Horseback-riding in the Dominican Republic
I thought I would write this blog to talk about the horseback-riding tours one can take while vacationing in the Dominican Republic. I went twice this spring, in February and March (2011). Both times it was a great experience and I would do it again anytime, if I return there.
The photos here are mixed from both my trips - I went for the horseback-riding tour both times although, I was on different parts of the island each time. I had somewhat of a difficulty shooting off the back of a horse though. I wasted many shots and even some of the shots posted here are somewhat off but they were the best I could pick. The group photos (the last three shots) are not mine, the tour guides took those.
Everything there was new to me and going through the tropical forest on a horse was simply fabulous. That is my kind of an amusement park. I was lucky to have good guides too and whether galloping or slowly crawling through rivers, they were always very careful that we (the tourists) did not hurt ourselves. They kept telling me to ride properly even after I told them that if I dropped off the horse while taking photos backwards or side-ways, I would not sue anyone. Honestly, I do think they just wanted us to have a good time with no trouble.
We passed by mango farms and all sorts of other strange trees with fruits which I had no clue that existed (and which I do not remember the names of - I didn't like some of them ...I guess my memory blocked-them out). The guides fed us the sweetest oranges I have ever tried and in the first trip to the Dominican, the horseback-riding tour ended-up going by a sugar-cane field. We paused there for a little while. Our guides cut and peeled some sugar cane sticks which I could not get enough of and I was all sticky by the end but it was fully worth it.
We went through a small town on both my tours. I did like that: the fact that our guides took us through the country-side and small villages to see how ordinary life in the Dominican is. Especially for one that is vacationing there on an all-inclusive package, such tours are not only great in my opinion but necessary. Otherwise, one would just be stuck on the resort which does not at all reflect the everyday life of people in that country.
We visited a small elementary private school which was ... heartbreaking really. It had fences all around with barbed-wire at the top. The ground was all gravel, including the playground and the classrooms where basically one small building per grade: not really a building, more like a room with a roof where about thirty or so kids were packed-in like sardines. I could only wonder what a public school looked like ...
Out of both trips I think the experience of riding through the tropical forest and rivers was the best part. It was hot but since we were always close to water, cooling-off was no problem. My rear-end was hurting a little after a whole day of horseback-riding but I am sure that is because my skills at riding horses are not that great. I learned to ride without a saddle, more or less by myself when I was about nine or ten years old in the mountains of Romania, in my grandmother's village. I most likely need some proper lessons.
I do encourage those who can or do intend on taking a vacation in the Dominican Republic to try the horseback-riding tours. They were as good as they could be in my opinion and they were not that expensive: totally worth it!