The spooky horses of Waipi’o Valley

A horse stands by a pool in the road to the beach at Waipi'o ValleyA horse stands by a pool in the road to the beach at Waipi'o Valley
Yesterday, I posted about my hike into Waipi’o Valley. One feature of the valley is that wild horses live there. These appear to be ‘wild’ in the sense that they aren’t owned, but they’re not the wild mustangs of the wide open west.

I saw the first of them when I came to this large lake spanning the sandy road leading to the beach. At first I didn’t notice it, but as I looked for my best path around the pond, I saw it standing off to the side, by the trees. My best path would take me in the horse’s direction; the other side looked too muddy.

I looked at the horse again. It hadn’t moved. Not at all. Not a swish of the tail, not a flick of an ear. It was eerily still, so still I wondered for a moment if it wasn’t a super-realistic, life size model set there to disconcert tourists. No matter. I had to go by it and it would surely move then. As I approached, I spoke to it. Still nothing. I passed behind it. Not a twitch, not a blink. I walked to the other side of the road and took another photo. Nothing from the horse. A few more photos and finally the horse flicked its tail, the first sign of life since I initially saw it. After a while, the horse gathered itself, turned around, and eased into the trees.

Later, on my return after going a little way up the Muliwai Trail, I took the trail which runs through the trees behind the beach. A short way along the trail I just got a certain feeling. I turned around and there was a horse following me only about 10 feet behind. I hadn’t seen it. I hadn’t heard it. It looked at me, then turned toward the ocean. I walked on a few paces, then looked back. The horse was gone, nowhere to be seen.

For more information about the Waipi’o Valley trail, go to