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Soufrière Hills on horseback

Listed under One Day Horse Rides in Montserrat.

  • Photo of Soufrière Hills on horseback
  • Photo of Soufrière Hills on horseback
  • Photo of Soufrière Hills on horseback
  • Photo of Soufrière Hills on horseback
  • Photo of Soufrière Hills on horseback
  • Photo of Soufrière Hills on horseback
  • Photo of Soufrière Hills on horseback
  • Photo of Soufrière Hills on horseback
Photo of Soufrière Hills on horseback
Photo by flickr user Hulivili
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While many Caribbean islands enjoy stretches of lush tropical terrain that can be explored on horseback, the small but topographically diverse island of Montserrat is more unusual in its range of everything from rainforest to a more dramatic landscape of volcanic ash and rock.

Due to a major eruption of the Soufrière Hills Volcano in the mid-nineties, much of the southern half of Montserrat became coated in layers of volcanic detritus. Nowadays, although Soufrière Hills can only be approached to a limited extent since it is still considered active, visitors can still observe some of the nearby moon-like surfaces.

Thanks to the equestrian services of Zekie's Horseback Riding Tours, which began offering rides in recent years, both the volcanic and greener aspects of Montserrat are accessible on horseback. Not surprisingly, all rides are walking rides only, but this also allows for a more leisurely enjoyment of the variety along your way.

Not as historic as Pompeii but still impressive as a stark reminder of nature's sometimes lethal force are the remains of the former capital of Plymouth, which was entirely abandoned as it fell under the eruption that blanketed this area of Montserrat's southern side. Other inland trails diverge northward into still untouched tropical forest acres that remain home to an interesting collection of both local amphibians and reptiles -- including tree frogs, anoles, ground lizards, dwarf geckos and iguanas. Birdlife may be harder to spot enroute -- the national bird is the oriole, rarely seen, but there are varieties of thrush, cuckoo, and dove that are also resident.

A ride along the black sands beaches, also an option, suggests that Montserrat's volcanic history has probably been going on for aeons. A slight detour into the shallows along the beach -- a standard equestrian treat here as it is in much of the region -- also reminds you that even the most stoic horse may appreciate the cooling effect of the Caribbean after a long and often humid day. Saddle bags, cantle bags and helmets of all sizes are provided by this operator for all its adventures around Montserrat.

Written by  Hal Peat.

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