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A North Shore Ride at Chukka Cove

Listed under Horse Riding in Jamaica.

  • Photo of A North Shore Ride at Chukka Cove
  • Photo of A North Shore Ride at Chukka Cove
  • Photo of A North Shore Ride at Chukka Cove
Photo of A North Shore Ride at Chukka Cove
Photo by flickr user tami.vroma
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Once upon a time, at the end of a polo match on a more than humid day, riders at Jamaica's landmark equestrian centre of Chukka Cove discovered that their polo horses were very amenable to both a cooling canter along the beach and a dip right into the shallows along the coast near the northern resort town of Ocho Rios. Thankfully, even with the development of local mass tourism into ever-multiplying niches across this central to western end of the island's north coast, the pristine nature and magnificence of the immediate shoreline remains unblemished.

Nowadays, many of the horses are retired polo ponies, who pick their way during this two and a half hour ride, along often varying – be it a stoney stretch of field, rough mud pathway or a twisting stretch of narrow beach – with an almost unfaltering elegance and familiarity. The high point for many on this ride organized by Chukka Caribbean Adventures remains the arrival at the bay where guides take the group out into depths of water high enough for the horses to actually be swimming at many points.

While the size of the groups make this a somewhat generic riding experience, it still provides a genuine taste of old Jamaica on horseback along a once grand estate's open fields and curving shores of white powder. At the ride’s mid-point, you dismount while your horse is fitted up for your ocean swim, and then later refitted with his normal English saddle for the ride back. Do remember his name, he will be one among many.

Written by  Hal Peat.

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