• Hawaii the land of no flies

  • A big island and no flies.  Sounds like paradise!!  But that does not mean Hawaii is without horses.  The fact is that our Horse Fly Net® will never be required in this paradise,  however,  while spending Thanksgiving 2010 in the Hawaiian Islands,  I am  curious about the history of the horse there. www.hawaiiinfoguide.com gave me an interesting story.

    Over a century ago, in 1793, five black long horn cattle were shipped to the largest of the Hawaiian Island.  The scrawny cattle had barely survived .  A taboo was put on them by
    King Kamehameh I which gave them a chance to graze and thrive on the rich foliage of the tropics. In time cowboys were needed to control the growing herd.

    Enter the  horse.  Their first appearance on the shores was in 1798 and were called “canoes that travel on land”. In 1809 19 year old John Palmer Parker  jumped ship to stay on the large island of Hawaii. His adventures included a trip to China where he brought back the first musket to Hawaii.  He found favor on returning to the island with the king and married his granddaughter.  He was given permission to use his musket to hunt maverick cattle and set up a beef, tallow and hide business with the passing whale ships. And,  then he was allowed to buy 2 acres of land.

    By 1832,  Parker needed more expert cowman with the booming business.  The Mexican vaqueros who had more skills with cattle and horses were brought by                             King Kamehameha III to Hawaii and with them came boots and saddles and a new language.  The Hawaiians called them paniolos a variation of the word espanol.  It is a surprise to me that cowboys in Hawaii were evolving long before the legends of the Wild West in America. The Mexicans brought their music and instruments to Hawaii such as the guitar which became part of the Hawaiian culture and music.

    The beef business boomed  for Parker and the Parker Ranch spread to 150,000 acres with 30,000 cattle on the their ranch alone. The horse was a tool in managing this huge privately held ranch. The Parker ranch exists today as one of the largest privately held ranches in the US.

    Parker Ranch today

    But it is not the only ranch on Hawaii. As I write this, the warm sun of the Pacific Island shines on me.  As a rider it is thrilling to visit a new environment where the hobby of my choice can combine with a visit to tropical forests and coffee plantations. To visit waterfalls and living volcanoes on horse back is a perfect vacation.  But which ranch to choose from?

    A nice ranch on Oahu is the Kualoa Ranch with it’s nice selection of horses for novice riders.


    Kualoa Ranch in Ka'a'awa Valley on Oahu

    Here are some choices on the Big Island of Hawaii;

    Riding on Kahua Ranch horses

    Danana Ranch is the only Native Hawaiian Ranch.

    Kahua Ranch is a 12,000 acre working ranch where riders can visit Hawaii ruins and volcanic cinder cones.

    Naalapa Stables is a 12,000 acre cattle and sheep ranch for all levels of ability of rider.

    Paniola is an open range 11,000 acre working cattle ranch  and riding includes a visit to the ruins of King Kamehameha.

    Hawaiian Horse Magazine

    As I pick up a copy of Malama-Lio Magazine,  I am struck by the variety of riding disciplines on the Big Island and all of the breeds that have been shipped or bred in Hawaii. There are many association such as the Quarter Horse Association as well  as an Equestrian Center offering boarding and facilities for training.

    Bird in her tack repair shop

    Bird Mclver does saddle repair and making in her Hilo Shop. She also runs www.bchorserescue.com.  She would be the envy of any horse community where these services and talents are necessary.

    adopt a donky

    The concerns of the Big Island and especially Bird right now are the proliferation of unwanted horses as a result of the economy and the draught.  Bird has just taken a load of wild donkeys who are becoming a nuisance to the community.  The humane society of the US has donated funds to geld them and Bird is fostering  5 of them at a time on her farm. She hopes to adopt them out after she gets them more accustom to being around human care.  Her web site www.hawaiihorserescue.com can always use a small donation.

    And,  so I conclude.  Yes, I have only counted 8 flies during my trip to Hawaii this Thanksgiving vacation.  Those probably jumped shipped from one of the ships in port. This is such a different environment. Trade winds are the secret. So, without flies to bother them and eating  star fruit fresh off the tree, it might be paradise for the horse too.

    I can….. vouch for lots of sun.  Perhaps my equine friends in Hawaii would like to create some shade for their horses with a Hay Shade ™. I would love an excuse to return to to this climate and no flies.