Three years ago, almost to the day, I went on a trail ride with Esperanza Riding Company and experienced Martha’s Vineyard in a whole new way. Being on horseback, offers you the chance to see things differently, to feel things differently.
Esperanza Riding Company left the Vineyard for a bit but owner Elizabeth Buyrn and her seven Paso Fino horses are back. The horses have a new home, a beautiful barn and pastoral spread in Vineyard Haven.
As I learned back in 2012, Paso Fino horses are very kind and gentle horses. They have a smooth gait and instead of trotting, they paso which is a four-beat lateral gait. They are such beautiful horses with kind eyes and put you at ease immediately.
We were all going to be riding geldings (males). The boys are well behaved with only a little mischief here and there, and the occasional snacking on the trail.
What I like about this riding operation is that they take the time to introduce you to your horse and give a great tutorial on how to ride. Our group had only beginners, so our ride would be pretty straight forward.
Elizabeth works with all skill levels, so if you’re on Island for a day, week or month, and love to ride, this is the place.
After listening to Elizabeth’s instructions, it was time to ride. I always get butterflies in my stomach before something like this, a little excited and a little nervous all at once.
I was riding Chino who I immediately felt comfortable with. There was something so calming about being in the saddle, stroking his neck, waiting for everyone to mount their horses. It was Monday morning at 9:15 and I couldn’t have been in a better mood and more excited for the day.
There is a new system of trails Esperanza Riding Company uses with its new barn that takes you through the State Forrest. I am embarrassed to say that this is my first time in the State Forest. It’s so vast and beautiful.
We passed other people and their horses while on the trails, along with the occasional mountain biker. Being on a horse, it seems easier to take in all the surroundings, the birds, the crickets, the smell of the pines.
A breeze was blowing, and all you could hear were the sounds of nature and our horses’ hooves. Feeling the earth through each of your horse’s movements. It is gift to get lost in the moment, this adventure.
As I said, I had never been through the State Forrest. The trails led us through the forest, to open meadows and more. There were some great open spots where we had the chance to “paso” with our horses, which as I mentioned is the Paso Fino version of a trot.
However, it is pretty smooth, and I couldn’t help but giggle and really get into this brief stint of speed.
You feel so far away from everything mundane, yet your so close. It’s just hard to think about anything else when on a horse. Your mind is so free.
Near the end of the ride, we came to Duarte’s Pond. What a sight to see. That glimmer of blue, and then this beautiful little pond. It was so picturesque. We stopped for a moment to take it all in – such a sight.
My friend Skylar and I had such a great time. It was sad for us when the ride came to an end. Experiencing part of Martha’s Vineyard on horseback is such a memorable experience.
Because the ride is an hour and a half long, you can start your day with this, then head to the harbor for lunch, and to the beach to relax even more, all in a day.
Esperanza Riding Company offers two rides daily until Columbus Day weekend, one at 9:00 a.m. and one at 4:00 p.m. These times offer cooler times of the day for not only the rider but also the horses.
Trail rides are reservation only and are $100 per person.
You can also have Esperanza come to you. Perhaps you have a beautiful piece of property you’re renting or own. Elizabeth can bring the horses to you. Talk about convenience and enjoying your own backyard!
Elizabeth is working hard to get more trails to offer with Esperanza Riding Company, and is partnering with conservation groups to make it happen. She’s trying to bring back trail riding to Martha’s Vineyard, where years ago, there were several farms that offered horseback riding like this, now it’s just Esperanza.
There are so many beautiful spots on the Island that seem made for trail riding, and it’s wonderful to have this opportunity.
In the future, she hopes to find a way to have beach access with the horses, which would really appeal to Islanders and visitors alike. Any trail Esperanza offers is a special experience, but who doesn’t love a little beach.
If you haven’t gone for a ride yet, there’s still time to schedule a ride, you can find all the information you need and the ability to make a reservation request on the ERC website, click here. Give yourself about two-and-half-hours for the experience. The ride itself is about an hour and a half.
It’s such a great experience and offers you something different for a date or a girls night out. Also, since September and October are so beautiful here on the Vineyard, what better time to go riding?
To find out more about Esperanza Riding Company and how it started on Martha’s Vineyard, check out See Martha’s Vineyard In A Whole New Way…Horseback Riding Tours.