Most horses don’t have a view of whales spouting in the ocean behind them… but the horses of CJM Stables in Kauai do! “CJM” stands for Come Join Me, and Jimmy Miranda, the personable owner of the stables, really wants you to do just that.
Jimmy started constructing CJM Stables over 30 years ago. He ignored the naysayers, and has created one idyllic spot for horses and horse people alike. The horses are well fed and happy… all 63 of them!
With hay prices at approximately $40 per 100 pounds, this can’t be an inexpensive adventure. We stayed on the north shore which averages 85 inches of rain per year. CJM is in Poipu, on the south shore. They get approximately 35 inches of rain per year. So while pasture would grow, it isn’t as lush as Princeville and Hanalei.
Hay is shipped in shipping containers, and recently the National Guard was called in to unload containers at the docks! Jimmy spends $6k to just ship the container, never mind what is in it. Loaded with hay, it costs him $13k.
Farriers cost between $100-$150 dollars per horse. That is consistent with what we see across the mainland.
Jimmy owns 32 acres but they have access to 600 acres for riding. Their website advertises rides that range from “coastal and mountain vistas to agricultural ranch land.” The stable is allowed to ride across a sand bar to access their trails, which is essentially riding on the beach.
This facility was super clean, with happy horses and the most gorgeous terrain imaginable. Jimmy gave us a tour. He built the round pen as he is still riding 2-year olds and raising his own horses. He does buy some from the mainland as well.
There is a gorgeous arena, also built by Jimmy. In fact, there was nothing there when he bought the property initially. He built everything. The arena is home to team roping and bronc riding competitions. There are lessons and rodeo opportunities for all ages on the island. Additionally, there are national competitions that occur at this facility.
The staff member that I spoke to initially said there are now 3rd generation equestrians riding at the stable. Parents who honeymooned on the island and rode with Jimmy are now bringing kids and grandkids.
Two other places to ride
Although I have been coming to the island for over a decade, I didn’t know this place existed! I had ridden a couple of times at Princeville Ranch, another facility on the north shore.
Additionally, I rode at one other stable, although I can’t remember the name of it! It was a one-time deal, arranged through a friend of a veterinarian I met on the island. More on Dr. Scott Sims momentarily…
What I do remember is that I rode an old polo pony. I was given the option of wearing a helmet, but they were all horribly musty smelling, so I declined! My “guide” was a local kid barely out of his teens. He assessed my equestrian skills as he watched me tack up. We started down a very wet, very muddy trail. He looked back once or twice, decided I knew my stuff, and gunned his horse! No word of warning at all. My polo pony shifted into high gear and off we went, racing around winding, muddy trails. I had mud in my face like I was a jockey. It was an experience I won’t forget!
The Aloha Vet
When we adopted Lucy from the Kauai Humane Society in 2013, we had to get her out of the shelter as soon as we committed to her. We couldn’t keep her at our condo, so KHS suggested we board her with a veterinarian on the island, Dr. Sims.
Follow the link on Dr. Sims to read his Wikipedia write-up. He was known as the Aloha vet because of a television series produced by Nat Geo Wild. This honor occurred after I met him in 2013, but it is no surprise to me that he was approached for a television show. This guy was freaking amazing. Sadly, he was in negotiations for a second year of Aloha Vet when he was diagnosed with bladder cancer. He died in 2015.
He had an incredible set-up on his island facility that allowed him to do surgeries. When I was there in 2013, I watched him prepare a horse for eye surgery. His Wikipedia write-up described his parrot, Oliver. I believe he had two birds when we met him. He was really an amazing, personable guy.
The staff member that I first spoke to at CJM Stables told me that the island had no equine vet for 5 years after Dr. Sims died. Apparently, one gal on the island who owned a very valuable horse that was medically insured was able to fly a team of vets to the island to operate on her horse’s fractured leg. They resurrected Dr. Sims’ hoist equipment, which was very rusty after several years of neglect in such a humid environment. Insurance paid for this monumental endeavor, and the horse recovered fully!
There is now a husband/wife team of vets on the island, and the husband has extensive equine experience. But can you imagine living on an island with absolutely NO veterinary services for horses?
Next week I will tell you about the Horses of Gili. It is the story of a vet tech who is operating an amazing rescue and making a huge difference for the horses of another island.