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Hawaii Polo Oceanfront Trail Rides

Hawaii Polo Oceanfront Trail Rides One of the most beautiful rides offered on Oahu are those offered at the Mokuleia Polo Field on the North Shore of Oahu. These rides involve a bit of riding through the woods with a bit of riding along the ocean and they are suitable for any level of rider. If you're advanced, you're in luck because a special one-and-a-half hour ride is offered in very small groups of a maximum of just three persons. This beachfront ride will allow you to trot as well as canter your horse. For the less experienced a walking ride with a maximum of eight persons is operated at the same area. Children eight years or older are allowed on either ride and this ranch provides one of the few opportunities to actually ride along the ocean.


Tom Barefoot: Okay. Good morning, everyone. This is Tom Barefoot from Tom Barefoot's Tours. Read Full Transcript

Video Transcript

Tom Barefoot: Okay. Good morning, everyone. This is Tom Barefoot from Tom Barefoot's Tours. We have another little episode here of Tom Barefoot's Tours Live. In this of course we deal with our many vendors, hundreds of vendors that we deal with, but we get a little bit more involved in highlighting them and finding out a little bit more about what they do.

Today we're going to the island of Oahu. We're going out to the North Shore. We are going to be talking to Devon Dailey.

Devon Dailey: Devon.

Tom Barefoot: Devon. Sorry. Devon Dailey. He's the general manager of the Hawaii Polo Oceanfront Trail Rides. Good morning. How are you, Devon?

Devon Dailey: Hey. Doing great, man. How are you?

Tom Barefoot: Doing pretty good. Honestly I am shocked to see that you are doing this particular interview from horseback. Am I correct?

Devon Dailey: That's right. This is my best horse. I play polo on him every Sunday. This is July.

Tom Barefoot: Oh, cool. What's his name?

Devon Dailey: July.

Tom Barefoot: July. Oh, all right. You've got the beautiful ocean behind you. You've got the beautiful sand, which I know that you guys often ride on. The polo field is on the other side. I think what you had mentioned was you're going to ride the little trail that you'd normally take people on.

Devon Dailey: [crosstalk 00:01:26].

Tom Barefoot: There it is. There's the polo grounds and the beautiful area on the North Shore. Fantastic. Well, I know that the Hawaii Polo Club was established in [inaudible 00:01:44] in '63.

Devon Dailey: For sure.

Tom Barefoot: [crosstalk 00:01:47] polo matches on the Sunday afternoons. At least through the summer you've got a beach bar, entertainment, food, tailgating. Sounds like a lot of fun. Then, during the week you offer horseback riding for the visitors in the afternoons.

Devon Dailey: Yes, sir. We do rides seven days a week and then on Sundays we do them in the morning before the polo games.

Tom Barefoot: Oh, before. Actually, the rides that you do are generally in the afternoon on the weekdays.

Devon Dailey: Yeah. The rest of the days we do them all in the afternoon.

Tom Barefoot: Okay. That's primarily because I'm assuming you're using the field and the facilities for polo-related activities?

Devon Dailey: Yeah. A lot of the times, yeah. The other reason is we just don't have a whole ton of horses, so we don't overdo them. We limit it to three a day.

Tom Barefoot: Oh, okay. How many horses do you actually have actively there?

Devon Dailey: We have over 20.

Tom Barefoot: Over how many?

Devon Dailey: Over 20.

Tom Barefoot: Wow. Amazing.

Devon Dailey: You start including the horses that just play polo, that don't do the trail rides, we have a few more.

Tom Barefoot: Okay. Well, just to kind of get ... Set the scene on this so I get the picture a little bit more, this is a little bit different facility. Most horseback riding stables and so on that have ... That offer horseback rides [inaudible 00:03:07], that's their primary ... That's what they do. I don't think that's really the sense with you guys. You guys are more of a polo facility. You actually have polo matches and that sort of thing that you do, and then this is kind of an additional thing that kind of subsidizes the polo facilities.

Devon Dailey: Yeah, absolutely. Then, a lot of the horses that ... Or all of the horses that we use for our trail rides are either active or retired polo horses.

Tom Barefoot: Wow. That's amazing. Actually, let me ask this question about the horses themselves. They're active or retired polo horses. A polo horse itself, is it a particular type of horse? Does it have to be a Quarter Horse or some other type of horse? What makes a polo horse a horse, a polo horse?

Devon Dailey: Well, I mean, that's a great question. In Hawaii, because of our ... There's so much [inaudible 00:04:13] influence, we use a lot of Quarter Horses. If you were going to play tournament polo on the mainland, or in New Zealand or places with a newer thoroughbred track, they would almost all be thoroughbreds because the thoroughbreds have a little bit more [inaudible 00:04:30], higher speed. The Quarter Horses are great from zero to 60 but over the long haul, and here, I'll show you folks a shot of the long end of the polo field. [inaudible 00:04:42] yards you got to go there.

Tom Barefoot: Wow.

Devon Dailey: Over the span of that a thoroughbred will win out.

Tom Barefoot: Oh, I see. These are obviously highly trained horses. How does that ...

Devon Dailey: Yeah. It takes a long time to make them.

Tom Barefoot: I'm sorry?

Devon Dailey: Yeah. It takes a long time to make them. You know? They have a lot more handle than your common horse.

Tom Barefoot: Yeah. Actually, how long does it take to have a well trained polo horse?

Devon Dailey: I'd say once they have the ... They can neck rein pretty well then you have ... It'll take a couple years to get them to be ready for tournament play. You can play them before that. Quarter Horses [inaudible 00:05:29] a little faster. Guys like this guy, like July, will take a little longer. Not because thoroughbreds are less intelligent, because they're a little more flighty and can be a little more difficult.

Tom Barefoot: Okay. Well, how does this work with ... You've got these well trained Quarter Horses that are used to doing these incredible things on the polo field, and now you're taking in many cases I'm guessing that are really just novices [inaudible 00:06:00]. What happens with the horses? It's kind of like putting somebody who doesn't even know how to do a stick drive on a Maserati. How does it work with the horses? Are they okay with them, the people?

Devon Dailey: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. I'd say it's easier than you would be using anything else because they're also trained to do that. Then, any horses that aren't very safe we don't put on the trail rides. Some horses, like the one I'm riding right now, I wouldn't put guests on them because he's just a little bit too spirited.

The ones that we use for guests are very mellow and [inaudible 00:06:40], which is actually a big advantage of the polo training because they're used to so much stuff going on. A lot of traffic, high speed. On Sundays there's tons of tents and stuff like that. They get used to it and they're able to ... It's kind of like a nice training to get them to be more mellow.

Tom Barefoot: These are going to be perfect for beginners or for intermediate riders [crosstalk 00:07:09].

Devon Dailey: Oh, at any level. Yeah.

Tom Barefoot: Any level.

Devon Dailey: Yep.

Tom Barefoot: I mean, I would say that's probably something that doesn't exist on probably any of the other horseback rides that I know of. Tell me about the community, the polo ... I know that you guys ... I don't know. Was it last week? Every Sunday at least now you guys are having ... Was it LA that came [inaudible 00:07:32]? I'm not sure. I think you guys are all over the place. It's kind of an international community that you guys deal with. Yeah?

Devon Dailey: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Winston Churchill said that polo ... Your polo handicap is your passport to the world. That's absolutely true. We just had the New Zealand here, New Zealand team here, two weeks ago. It was probably the best game of polo we've played here in a few years. Then, yeah, we just had the guys from LA last week.

Tom Barefoot: This goes on all summer. Is it a summer thing or is it seasonal? Excuse me, or do you do it all year-round?

Devon Dailey: Well, polo season is seasonal, but we have trail rides going all year-round. In fact, off season for polo is ... Some of our best rides are during the big wave season.

Tom Barefoot: Oh, wow.

Devon Dailey: Now there's a couple of big breaks right outside the polo field. There's a [inaudible 00:08:29] break. The waves can just be really, really, really amazing to watch.

Tom Barefoot: Yeah. You're actually ... You're right there on the North Shore. I mean, just up the coast on the other side of [inaudible 00:08:41] you've got [inaudible 00:08:44] all the big waves that everybody's familiar with.

Devon Dailey: Oh, yeah.

Tom Barefoot: I guess to some degree they must happen right there in front of you as well.

Devon Dailey: Oh, totally. Oh, you get more of the [inaudible 00:08:54] than over there.

Tom Barefoot: Wow. Oh, one thing I did want to mention. I see the beach behind you. This is an often asked question that we have. People are asking, "Can we ride on a beach in Hawaii?" I guess that would be true here with you guys. Is that right?

Devon Dailey: Yes, sir. It gets complicated, but what you can do, you can ride in the sand but you can't ride in the water. If you go below a certain level then you're going to get into trouble with the powers that be. The other thing to remember is that unlike California or most kind of continental shelves, the sand can be pretty loose down near the water. It's not something you'd want to do with people who don't ride often anyway.

Tom Barefoot: Right. Okay.

Devon Dailey: Horses can trip. We actually used to have one that would ... That we would ride bareback. We'd put the lights in the water for therapy, and then she would lay down and roll. We try to keep them up on the beach just so that's not an issue.

Tom Barefoot: Okay. All right. Well, honestly, that is a ... We get that question an awful lot. It's just good to have an answer to it.

Devon Dailey: Yeah.

Tom Barefoot: Let's actually talk now about, specifically about, the trail rides that you offer.

Devon Dailey: Sure.

Tom Barefoot: There's a few of them. You've got what you refer to as a sunshine ride, the sunset ride, private rides, and then polo lesson rides.

Devon Dailey: Sure.

Tom Barefoot: Kind of walk me through these. The sunshine rides I'm guessing those are the ones that we have in the daytime, right? Probably in the afternoons.

Devon Dailey: Yeah. Those would be our 2:00 and 4:00 slots in the summer, and the 1:00 and the 3:00 slots in the wintertime.

Tom Barefoot: Okay. These last approximately how long, these rides?

Devon Dailey: They're between 60 to 90 minutes. It depends on kind of the group size and then which horses you're on. The trail length is the same.

Tom Barefoot: Okay.

Devon Dailey: That's why [inaudible 00:11:02] time span.

Tom Barefoot: Okay. Then, as far as group size, what are the group sizes on the regular trips that you have, not privates?

Devon Dailey: We're really small. We max out at six, occasionally we bump it up to eight, but if you compare that to other operators we're a third to a half the size of your normal group ride.

Tom Barefoot: Right. Right, right, right.

Devon Dailey: Six is tiny.

Tom Barefoot: You have one facilitator that goes out, one person on a horse, or ... That goes out with them, a leader?

Devon Dailey: Oh, yeah. Oh, absolutely. Our guide to client ratio is we try to keep it one to four.

Tom Barefoot: Oh.

Devon Dailey: Which is once again about half of what's required by your insurance companies and stuff like that. We feel it's a lot safer to make sure you have more staff there.

Tom Barefoot: If you had six people, for instance, you'd probably have two guides. Is that the way it works?

Devon Dailey: Yes, sir.

Tom Barefoot: Oh, okay. All right. Okay. Then you've got the sunset rides that happen during the week. These I'm guessing are obviously at sunset time. Probably the same ride but just a different time of day, right?

Devon Dailey: That's right. Those go out at 5:00 in the winter and then 6:00 in the summertime.

Tom Barefoot: Okay. Now, explain the private rides because these are the ones that a person could actually take himself and his wife out, or [inaudible 00:12:31].

Devon Dailey: Yeah, absolutely. Those are really great for ... Hey, hey, hey, hey. Sorry. July is having a little tantrum. Those are really, really, good for exactly that. Honeymooners. You want to take your wife out for a romantic evening, go to dinner afterward. We do a lot of proposals. It's just a nice way to make the group very small and intimate. It's just you folks and your guide.

Tom Barefoot: Right. No, no. I could see that for sure. These are at the same times as the other tours are. It's just that they're private, correct?

Devon Dailey: Yes, sir.

Tom Barefoot: Then, lastly, you've got ... This amazes me, Devon, but you do polo lesson rides.

Devon Dailey: [crosstalk 00:13:18].

Tom Barefoot: You do it for people that are unexperienced. I'm just like, really? I mean, it seems amazing that you could actually train somebody right there in a little bit of time to get a sense I guess of what it's like to ride a polo pony. That's what you do, right?

Devon Dailey: Oh, yeah. Absolutely, man. I teach a lot of them myself. Like I said, the horses that we use for the lessons are really easy.

Tom Barefoot: Yeah.

Devon Dailey: We have one of them that we put the President Obama on. I think Rihanna rode him. He's our big all-star. He's just so push button. He follows me around on the field. He's my favorite lesson horse. His name is [inaudible 00:14:06].

Tom Barefoot: Well, perfect.

Devon Dailey: Yeah. No, it's very easy. We keep it extremely safe. I think around here the level of horsemanship is really high, so your awareness of what is safe and what is not is at a different level. We always maintain really quiet, easy horses for people who don't know anything. Our expectation is that you know nothing and we go from there.

Tom Barefoot: Right. Well, actually, that leads me to the question. You're a professional polo player. Correct?

Devon Dailey: Yep.

Tom Barefoot: Are the others that are taking people out, are they the same?

Devon Dailey: Well, they're not all polo players. Some of them are, but [crosstalk 00:14:51] we have ... All of our staff is girls, actually. All of our girls are either competitive ropers or polo players or ... My requirement for working here at the barn is that you've had some kind of a competitive experience on the equestrian level. It's mostly western and polo stuff because that's the type of training that translates best to our horses because they neck rein.

Tom Barefoot: Right.

Devon Dailey: Neck reining, meaning that you can use one hand. You can see I got him in a halter here. Doesn't even have a bit on. You can use one hand instead of needing two in order to direct the horse.

Tom Barefoot: That's fantastic. Well, I know that you've been doing this for many years yourself, Devon. Obviously everybody else is really experienced. I did come across one thing as I was kind of researching all this, so I could ask you this question. A little it in the personal variety, but [crosstalk 00:15:58].

Devon Dailey: Sure.

Tom Barefoot: It's such an interesting question to me is that I read that when you were a child, when you were maybe five or something, you were riding horses. You fell off a horse and seriously hurt yourself. I think you maybe punctured your liver or really some kind of internal damage.

Devon Dailey: Yeah.

Tom Barefoot: You were petrified of horses at that point obviously. That you would ever get on a horse again, I have no clue, but that's my question really. How did it happen that you actually not only were able to get back on a horse, but then end up at such a competitive level? What was the transition that occurred there?

Devon Dailey: Well, I mean, it's hard to avoid in my household. My dad has played polo his whole life, so I mean it's obviously only going to be a hiatus at worst. Yeah. No, I got bucked off and I got double barreled by a horse that wasn't really appropriate for me. It's one of those things where you kind of live and you learn, but I was about five years old. I did rupture my liver, but they had just got a CAT scan in the hospital, so I did okay. Yeah, it just took a little time.

You got to remember that horses are all completely different just like people. They all have personalities and things that they do. With experienced guides and people who know what they're doing to select the horses who weren't taking chances then you really mitigate those possibilities.

Tom Barefoot: Wow. Well, I'm glad you made it through that and you're here to help us and all of our clients that are out there and doing these activities.

Devon Dailey: Oh, yeah.

Tom Barefoot: Before we wrap this up, is there anything else you'd like to say or add?

Devon Dailey: We love working with you folks. Yeah, the ride's beautiful. Our horses I think are by far the best in the state. Then, I also ... I'm really proud of our staff. They really kill it and they get really good reviews.

Tom Barefoot: Okay. Well, very good, Devon. Thank you very much. We're going to end this now. I just want everybody to remember that this is ... We've been interviewing Devon Dailey from Hawaii Polo Oceanfront Trail Rides on the North Shore of Oahu. Thank you so much for taking the time [crosstalk 00:18:25].

Devon Dailey: [crosstalk 00:18:25] July.

Tom Barefoot: Okay. Aloha.

Devon Dailey: All right. Take it easy, my man.

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You will have to drive to the more remote areas of Oahu, far from the streets of Honolulu and Waikiki, in order to search out your horseback riding adventure but when you arrive at your horseback riding stable you'll be able to enjoy a more "laid back" Oahu experience.

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