Horseback riding in Hana, Hawaii means more than climbing in the saddle and going for a trail ride. Hana, Maui is rich in Hawaiian culture and talking story.
When you go horseback riding at Travaasa Hana Riding Stables, you might be riding with a paniolo, (Hawaiian cowboy) or in my case, a paniola.
My trail guide, Jolynn, grew up around horses on Hana.
“I was on the back of a horse when I was three years old,” grins Jolynn. When she’s not guiding trail rides, she’s a team roper and member of the Hana Roping Club. She is a true Hawaiian cowgirl.
Horses and Hana – the history
At the request of Kamehameha III, Spanish-Mexican vaqueros came from California in 1838 to teach Hawaiians how to manage their herds. While vaquero is the Spanish word for cowboy, in Hawaii the term “paniolo” was adopted.
Today, paniolo is as much a Hawaiian island style of dress, music and art, as it is a term for the Hawaiian cowboy.
Like any cowboy, the Hawaiians used their horses to herd cattle and when they were not working, the came together for rodeos. While ATV’s are now used to round up cattle instead of horses, the paniolo spirit lives on in Hawaii.
Travaasa Hana Riding Stables
The one hour coastal trail ride departs two times daily from Travaasa Hana Riding Stables. Geared for beginners or those without much horseback riding experience, this is a walking-only trail ride. You’ll ride through Maui Beef cattle country, with 2,500 cows grazing on Hana, Hawaii pasture land.
The Brahama bulls paid us no attention as we walked along the trail and posed for photos with the rolling surf behind us.
This was my first time “back in the saddle” after a total hip replacement, so I was happy the stables offered a mounting block and calm horses.
Thank you Cody, the Quarter horse, for my Hana, Maui horseback riding vacation.
If You Go:
I was a guest of Travaasa Hana Riding Stables and Maui Visitors Bureau.