Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Horseback Riding Vacation

Skinny horses await your horseback riding vacation at Pandora's Stables Punta Cana
Skinny horses await your horseback riding vacation at Pandora’s Stables Punta Cana

The Sad Side of a Horseback Riding Vacation at Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

“We just returned from a trip to Punta Cana, located in the Dominican Republic, ” recalled Claudia Walsh of New York. “Through our hotel, Paradisus Punta Cana, we went on a horseback riding vacation at El Pat Ranch. This was the saddest lot of horses I have ever seen.”

I Could Tell This Was Not Going to be a Positive Horseback Riding Vacation

“I could tell this was not going to be a positive horseback riding vacation right from the time we pulled up to the ranch,” continued Walsh. “I looked to where the horses were tied. They were thin, dull and listless. Some horses only had three shoes on.These horses have never been loved.  They were Paso Fino types, which I know have slight frames to begin with, but this was ridiculous.  The tack was falling to pieces. However, I  participated in the horseback riding vacation,  since I didn’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere alone. Honestly,  I felt like crying. Surprisingly, my horse was not lame but she never pricked her ears once. They just flopped to the side like all the other horses.”

Horseback Riding Vacation in Punta Cana - Check Horse's Health
Horseback Riding Vacation in Punta Cana – Check Horse’s Health

Horseback Riding Vacation in Punta Cana

“If you are going to ride while in Punta Cana, DO NOT go to El Pat Ranch,” said CS Walsh.   ” I am writing our hotel to ask that they not send customers there until they can show improvement.  I realize Punta Cana, located in the Dominican Republic, is a third world country that is poor. I also acknowledge that they are not going to take good care of animals like I take care of my horse in the United States. This being said, the condition of the horses on this horseback riding vacation were really unacceptable.”
While Walsh did note that the scenery in Punta Cana was beautiful, this was obviously not a favorable horseback riding vacation for Walsh. If you have experienced a horseback riding vacation, good or bad, that you would like to share with us, we look forward to hearing from you.

Check Condition of Horses at the Ranch

Another guest said, “The ranch we visited during our horseback riding vacation was very close to the Melia Caribe resort where we stayed. The condition of the horses were deplorable. They were certainly mal-nourished.  It was a very sad experience.”

TripAdvisor on Horseback Riding Vacations in Punta Cana

“In all of my years of traveling to the Dominican Republic,  among the best memories is my horseback riding vacation in Punta Cana with Rancho El Diferente, ” said Kaki, a TripAdvisor member from Saskatoon, Canada.  They sell the rides on the property at Dreams Punta Cana and other hotels, but even if they don’t sell them directly through your hotel they can be reached by e-mail at ranchoeldiferente@hotmail.de  or at (809) 552-6322, (809) 342-1639 and (809) 498-3482.

Horseback Riding Vacation on the Beach at Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Horseback Riding Vacation on the Beach at Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Quality Horses at Rancho el Diferente

The private beach that you gallop down is absolutely gorgeous and undeveloped, but above all is the great condition of the horses and the clearly apparent care that the owner has for them. I could not recommend them more heartily. They have a ton of horseback riding vacation options too, all extremely reasonably priced in my estimation.
Have you been on a horseback riding vacation in Punta Cana, DR?
Please note that the photos provided are not from El Pat Ranch. The photos were taken from a guest on a horseback riding vacation at Pandora’s Stables in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
If You Go:

Rancho El Diferente

15 thoughts on “Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Horseback Riding Vacation”

  1. I’ve been to Punta Cana a few times but have yet to have experienced any horseback riding there……next time though I will try Rancho el Diferente.

    However, I support Claudia’s efforts to let the resort know about the problems at El Pat Ranch – I would also encourage her to contact anyone who has left a negative review of El Pat on TripAdvisor and ask that they also make their voices heard directly to the resorts. Another good option would be to contact the Tourism Department for the Dominican Republic. Grass roots efforts are often successful if enough people join in, and the horses at El Pat deserve to have someone fighting for them.

  2. Hello Trisha,
    Thank you for your thoughtful comments on horseback riding in the Dominican Republic. I agree with you that grass roots efforts are often successful in changing a bad situation to good.

    Horses certainly do need advocates as they can’t speak for themselves!

  3. Hi… I really want to go horseback riding on my trip to Punta Cana. I leave in one week. I do NOT want to support a place that does not properly look after its horses. Where would people recommend???

  4. I just returned from a three-day stay at the Excellence Punta Cana, which is a lovely all-inclusive resort. I was having a wonderful time until I went to take a half-hour ride along the beach. The horses are in deplorable condition…probably full of parasites, but also malnourished. The tack is in terrible shape and some horses had browbands that had slipped down over an eye. At one point I saw the horse next to mine had a raw spot where the poorly fitted bridle had worn through his skin. Several horses had irritated, raw looking fetlock areas, probably from so much sand and salt water. When I walked over to one horse and moved a browband up, the guy in charge hustled over and said, “Everything OK?” I wanted to tell him of course not, but instead I shut up and took the ride, my miserable horse shuffling along with the others. I couldn’t wait to get away from such a sad situation. As another reader noted, the DR has lots of people who need food and healthcare, but it’s really distressing to see these suffering animals. Any suggestions?

  5. Hello Amy,
    Thank you for your comment. However, it makes me very sad to read the horse conditions in Punta Cana.

    My suggestion would be to tell the Excellence Punta Cana (or however recommended you to the stable) that the conditions for the horses were unacceptable. Advise the hotel/resort of the deplorable animal conditions and suggest to them that they NOT continue to support the stable with guest referrals until the stable has upgraded their treatment of the horses.

  6. I just wrote a letter to the director of public relations at Excellence Punta Cana about the condition of the horses, concluding by asking what he plans to do to correct the situation. I’ll keep you posted!

  7. I stayed at Dreams last year and went riding at Rancho El Diferente, I had a great time. The guys were a lot of fun and I loved it the rum wasn’t bad either. I’m staying at Memories this year I don’t know if we can go, hope so.

  8. Seems as though El Diferente is the better choice. Does anyone know if they come to all resorts or just certain ones. We are planning a trip this summer but we have never been to Punta Cana and unfortunately we do not speak spanish which is already showing itself to be an issue. Thanks in advance for suggestions on how to make a connection with the ranch

  9. @Joe
    I still haven’t made it to Punta Cana, so I am no help with a ranch connection. I would welcome a guest post from you if you go horseback riding at El Diferente or another DR stable. Buena suerte!

  10. @Vicky
    Thank you very much for taking the time to circle back to Writing Horseback and provide us with an update on horseback riding in Punta Cana. I have yet to travel to the Dominican Republic, but I understand it is the land of “haves and have nots.” I suppose if you don’t have a lot of money and are barely able to provide for your family, it makes sense that horses are at the bottom of the food chain – treated poorly and under-fed. Having said that, I don’t understand why they are not able to create a safe place for a horseback riding vacation in Punta Cana. This place is included in my post on “Worst Horseback Riding Vacations.”

  11. My name is Ken, and I am one of the owners of http://PuntaCanaTours.com and http://CaribbeanDreamTO.com. Just to clarify Vicky’s comments above, we do not own Pats Ranch, nor do we do business with Pats Ranch. In fact, we are expats that live in the Dominican Republic. Any provider we use for ANY excursion that involves animals (not just horses), must meet our high standards of animal care. We actively participate in animal rescues in our local community and donate a portion of all proceeds to helping animals in our local community. You can read more about our active involvement to the care of animals here:


  12. @Ken
    Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment regarding Horseback Riding in Punta Cana. As noted in my blog posts, I have not yet traveled to the Dominican Republic and experienced a horseback riding holiday in Punta Cana. I look forward to riding with Punta Cana Tours one day and writing a review based on my personal accounts. I am glad to hear that your organization maintains high standards of animal care.

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