If you are visiting or living in the Dominican Republic and have an interest in horses, there are various opportunities for pursuing this.

It was one of the primary reasons for my relocating here myself and it has attracted many new residents to the island. Whether it is a chance to be involved with classy thoroughbreds or pasos finos in an arena, the chance to trail ride across spectacular countryside with breathtaking views or to gallop along semi-deserted beaches or a desire to help out with rescued horses, there is something for every horse lover here.


I first visited the Dominican Republic in 1996, attracted by the idea of a Caribbean holiday and the fact that horse riding was advertised. Thus began a love affair with the island and its people! During my one week visit I seized the opportunity to ride on three occasions. There were well-organized tours through sugar cane fields and magnificent scenery at a pace for all levels of rider on horses suitable for the beginner through to the experienced. As I was handed my first mount, Miguel, and asked, 'You do know how to ride, don't you?' I knew I was going to enjoy my day. Miguel, a cream dun, was lively and responsive but cooperative. What can be worse when you know how to ride than to find yourself sitting on top of the horse equivalent of a dodo? On the other hand, how terrifying can it be if you are a novice and find yourself on top of a creature which knows no other pace than canter or gallop? One of the leaders rode Gaucho, a proud and spirited character who performed piafs whilst his rider played water fights with us. He told me that next time I must ride Gaucho! Well, I wasn't quite sure I would have had the confidence to ride such a strong animal and I never did ride him on my subsequent visits because I stayed in a slightly different area with more opportunities for riding on the beach, but I have found many other superb mounts that have made my riding experiences fun and challenging at the same time. There is little to compare with the exhilaration felt as you gallop along at the water's edge on a lengthy stretch of beach, perhaps stopping for a dip in the ocean on the way and following it with a hearty lunch at a beach front restaurant.

One woman I met on that first ride, also on her first visit to the Dominican Republic, made up her mind there and then that she was going home to sell up to come back to the island to live and have her own horses. It took me seventeen visits to come to the same point, but during that time and during the 8 ½ years I have been resident here, I have explored the many opportunities for being involved with horses. Originally when I began living in Sosua, I certainly never intended to have my own horses. That was until I found an abandoned horse in appalling condition and eventually found myself adopting him. This eventually led me to become involved in horse rescue and to set up a foundation for poor and homeless children and abandoned, neglected and abused horses, bringing them together for mutual benefit.

Many people who have the financial resources actually purchase properties in one of the top end gated communities where they can have stable and grazing facilities for their own horses on site, but for others there are numerous possibilities. For those wanting the experience of thoroughbreds, mustangs, quarter horses or pasos finos, there is a facility on the el Choco road which has spacious stabling for approximately 40 horses. They train immaculately kept horses in their arenas and breed high class foals.

For those who want a unique day or weekend experience riding well kept local horses through the mountains where there are waterfalls, lakes and rivers, there is a rancho situated about 12 km inland from Sosua, where they also have zip lining facilities. Here you can stay in their fully equipped rustic accommodation experiencing another world away from normal everyday life.

Thus, there is something for everyone interested in horseback riding here on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. Just take your pick as to what kind of experience you would like.

Editor: Isobel Abbott