Friday, November 8, 2019

What In Tarnation???

Off duty herd
Yup!  I finally talked Bruce into taking a trail ride!  The Carabali Rainforest Adventure Park put out a discount certificate for Puerto Rican residents and I was quick to take advantage of our newfound resident status!

We drove an hour and a half to get to the property in Luquillo, PR. and found quite a slick operation.  They have about 200 horses here, and they run groups throughout the day.







We arrived early and got to stroll around the property, looking at the other adventures offered such as ATV and go-cart rides, and of course the gift shop!  We actually purchased a couple of the face sun protection scarves because this is the first place we've found them for a reasonable price!  Then we had a little fun, paying no mind to the fact that the face holes were placed at a level for children!  Hey, I'm trying to keep us BOTH young!


Sexy hairnet!
The staff called our group promptly at 1pm and started handing out helmets... with hairnets to keep the funk from getting us.  Yeah, right.  Bruce and I came prepared with closed toed shoes, sun hats, sun protective shirts and jeans!  I actually had to go and purchase a pair of jeans for this!  I haven't owned a pair since 2013 when we moved onto the boat!!!  I think we were the only couple dressed appropriately for this, but hey, it's only an hour!

Would have preferred our broad-brimmed hats... but SAFETY FIRST!
Getting a well-deserved drink!
As we were mounting up one by one, the staff very deliberately matched the person to the horse.  They had shorter horses with child saddles for the kids.  These came with seat belts! While we waited, another group returned and as the riders dismounted, the horses hustled over to the water station for a drink.  They knew the drill!  When a group of horses gathered at the drink station, the staff would make a particular sound and the horses dutifully left the water and went into the stall!  Pretty neat.

It was kind of funny though, when the staff weren't paying attention, horses would sneak back out to the water trough!  Then the guys would make that sound again, and the horses skedaddled back into the holding pen!

Bruce hopping up onto Junior!

And here comes a horse for ME!
Adjusting my stirrups!
Eventually we were called up to claim our horses.  The cowboys helped us to mount, then painstakingly adjusted our stirrups to the appropriate length.  They made sure that we were each comfortable in the saddle and inquired about our riding experience.  If needed, instructions were given as well as special attributes for each horse.  Bruce's horse was Junior, and mine was Sandy.  I was told that Sandy was sensitive so I shouldn't be too hard on his bit.  Good to know!







When everyone was mounted up, we were introduced to our guides and reminded to keep our heels down and shown the proper way to hold the reins, then we headed out onto the trail!


While Bruce was taking a photo of me...
I was taking a photo of HIM!



We rode along a well worn pathway, often times muddy and sometimes just a big puddle.  I tried to rein my horse around the puddles, but like most trail rides, the horse knows the drill.  At least I could keep his nose out of the butt of the horse in front so that we didn't get kicked!  Bruce and I rode together most of the way, with the horses mixing and matching at other times.  While this is nothing like riding out in the wild, it is a whole lot easier and we got to see some countryside in the foothills of El Yunque rainforest.

Hey, it's difficult to get a good photo while trying to ride a horse!





The trail took us up a few hills, down a few hills, and alongside a few cow pastures.  We wove our way through the property of some other stable owners and our horses talked to those in the stalls.  I guess they're used to seeing us pass through their homes!


Bruce did a good job of having a good time, although sometimes he is difficult to impress!  Through all of the islands we've visited that offered trail riding, this is the first time he has agreed to go!

The Carabali property is really nice.  They have a lot to offer the tourist, even those who live here!

We did the one hour trail ride, and for people who don't ride horses often, that was just about the perfect length.  The temperatures here in the rainforest foothills were mild, even for a mid-day ride.  But sun protective clothing went a long way toward making us comfortable.







So after a delightful hour spent communing with nature and laughing with the other riders, we found ourselves back at the staging area.  We were assisted with dismounting, and the horses knew the drill!  As soon as they were riderless, they went over to get a sip of water, then returned dutifully to the corral!


After we dismounted and our horses left us, we asked the cowboy if we could get Sandy and Junior back for a photo.

Cowboy: Ummm we don't have a horse named Sandy.  (thinking a bit)  Could it be DUSTY?
Me:  Oh yeah, that's it!  No wonder he didn't pay attention to me when I spoke to him!


We were given the opportunity to say goodbye to our new friends DUSTY and Junior.
I can't see this photo without giggling!  Looks like I'm slurping the horse through a straw, and Bruce is sticking his tongue into the horse's ear.  Horse is having none of it!  
After our ride, we definitely felt a little wobbly!  Add to that, hot and hungry and we were glad that we had also purchased the discount certificate for a nice late lunch at the Carabali Restaurant!  The service was perfect, the sangrias delicious and the food superb!
Sirloin tips in mushroom sauce!
Bruce can never pass up a rib opportunity!
It was a fun day getting back to my Texas roots, communing with nature and doing something fun and out of the ordinary!  It is my goal to keep the fun alive and never stop exploring our beautiful island home!  Thank you to the fine folks at Carabali Rainforest Adventure Park for another happy day in Paradise!