CONNECTION: Horse riding brings a special connection with animals.
PHOTO CREDIT: CREATIVE COMMONS PHOTO BY FIVE FURLONGS
CONNECTION: Horse riding brings a special connection with animals. PHOTO CREDIT: CREATIVE COMMONS PHOTO BY FIVE FURLONGS

Whether it is exploring the beauty of Bermuda on a trail or learning how to show jump, Spicelands Equestrian Centre can get you in the saddle.

The riding centre offers trail rides and lessons six days a week, for all ages. Under the instruction of qualified trainers, you can learn how to walk, trot and canter, and even clear those jumps.

If it’s a unique Bermuda experience you are looking for, then take a trail ride along the Railway Trail to the South Shore beaches.

Some people are so inspired by the view that they propose marriage.

Natasha Dowling, Spicelands office manager, said: “A lot of people use the trail rides for marriage proposals and celebrations. You can stop and get off at the trail guide’s discretion in an appropriate area.

“We’ve had quite a few marriage proposals. Just the other day a gentleman proposed to his girlfriend on the beach.

“We also had a couple from New York who met two years ago here on a group trail ride. The man brought the girlfriend back and proposed to her on the beach where they met.

“It was awesome to watch; they feel like part of the family now.”

Miss Dowling said riders also get to experience the island’s history and local flora and fauna.

Spicelands is named after the spice tree, which is abundant in the area.

“When the wind blows, it carries the smell of the spice tree,” she said.

“There are also paw paw, loquat and cherry trees along the trail which you can smell and taste when in season. You get to experience things you wouldn’t do by getting into a car or on a scooter.

“You also get to see where the old Railway Trail used to be, and get an insight into local history. This is not only interesting for tourists but for Bermudians as well. And the scenery is beautiful.”

Peace

The guided trail rides run from 8am-4pm, Monday to Saturday, and the maximum group number is eight. The hour-long ride costs $80 per person and private rides cost $180 .

Miss Dowling said that since becoming owners of Spicelands five years ago, Liza and Delton Outerbridge have expanded the trail rides and riding sessions.

“They’ve gotten really tech-savvy. Before, a lot of business came through word of mouth but for the past couple of years, we’ve had a website and we’ve also teamed up with the Island Tour Centre.

“We’ve linked the website to the tour service so that when a customer comes in, they can make bookings directly with us online. It makes everything more efficient.”

Riding lessons are available for children aged five and above, as group or private sessions.

Each new rider however must first do a 30-minute private introductory lesson to learn the basics.

Group sessions then have a maximum of five students. A one-hour group lesson or 30-minute private lesson costs $65.

Spicelands currently has up to 60 children enrolled in lessons. It has 25 horses, including appaloosas, chestnuts and bays.

“You name it, we have them,” said Miss Dowling.

There are up to eight trail horses, and horses from the riding school can also be used for smaller trail riders. There are two trail guides and three trainers.

“A lot of our kids go on to the show jumping and equitation classes,” said Miss Dowling.

“Some have gone on to be very successful in the national equestrian contests.

“We generally take them from the age of five up to 16/17. We also teach adults how to ride. They do very well, and we get seniors as well. People get really brave in their old age — we recently had a lady from New York wanting to learn to ride at the age of 62.

“We also do birthday parties and pony rides for children, aged one to five.”

These 15-20 minute pony rides cost $20.

Miss Dowling said: “If you’ re looking for some sort of peace of mind and a way to relax, or just to have a new experience, horse riding is definitely the way to go.

“Just the connection you have with the horse itself, it’s almost like an out of body experience getting on a horse, as they are huge animals. But they can be very docile.

“It’s an awesome experience, it’s not like getting on a bike or into a car and going for a drive; it’s something outside of the box. I would encourage anyone to do it.”

Spicelands Equestrian Centre, 50 Middle Road, Warwick is also open by appointment on Sundays. Contact 238-8212 or e-mail spicelands@logic.bm. See www.spicelandsriding.com