If you love horses, the beach and the thought of swimming with horses, I have a suggestion for you in St. Maarten. I had the opportunity to go horseback riding in the Caribbean thanks to Lucky Stables. The horseback riding stable is located on the Dutch and the French or Bay side of the island on Cay Bay Beach. Located in Seaside Nature Park, this 30 acre property is home to 78 horses, as well as ducks, rabbits, fillies and foals and a random iguana or two.
The horses are a type of Antillianos breed, not the official name, but the roots of these horses may be traced back to the Spanish conquistadors. The horses are a cross between a Paso Fino and Thoroughbred. They are strong and sturdy, with good hooves for the rocky island trails and warm, tropical climate.
Cruise Line Shore Excursion
I was on a three hour shore excursion that I booked through Royal Caribbean International while sailing on board Oasis of the Seas. Lucky Stables also works with Regent Luxury Cruises, Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line as of this writing. Additionally, the stable is open to the public for horseback riding and offers a sunset champagne ride that sounded fun, but didn’t work with the cruise ship time frame.
“I used to own a horse, so whenever I get a chance, I like to ride,” said Nadia Howe of Tennessee. Jovanka Radovic from Montenegro added, “this is my first cruise and the shore excursion said horseback riding through the water. That’s what caught my attention.” While Dora Williamson of Post Falls, Idaho was enjoying some mother/daughter bonding time. “This is my first time horseback riding and I’m with my daughter,” she added with a smile.
I was pleased to see a shade shelter for the horses upon my arrival as it does get hot on this Caribbean island. My insider tip, book the early morning ride if you are on a cruise ship shore excursion. The rides are typically one or two hours long and include a 10 minute dip in the sea. You will get wet, as the water goes up to the top of the saddle, but you will NOT be swimming with horses. I emphasize this note because some people might be expecting to swim with horses. Putting swimming horses and inexperienced riders in the water would not be a good idea. It is too dangerous. Lucky Stables and any of the cruise lines connected with the stables are concerned with the rider’s safety.
Need to know:
All riders will sign a liability waiver before your trail and beach ride. The stables will ask your weight and riding experience level to match horse and rider. There is a 230 lb weight limit. Riders should wear long pants and closed toed shoes, although I did see some equestrians wearing shorts (shoes are removed before the sea experience.) Lockers are available and included in your mini horseback riding vacation. Helmets are mandatory and available for loan at Lucky Stables. If you don’t want to get your camera wet, you may leave it in the locker and purchase the photos from the professional photographer on site, or you may put your smart phone in your shoes and give them to the guide before entering the Caribbean Sea. All equestrians will use a mounting block. I was very happy to see this, as of this ride I was four months riding post hip replacement. The trail ride length varies from one hour to three hours. Check the website for current pricing and note that shore excursions include transportation to and from the Sint Maarten aka Saint Martin cruise port.
If You Go:
Lucky Stables at Seaside Nature Park +1 721 5445255
Caybay Road 64
St. Maarten, Dutch Caribbean
Horseback riding review by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. Photos courtesy Petra Vyskovska. I was a guest of Lucky Stables while experiencing a shore excursion arranged by Royal Caribbean.