Our family visited Mendes Ranch to go horseback riding as a special treat for my son's 9th birthday. The trip from Kihei takes about 50 minutes -- the last part of the journey we went through Wailuku and then up the narrow, twisting Kaheliki Highway to the ranch at the top of a hill. After signing the liability waivers and getting helmets for the kids, we were matched with horses by ability. Our family of 6 and 2 couples were assigned 2 cowboys. They rode along with us and talked about the ranch, also pointing out whales at sea. They were very attentive to my kids and teens, seeing how they were doing and making sure their posture and riding were comfortable. The places you can gallop (only if you want) are terrifying and exhilarating at the same time! They take pictures at 2 places along the trail overlooking the ocean, as individuals and families. When we returned to the ranch, one of the other cowboys was roping dummy cows and taught my son well enough that he was doing it within a few minutes! I knew the morning was successful when my son told me, "This was so much more than a birthday present!"
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