Trip Report: Horseback riding on Maui

Old Apr 1st, 2004, 03:18 PM
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Trip Report: Horseback riding on Maui

We had a great ride with Makena Stables in Kihei and I highly recommend them. I researched several other stables, but picked Makena because they were a short drive from our rental house and because another fodorite gave them a rave review.

Makena has only a dozen horses, and they take excellent care of them. They run 2 rides/day, maximum 6 people. So the horses work only 2 hours/day, 6 days/week. Helmets, snacks, drinks, and saddlebags are all provided.

From the beginning of my research, Helaine at Makena was very helpful, answering email questions and calling me to clarify times, prices, and availability. Her husband Pat Borge was our trail guide, along with another hand at the rear.

Our group of 5 ranged from a complete beginner to several with more experience. Pat matched us to horses suited to our height, weight, and experience, and gave us all a half hour riding "lesson" prior to setting out. I thought this extra care for the horses and the riders was exceptional.

The sunset ride we took was about 2-1/2 hours, with lovely terrain and views as we rode up to a volcanic vent above La Perouse Bay. Pat is extremely knowledgable about island history, flora, and fauna, and was an informative guide.

Great folks, great horses -- email me directly if you have additional questions. Or contact Helaine at 808-879-0244. (Please be aware of the time difference as the phone rings in their home.)
Marilyn is offline  
Old Apr 6th, 2004, 07:48 AM
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Without a doubt, the very best horseback ride I ever took on Maui was Adventures on Horseback, off the Hana Highway.
kamahinaohoku is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2004, 04:48 PM
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hi marilyn: i am so glad you chose Makena Stables! my sunset ride with them in January was definitely the highlight of my trip. weren't the horses beautiful? do you remember which one you got? mine was a gorgeous Paint named Kokokua (i think!)Helen and Pat are great!
stellaluna is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2004, 04:55 PM
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stellaluna, I thought it was you that recommended Makena but I wasn't positive and didn't have a chance to go digging for the old thread. Yes, we all really liked Helaine and Pat a lot!

I rode Anna, a pretty little mare who had little tolerance for the males. So I rode up front with Pat and the rest of the group gave us some space. The great part about that was that I chatted with Pat for a good part of the ride. He's such an interesting guy and he knows so much about Maui.

Thanks again for recommending Makena. Your report was a major reason I selected them.
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Old Apr 7th, 2004, 05:41 PM
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My daughter and I wanted so much to do this but she'll be 11 and the website says no one under 13. She's an experienced rider and mature for her age. - I wonder if I should ask them if they make exceptions...
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Old Apr 7th, 2004, 06:15 PM
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It's probably an insurance issue, but I would definitely either email or phone Helaine and ask her.
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Old Apr 8th, 2004, 10:05 AM
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Hi Marilyn:

So glad you got to do this!!!
It was a highlight of my trip to Maui and I'll bet it was one of the highlights for you as well. Did you have beautiful weather? I rode in the rain but still loved it!
stellaluna is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2004, 10:41 AM
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Alas, we had mediocre weather our entire week on Maui. We missed the constant rain, but we had constant threat of rain -- overcast skies, etc. We managed to do a lot of what we had planned (we were with a group of 8 friends) but probably a lot less beach/swim/snorkel than if the sun had been out. Our ride was under overcast skies with a very light drizzle for about 15 min. No problem -- it was still beautiful.

The ride was probably the high point of the trip for me because it was the first time I did something like this since I started learning to ride last fall. My whole reason for learning was so that I could ride in Hawaii, Mexico, Italy, wherever. So it was an exciting and satisfying experience for me personally.
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Old Apr 8th, 2004, 10:56 AM
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Just a note about the 11 year old wanting to ride...I would call to double check, but if they say no, don't try to just go anyway and hope they can't tell. Someone in our group tried to do this and were rejected...the stables were really strict. (I'm not sure which company it was) Needless to say, the kids were really disappointed.
travelisfun is offline  
Old Jan 16th, 2006, 06:39 PM
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I worked as a concierge at the Hyatt on Maui for a couple of years and was able to try out every single horseback ride on Maui. In my opinion, the best horseback ride on Maui is Piiholo Ranch. Here's why... They are the only ride on Maui where the horses (and Wranglers) are trained in Natural Horsemanship. The approach is based on mutual respect rather than dominance and their care for their horses is the best I've seen. Unfortunately, so many of the other tours I've experienced don't treat their horses very well. One company actually handed out sticks to the riders to hit their horses with! Another company allowed their guide to smoke a cigar in front of us. You won't find that with Piiholo. There is no smoking (or cell phones) allowed. The terrain and views are awesome!!! The ride takes place on an 800 acre private ranch over 2000 ft. above see level. (Which also makes for a much cooler more comfortable ride then those found by the shore line). Groups are limited to 6 riders and Piiholo is the only horseback riding company on Maui with a Natural Resource Manager on staff. The ranch even has an endangered species protection program with a Nene (Hawaii's state bird) sanctuary and protected Koa trees on site. The ranch also has an extensive family history to it dating back over 100 years. It's great fun for the whole family, as they allow children as young as 8 years old to participate in the ride. The tour is worth every single penny!!! Their website is if you want any more info. on the ride or the company.
Loke is offline  
Old Jan 16th, 2006, 07:19 PM
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Budman is offline  
Old Jan 16th, 2006, 10:50 PM
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Loke, enough with the ads! You don't need to pull up every ancient post on horses to plug your stables.
lcuy is offline  
Old Jan 17th, 2006, 08:07 AM
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Does anyone have any current info on horseback riding in Maui? I would like to do this in late March/early April
LynnieD is offline  
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