“Paul and Jill's Equestrian Stables trail ride in St. Croix.”
I am a rider, have ridden for years, and am always a bit skeptical about hacking out on hack horses with whom I have no experience riding or knowing.
I need not have worried at Paul and Jill's Equestrian Stables.
First, I was very impressed that our trail ride was scheduled after the horses were given a midday meal of alfalfa cubes. This was wonderful, because a well-fed horse tends to be a happy horse and in no hurry to get back to the barn to eat. Jill, the owner and trail leader, was very careful in making well-informed horse/rider teams, taking into consideration the weight and height of the riders and horses, and the experience of each individual rider and the characteristics of each individual horse.
I got the impression that she owned all her hack horses for a very long time, because she knew each one's individual habits. For example, she was able to tell me that the horse I was on liked to lead and liked to trot through certain parts of the trail. She also told me he sometimes liked to tailgate, which was good information to know as I was then better able to (easily) coax him into staying a good several feet back from the horse in front of me.
The ride through the forest was lovely, and Jill again was very informed of the flora and able to tell us the names and characteristics of the plant life we saw. As she did this, she also kept a very good eye on the 9 riders behind her, evidenced when she noticed that a novice rider had lost a stirrup, so we stopped until the rider had her foot securely back in the stirrup. I am not sure how Jill so easily multi-tasked her duties as tour guide and still kept her eye on each mounted steed at the same time, but she did it well, making sure everyone stayed safe yet enjoyed the surroundings. She is obviously a long-time trail guide and her experience has made her very wise guiding a level of rider.
Best part of the ride was the ride on the beach, where Jill and her husband Paul together organized a photo shoot of each individual party. She used our own cameras and directed our poses on the beach without any extra charge. Paul took care of tending to the horses and riders who were not being shot at that time. I got about 8 photos on the beach taken by Jill!
I came away very happy with my experience. And, I was very happy that Jill had many riding helmets on hand for riders to borrow. I certainly will not ride without one, so I was grateful they were there and in good condition.
Thanks, Paul, Jill, and my lovely Sir Lancelot, for a fun, safe, interesting ride, and for being such lovely, warm people. If I every come this way again, I will return for another ride.
Star from Pa.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.