I think everyone can agree that work kind of sucks, regardless of what you do for a living. At the end of the day, work is work. There are a lot of physically demanding aspects to my job but there's a lot of things I love about it as well.
#1: First of all, let's start with the pig. This here is Wilma. She is a wild boar (still a baby) that lives out in the pen with the horses. She had a family at one point out in the jungle area and somehow she got separated from them. Instead she adopted the horses as her family and she hangs out with with them, eats their scrap food, and runs from pen to pen. Some times she comes with on the trail rides and will cruise along with the group down the beach, or she will follow the group up to the tacking area. She really likes to be brushed and the other day she let me pet her nose (shown below haha.) So we have adopted a wild pig.
Sarah is an island native and has only ever left one time. She rides rodeo and has taught me all kinds of new Hawaiian lingo, as well as weird food, and showed me how to ninja up onto a horse's back.
Javier, the polo trainer, is pretty much amazing (I'm a naming a child after him) First of all, he is an absolutely incredible horseman and has taught me so much. He's always so patient and is a great teacher, to both people and horses. He's hilarious and always has stories (one of his horses was a baby and somehow ended up climbing on top of his car. He also came back from surfing one day and had to rescue some poor guy that got tipped over in an outhouse!) His horses love him and he's always joking around. Not to mention he's from Argentina, so his accent makes everything that much better. Over here he has a string of polo horses. I was trying to get a picture of him in action but they were all blurry. Instead of trotting sets (like he has us do) he took this string and was hauling ass around the polo field. You haven't seen someone ride until they are at a gallop and flipping around turns while leading four other horses!
Gary, our maintenance guy, is also awesome. He's super sweet and hilarious- a little bit crazy sounding and off beat with a super funny laugh. He also loves his cat and takes him for walks on the beach. (This is Dewey the cat)
#3: The horses of course. The trail horses (and the polo horses) are so full of personality and are all super fun to ride. We ride several different horses a day and my favorite part is ponying everybody to and from the beach (especially at night when it's moonlit...even though you can't see anything) We always jump on bareback and in a little rope halter, pony along two or three horses with us, and ride in a huge pack up from the beach. I've had to really practice some new skills-it's one thing to ride one horse and another to lead several others at the same time!
A lot of people ask if it's dangerous- yes it probably is! My old boss back home would have a shit fit. For the most part everyone is extremely well behaved and we don't have any issues. However, it is important to keep them in a certain order. One time I was riding a horse that I usually don't and he got competitive with the other two I was leading (while heading home for dinner.) Next thing I knew he takes off and we are flying down the beach at a run (I let go of the other two since I figured they would run alongside anyway until we got to the gate) we jumped a sand hill and came to a stop at the gate. I was gripping on so hard! It would be a real shame to fall off and get stepped on- but he had a super bony back so that wasn't great. Once we all stopped I yelled at everyone because I'm pretty sure they planned the whole thing.
A few of my favorites- Angelo, Blossom, Papi, and Clara.
Riding the polo horses is also fun. We do what are called "sets" which is where you ride one and pony a few with you, and do a fast trot around the polo field for conditioning. For an hour or so. (It conditions us just as much as the horses!
#4: Feeding. Weird to say, but we take the ATV loaded up with feed and go flying down the beach and over sand dunes. Feeding is a total pain but its pretty exhilarating to get done!
(this is about what it feels like.)
Anyway. Happy tales from the trail!