Photo By: Sean Freeman
Photo By: Krissy Millar
In the age of Lyft and
Uber, people have come to expect
rides on demand. But what if you are six years old and the ride you demand is
on the back of a pony? Well, if you live on Maui, you might be in luck.
Run by longtime pony lover
Melissa Sowers and her family, Maui Ponies offers riding lessons and riding
camps at a five-acre ranch in Kula. It also loads ponies into a trailer and
delivers them to birthdays, lu‘au, weddings and any other event where the
little steeds are called for. Need a team of sparkly rainbow-colored mini
horses for a princess soirée? No problem. Looking for a few rugged Shetlands
for a posse of junior cowpokes to tame? You got it. Searching for some mythical
unicorns for an unforgettable first-grade graduation? As long as you don’t mind
ponies dressed up as unicorns with plastic horns attached to their bridles, that
can happen, too. “You name it, we’re ready,” says Sowers. “Throw it at us.”
Sowers got her first pony
when she was six. She grew up riding it on Maui’s north shore, through
sprawling pastures and pineapple fields. Maui Ponies got started after she
became a mom and bought a pony for her son. “Everything just kind of snowballed
from there,” Sowers says. With names such as Sea Triscuit, Applejack and
Princess, a dozen ponies now inhabit Sowers’ stable.
Starting around $250 an
hour, Maui Ponies will deliver three or more ponies to your door. Sowers says
she is partial to Shetlands because they’re just the right size for kids and
“they’ve got a lot of spunk to them, a lot of spirit.” But of course all
ponies, regardless of breed, have a way of putting smiles on people’s faces.
“It’s really moving to see how they can change somebody’s mood,” Sowers says.
“They make people happy just by being there.”