While in Puerto Rico I checked a lot of things off my bucket list. Although there was an activity that I didn’t even know was on my bucket list, horseback riding! While we were there we were invited by family to join them on an excursion in horseback riding. Now I had never been horseback riding, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was more excited than anything. If you’re looking to go horseback riding in Puerto Rico, I highly recommend the following tips.
Buy Your Voucher in Advance
We rode with Tropical Trail Rides in Isabela, in the Northwest region of Puerto Rico. If you’re around the area, this is a great option for the whole family. They give discounts if you pay in cash instead of a credit card the day of your ride, but you can still call and book your time slot in advance. If you’re going in a group be sure to make that known, that way everyone in your group rides at the same time.
Wear appropriate clothes like long pants (yoga pants worked great). Pants will prevent painful chafing as your legs rub against the saddle. Tight pants that don’t allow for a lot of rubbing work best. You’ll want to leave anything valuable in the car if it’s not in a pocket or tied down to you. The speed and jostling of the horse along with the wind and branches you’ll come across will make it highly probable that you’ll lose something.
Our guides were local Puerto Ricans who guided us in English and Spanish. Your guide will give you tips on how to manage your horse, and take over if need be. They will try their best to keep you safe while making sure you enjoy the ride. I’m not sure how other companies proceed but when you ride with Tropical Trail Rides you are on your own horse, following the group which is led by your guide. I was lucky enough to be first in line right behind our group guide, so I could hear everything they were saying. But with that came relaying the messages like “watch out for branches”, or “we are speeding up” to the people behind me. During the ride, I was able to talk to our guide and learn a bit of what it’s like working with horses and how each horse takes some time to get used to. At the end of your ride, they appreciate a tip, and I thought that was appropriate. I had a great time after all.
Quick Tips For Horseback riding
- Make sure your feet are placed with your heels facing up towards the sky in your stirrups. This will ensure that you are almost standing in your stirrups which will help keep you centered on the saddle.
- Don’t hold on to the actual saddle, but instead hold on to the reigns. This also helps with your posture on the saddle and helps center you on the saddle, which allows for less bouncing as you ride. This took me a little while to get used to, but it does help.
- Think of the reigns as your steering wheel for the horse. When you pull the reigns to the left your horse will go left, when you pull your reigns back your horse will stop etc. While pulling, it is recommended you do so gently, pulling too hard can cause your horse to jolt back or get upset.
- Giving your horse taps with your heels as your ride tells them you want to go faster or to walk. You don’t have to kick too hard though, as these horses are trained to have riders.
- Finally, each horse is different so have patience.
Be Nice to Your Horse
One of the first things they tell you when you are assigned a horse is how to properly hold the reigns, sit and command your horse. And with that comes making your horse feel comfortable with you. I made sure I gave my horse, named Peanut, by the way, lots of pats, rubs, and to talk to her affirmatively so that she would feel comfortable listening to my commands. I absolutely loved my horse. Peanut was calm which helped me quickly adjust to riding. Now, does your attitude alone allow for a corporative horse? No, just ask some of my family members, who had horses that wanted to do their own thing. But I truly enjoyed my ride and I think that had something to do with showing my horse some affection.
What You Might See
While on our horseback rides we went through mountains, flatlands and finally we rode on the beach. Riding on the beach was my absolute favorite part of the riding experience. While there, our guides helped us take pictures and helped us off our horses so that we could enjoy the ocean. It was an experience out of a movie for me and is one I highly recommend. I look forward to horseback riding again when I return to Puerto Rico next year.
I hope these tips encourage you to go horseback riding while in Puerto Rico. If you do use these tips, please let me know in the comments or on social media. Have you ever been horseback riding?- T.S.
Here is a 50-sec video of my experience. Our ride was longer than that of course, but this is a condensed version. Although my action cam was mounted the video is a bit shaky, sorry about that. I was riding a horse after all.