Sunday, October 12, 2008


Well before I left on my cruise I found a cruise forum that lots of people went to and talked about everything to do with cruising. You could learn everything about the ship you were going on, the food you would be served, the ports you would visit and get tips on what shore excursions you should try out.

It has always been a dream of mine to go horseback riding along the beach. I did go one time years ago when I went to Puerto Vallarta and it was a nightmare. The horses were so skinny and tired. I ended up paying but after 15 mins I turned around and said I wanted the rest of my time to be letting the horse rest. It was so sad.

So I was worried about going horseback riding again in Mexico. But, I kept reading about this wonderful place called Randi's Happy Horses. Everyone who wrote about it on this forum said it was great.

Randi was from USA and moved to Mexico about 17 years ago. She always had a love of horses and so she bought 50 horses and opened up her riding business. I kept reading about how well her horses were treated and how fun the ride the was.

You get to go through a beautiful tropical forest and then ride along the beach. After your wonderful ride you would stop at a resturant on the beach for a lovely home cooked lunch. Then you would have time to swim in the ocean and relax before heading back to the ship.

Sounded great to me. So we signed up and was so looking forward to this trip.

The above photo is Randi. The owner of Randi's Happy Horses. At first I thought it was a joke. I was fully expecting a lady in her 30's who was fit and rides horses all the time.

We were met with an elderly lady who smoked like a chimney and drank like a fish. Yes, even at 8:30am she was drinking a beer. She could hardly walk. Taking baby steps and seeming to be in pain with every movement.

But, she was very nice. She told us she no longer rides the horses but she would be taking us to the place where we get on and a guide at the ranch would take us and then she would meet up with us at the resturant to take us back home.

There were 6 of us going. We got on a truck with Randi and she took us to the "dock" to get our boat ride to the ranch so we could get our horses.

I knew it was time to start to worry when I saw the area she took us too. It was something like you would see in the movies. Where the poor people live and work.

The smells were indescribable.

Then we got on the above boat along with others who were going places we had no idea where.

Randi did bring her dog along. She was so sweet. But it was sad to watch her scratching so much. I knew she was full of fleas. It broke my heart.

After we got off the boat we drove through areas that were so sad and also a bit scary.

The homes were so run down. You could see inside some of them and some didn't even have windows or doors. Just a blanket to help keep out the wind, dirt, bugs and sun.

Inside was even worse then the outside. Again, my heart broke for these people. I just wanted to empty out my wallet and give everything I had to them.

Then we pulled up the "Ranch". My heart sunk. It was nothing more then a big dump with filth and trash everywhere.

The horses were kept outside tied up along the trees and fence. I couldn't believe a family lived here.

But, the family were wonderful people. The father spoke very very little English but we had some good laughs with him as we both tried our best to understand each other.

You could tell he was a proud man. A generous man and he wanted us all to have a fun time.

I did manage to tell him my friend Judy and I wanted a GRANDE (which means large in English) horse. I didn't want to have a skinny sick horse. So he called everyone to their horses.

Well I was last and I had the biggest horse. I asked for a step stool because there was no way I was going to get up on this horse. The son spoke English and said they did have one but his dad wanted to get me up without one.

Without any warning the dad was lifting me up and pushing me up on the horse. I started to laugh so hard I couldn't move. I kept telling him to wait! But, he wouldn't wait and he pushed me up on that horse so hard and fast I almost flew over the other side.

Once on top I pointed to myself and said Gordita! (Which in English means chubby or fat). The dad started to laugh with me and showed me his muscles saying "Strong" as he did.

I was laughing so hard I was crying. Then it was time to go on our ride.

This was the beautiful Tropical jungle we road through. Not what my mind had pictured. But, it really didn't matter. My legs were killing me. I had not ever spread my legs so far in my life. I felt like I was going to rip in half.

When my horse would trot or run I thought I was going to die.

Now before I came on this trip everyone told me I would be sore for days if I went horseback riding. I kept saying no I wouldn't. I had gone not to long ago and I was fine. Well the horse I had wasn't as big as this one.

It's ok to laugh. I was laughing the whole time even though I was in pain.

It was already so hot out. Even though it was only around 9:00am the heat was so bad. It was so humid that everyone was sweating and looked like they just got out of the water.

Then we saw the trail that was going to lead us to the beach. The nice beautiful beach I heard about.

When we first got to the beach I noticed it was pretty dirty and there was a smell that was not pleasant at all. But I figured just up ahead was the pretty part. So one we road.

Well the more we road the more the smell got to us. There were thousands of dead fish washed up on shore. The water was full of trash and was a yucky brown color.

We didn't even want to let our horses go in the water because it was so sick looking.

Then we saw a large sea turtle washed up and was rotten. Oh my gosh! It was just sick!

I never did take photos of all the dead fish. I wanted us to have some pretty photos. But, trust me it was bad! You can see some of the dead fish in a few of the photos but I didn't take any in the really bad areas. I think I was in shock and I know I just wanted to get out of there.

We finally got to the resturant on the beach. Randi was there to met us. Again, smoking and drinking. We all looked around and said there was no way we would eat there. They had no running water, no electric and it looked filthy.

She said ok "Well then, you can go in the water as we have two more hours until we have to leave." What! She wanted us to go in that stinky water that killed all the fish? No way!

We all agreed we would rather just go back early and go back on the ship. So we did.

So now that is two times I've gone horseback riding in Mexico and two times it was a nightmare. I won't be going for a 3rd time.

I do think the horses were taken care of though. They were not skinny and didn't seem to be abused. So that was good.

But I was never happier to get back to the ship then that day. I went right to my cabin, took a shower and changed my clothes.

I couldn't walk for the rest of the day without pain but the next morning I was fine.

Even though it was a nightmare ride I am still happy we went because we laughed so hard and still laugh as we talk about it.

Oh, before we did go back to the ship Randi told us that the people who were on that forum were her "friends". Whenever someone posted anything bad about her or the horses her "friends" would get on there and tell everyone how wonderful she and her horses were. So please don't always believe everything you read.

Hope you got a laugh out of this story like we did.



Connie said...

We've been to Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta several times, chickee, and I just loved them both. Also, Ixtapa and Zihuatanajo. But PV is my absolutely favorite place. I loved it there and have been back many times. I saw the poverty also. I didn't go into those restrooms. Hubs held up a blanket and I changed beside our car! I didn't care. I wasn't going into a "bathroom" with just a hole in the ground!! But it does bring back memories.......

Come over and see the desk I redid, honey! I think you'll like it.


Glenda said...

What an experience to have on a holiday. I wouldn't have gotten in the car with Randi with her drinking no telling where you could end up at.

But that sound about right for Mexico, you'll go through barrios to get somewhere.

Better luck next time.

Lindsay-ann said...

Hi Joanne
I am so sorry your horseback riding was disappointing. You were so looking forward to it. I will give Randi's Happy Horses a miss if I ever go there. I suppose the only plus points were that you didn't get hurt and that the horses did appear to be well looked after.
I giggled picturing you getting on the horse. I am not sure I could get on one that easily any more. I once persuaded my husband to come riding and he was terrifed. They put him on the biggest horse they had and he hates heights!

Judy said...

That was hilarious but kind of sad too.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Wow Joanne, what an experience! At least the horses were cared for but it sounds like the rest of that outing should be reported to the cruise line.

Jean Tuthill said...

Your story was very interesting and I can only imagine the smell and sights. I've never been to Mexico and have only seen beautiful pictures of it. Don't know if I want to go there!

Lisa's RetroStyle said...

Oh Joanne!! How often in life do things not measure up to our fantasies!!! Too funny! I started laughing when I saw the picture of Randi! So good to hear "the real" story. I get so tired of everything being "spun" to make it all sound/look good. Reality is so refreshing!! Sorry you didn't get your wonderful fantasy...but thanks for the truth!!

It is good tho that people travel to impoverished areas. It can be had to see and a shocker at first...but it is a great education and the money really helps the people. It certainly helps put our own "difficulties" in perspective!

Anonymous said...

Your horse backing riding episode
made me laugh.

You are a good sport. That is too
funny, how Randi's friends were the
good reviews.



Hi Joanne,
I had to catch up on your posts..some great photos and cute little spider monkey:( I also like the lizard. Nice Halloween decorations on your fireplace..too bad that the horse ride on the beach wasn't a good one...and I did have a little chuckle..
Are you feeling better??

Edie Marie's Attic said...

Oh Joanne! That is so funny/sad, I don't know what to be laughing or crying!! What a bad experience. I'm so sorry that happened to you. But you WILL laugh about it for years!!
My DIL & I had a, shall we say, interesting vacation one time and we laugh and laugh about it now, til we cry sometimes!!
Hugs, Sherry