I did extensive research on all the activities we considered participating in before we travelled to Maui. I have to admit I was a little skeptical when I read some of the reviews about this place that talked about what a "spiritual and moving experience" the reviewers had when they visited Maui Stables. But, from the moment Keone, our Hawaiian born guide "Alaka'i", greeted us, I realized we were in for much more than a guided horse ride. Before we began our journey, Keone asked us to stand together in silence while he gave thanks to the creator and asked for a safe journey. He did so in his native Hawaiian language (which I happen to adore.) I was moved by his reverence and his appreciation of the beauty that surrounded us. And so began an experience that I will keep in my heart and soul for as long as I live (and even beyond this earthly life.) The horses are all well trained, well mannered and very healthy and happy. Anyone who knows horses can usually get a general feeling for the animal's attitude and wellbeing within the first minutes of introduction. The fact that all the horses at Maui stables are "rescue horses," literally purchased at the entrance of a slaughterhouse, is no accident. Each horse, having been snatched from the jaws of death and avoiding becoming ingredients in a bottle of glue or an entree in some French restaurant, finds instead its equine salvation through the caring owners of Maui Stables. After being purchased, each horse is shipped, at great expense, to a place that seems like a little slice of heaven on earth, Kipahulu, Maui, Hawaii. Our journey began with a relaxing walk down a shaded road to a mountain path. Along the way, we learned about the plethora of plant life and also the creatures that inhabit Maui and the other Hawaiian islands. We learned that Keone had studied under many different "Kupuna" (elders who specialize in various life skills such as medicine, art, philosophy, etc.) since he was a child and so he is a fountain of information on every detail of the Hawaiian Islands. I'm so glad I was able to get some video tape and audio recordings along the way because there is just no way to retain all of the knowledge that was given to us. I had no idea there were so many natural cures and treatments for human ailments growing right there along our path. When we reached the highest elevation of our ride, we dismounted and walked up to a ledge from which we viewed lush valleys below us and beautiful flowing waterfalls above us. I will never forget the sensation of being surrounded by so many different shades of green. We stood together at the ledge in silence and again, Keone gave thanks to the creator as we reverently listened, an acknowledgement that we all instinctively knew was compelled by the natural wonders and overwhelming beauty we saw all around us. I could write forever about this place but, I think you get the idea of what you will experience in this blessed place. When our journey was over and it was time to say goodby, I did not want to leave. I mean it! I felt something inside me that told me I belonged there. Was it the apple bananas Keone served us that made me want to stay? No, it was something deep within my soul. Do I plan to return? YES! I'm sure all the guides at Maui Stables are great but, when we go back, I will bring my children and I will make sure we schedule our ride so that Keone can be our Alaka'i. Keone, we love you hoa aloha!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.