Some experiences are just made for bucket lists — staying in an overwater bungalow, swimming with sharks, exploring exotic islands, or sailing into the sunset, are all prime examples — and riding a horse into the ocean is definitely worthy of a place on that list. If you’re not allergic to horses, anyways. 😉
Most of the time, our animal encounters occur out in the wild as we explore their natural habitat, so as we considered a horseback riding adventure I approached with extreme caution. I never want to participate in, or contribute to, any form of animal abuse, so I end up spending a lot of time researching and reading reviews in order to make sure that the animals are treated how I would treat my animals — which is basically like doggie royalty (in case you didn’t know). 🙂 This additional research lead us to skip horseback riding in St. Maarten a few years back, as well as pass on elephant rides in Thailand.
As I researched the many adventures found on the island of Providenciales, I came across Provo Ponies and was instantly intrigued. Founded in 2001, Provo Ponies started as a rescue operation for mistreated and abused horses on TCI. Initially, the rescue involved seven horses, and over the last sixteen years this operation has grown into a fully functioning riding stable with over 30 horses and ponies.
Interestingly enough, on the morning of our ride I learned that Cody had never rode on a horse before, which was news to me; however, we both agreed that there would be no better place to learn how to ride than in paradise. (Lucky guy!)
When we arrived at the Provo Ponies stables shortly after 9:30, I noticed that the horses were indeed in good health and the stable grounds were organized and clean. Each horse even had their own stable (complete with rustic wood carved name plates and all). We signed the liability waivers, listened to the safety briefing, and reviewed the game plan for the day, and after all of the administrative boxes were checked, it was time to meet the horses. Yeee-haw!!
Provo Ponies pairs riders and horses together based on the rider’s experience; and because this was Cody’s first time on a horse, they selected Thor to be his partner in crime. A shire-cross, Thor stood out from the crowd because he was huuuuuuuuuge. Yet, his dominating size was the only dominant thing about him — he was a gentle giant and liked to “conserve his energy.” In other words, he was a little lazy. 😉 Thor’s interests involved swimming in the ocean, eating kelp, and stopping along the trail for snacks. (The best ones were always found in the middle of the bushes). 🙂
Having some riding experience under my belt, my buddy for the day was Chino; a mixed-breed rescued from the Dominican Republic. He liked to be the leader of the pack and was happiest leading the way down the trail, through the dense shrubbery, and down to the ocean’s edge along Long Bay Beach. He liked to go, go, go which fit my always-on-the go-demeanor perfectly. There was one point where I was literally riding circles around Cody (insert laughing emoji here); my buddy Chino just did not want to stand still and Thor wanted no part in the shenanigans.
We had five other riders and two guides on our hour-long group ride, and we spent a total of thirty minutes out in the ocean. I couldn’t have asked for a better morning to go on a ride; the sun was shining down, there was a slight breeze, the surf was calm, and the horses — as well as the riders — were completely content with an opportunity to cool off from the intense Caribbean heat.