Carolina Corral is a beloved "must" for my daughters every time we are on the island, and some of their best memories are from there.
If your riding experience has been in an expensive suburban stable surrounded by lush paddocks, this will be a change for you. This part of the island is dry and the stable facilities are very simple, with no electricity or running water and all food having to be trucked in. But that is part of the charm and the sense that you are experiencing something very different. After all, why would you come all the way to St. John to do what you can do at home any day?
What shines through at the stable is how very much Dana does with so little, and her great affection for the animals there. The horses are a combination of rescued pets (the islands are not an easy place to have your own horse) and former race horses, all of which would have had a much sadder end if not for Dana. She is very well known and respected locally for all the work she puts in to running the Coral on her own.
In addition to the horses, you will also find the donkeys and the occasional goat or sheep rescued after they have been injured in a road accident. Each animal has its own story which Dana will tell you. Describe a wild donkey you saw in Coral Bay and she will likely know that individual donkey and tell you about it.
This is a hilly area, and as you might expect from that, parts of the trails are steep and the views are beautiful. Wear sun protection and bring water, just as you would for any other outdoor activity in St. John.
A few earlier reviews have had negative comments about Dana's instructions or comments to riders. These criticisms are totally unrecognizable to our family after multiple rides. When we heard of them, I saw my daughters screw up their faces and say "What?" incredulously, as that is so very far from their experiences. What we see always see instead is someone very knowledgeable about her horses, friendly and courteous to the riders, and not not shying from giving appropriate instructions on how to ride safe and control the horses.
If only part of your group are going on the ride, and you need a place to rendezvous with the beachgoers after the ride, Skinny Legs restaurant is within a half mile walk of the Coral, and a convenient meeting place.
Two thumbs up here! Our only regret has been wishing we had brought a carrot or other appropriate treat for our horses at the end of a nice ride.
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