of both human and horse. The strong and happy relationship between the tour guide and the horse became apparent as our guide, Jamie, adjusted the horses’ equipment and tidied their saddle blankets. All seemed to be relaxed, even while getting ready for the big ride, as Jamie helped everyone onto their horses. It is always a good sign when the horses are relaxed and eager before going out on a horseback ride. Soon enough we were headed into Wailua’s backcountry terrain, which has always intrigued me with its sense of mystery.

Fortunately for me, the short discussion review regarding trail riding as well as the warm up in the arena, made me feel well prepared. It had been a while since I had ridden; a review and a warm up was exactly what I needed, and it was likely important for other riders in the same situation as well. Also, right before we left, Jamie made sure to check on everyone’s equipment and the “tightness” of the saddle on each horse’s back, known as “checking the girth,” which is key to the rider’s safety. Once we started out on the trail I felt geared up and raring go!

When we began trotting and cantering at different points along a narrow trail, Jamie checked on everyone to make sure that we were in basic “good” riding form (it’s helpful to maintain a good posture and tune into the horse’s rhythm by using “posting,” keeping your hands steady, heels down and legs tight). After a while we stopped in a lush meadow to take in a view of the mountains, which featured the “Kong” monument overlooking the ocean. We munched on guavas and snapped a few pictures before continuing on our way.

Hair, manes, and tails of both riders and horses were flapping joyfully in the wind, clearly a successful trip. The ride was fun and adventurous, but informative as well. We were shown the location where King Kong was filmed, which features a rock face that is shaped like a gorilla’s head. Later on, as we careened through the rainforest and over winding dirt paths, we got to see a unique and stunning view of The Sleeping Giant – one usually sees “the giant” from the road, but we actually got to see the landmark from “behind.”

The Espirit De Corps experience is something that should never be overlooked, in fact, I recommend to everyone to go on a ride with them at least once during their visit to Kauai. This is a great way to experience a part of Kauai that one would normally not have the opportunity to be a part of, that is, without Espirit’s help. Most trail rides are slow and very basic, and focus on the scenery only. It is rare to be able to explore the wilderness by trotting and cantering through hills and forests, and most tours limit their customers to simply walking slowly, single file, in a “nose-to-tail” ride fashion. Espirit De Corps is unique because they have something for everybody, including other varied rides such as the “A Taste Of Kauai Ride,” for beginners, the “All Day Adventure Ride” which includes a lunch and swim, the “Wow!! Ride” with extensive scenic views, and even a “Spiritual Exploration Ride” which includes a break for meditation.

Fortunately for all of you out there looking for a fun and exciting horseback ride, Espirit offers rides and lessons for everybody, no matter how experienced or inexperienced you may be! Dale will make sure that she finds just the right tour for you. There’s fun to be had for all! For more information please visit their website at kauaihorses.com.

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