A few days ago, we got our first 1-star review on TripAdvisor, in contrast to the forty-five 5 stars review straight. It was a bit discouraging, but with self-awareness and mindfulness, we have come to the point to accept it and embrace it as much as all the good reviews we have worked hard for up until this point. A learn from this situation.
We wish to share with you this story, for the ones wondering, either as a new visitor or already visited, that might be wondering how come a club that has only had good reviews manages to get one person so unsatisfied and horrid enough to leave a mark at the other end of the scale. This is reflected in the picture we have as a cover for this note, a painting of two horses symbolizing Ying and Yang, that comes with a simple and ancient teaching, showing us that, even in the good there´s something bad, and there´s also good to be found in the bad, making it a perfect balance when you manage to see the world with an open heart and practice mindfulness that keeps one realistic and in touch with the truth in every moment of life.
All that is shared with you is the written correspondence on TripAdvisor and mail. And we hope that you will see both sides of the story neutrally, and with common sense. And also learn from this, that if you wish to ride with us, please let your ego stay behind, and listen carefully to the instructions given and follow it, as well as be prepared to be told to step down if you do not manage to do so.
I had opted to do a one hour ride in the rubber plantation, but was offered the recently opened mountain ride. It started with sharp inclines and declines, with the horses having to navigate through rough terrain. Vegetation hung over the paths and the guide should have instructed us to dismount. He didn't but Indiana Jones like steamed ahead, bamboo dropped down and I was knocked off the horse by the neck. Severe injuries have resulted and I will be on medication for at least six weeks.
Date of experience: November 2019
South Arabian H, Owner at South Arabian Horse Club, responded to this reviewResponded 2 days ago
Dear Sally. Let us respond to you with our sincerity and honesty.
The situation as we know it is that you contacted us again on 24th October (after already riding an Option B Beach 21st October), wanting to book for another 3 hours Beach trail in the morning, which was not possible due to the water tides and we suggested a 1-hour forest trail instead.
You then booked for Saturday morning at 08:30 on the 26th. The day before your ride, we had a 2 hours Beginner trail, with two inexperienced riders riding on the same Mountain trail that you would ride, and therefore the reason why we gave you the OPTION TO CHOOSE whether you would like to ride the Mountain trail or Forest trail.
And you choose to ride the Mountain trail on your own, and it was the exact same trail the Beginners rode the day before you, and the exact same trail when you rode with us for your second out of 4 times on February 3rd, 2019.
Inclines and declines are a part of riding a Mountain trail, and vegetation is a part of riding outdoors, especially in a tropical rainforest.
When you mention that you should´ve dismounted the horse, it could not be an option because you could not mount the horse without a stool, which was not to be found anywhere in the forest and on a mountain, and since the trail leader had no incident with beginner riders crossing under the same bamboo the day before, he therefore decided to choose to tell you to bow your head and walk with the horse.
On the path where the incident occurred, there was bamboo hanging over the way. The trail leader had no problem to bow his head to ride through it, and he waited on the other side for you to ride after him. He told you to bow your head down and walk slowly as he had done, but you did not control the horse to walk, instead, you let him trot 4-5 steps downhill towards the hanging bamboo which did not give you time enough time to bow your head. And unfortunately, the little finger-sized bamboo branch broke on your neck, giving you a slight cut on your throat when pulling you back off the horse, falling down on your left hip.
The trail leader then looked to you immediately and examined you with his medical background experience to see that you could move your body, legs, arms, and back. And examined the wound caused by the bamboo, which was an approximately 1 millimeter deep and 8 millimeters long cut, that caused a few drops of blood that stopped dripping after a short time. And he then doublechecked your lower back and saw that you did not have any scratches or bruises.
You managed to walk 200 meters to reach the telephone signal point and wait for Cat to come and pick you up, because you refused to get back on the horseback.
We are of course very sorry this accident happened, and wish not for neither you or the good name and intentions of our business to be weighed up against this one-time accident.
Especially when you have been riding with us for 4 times now, and have already been on the exact same trail and with the same trail leader before without any problem. (3rd February 2019)
And when Cat drove you back to the hotel, you declined offered wipes for you to clean yourself up, accepted the refund of 2/3 rds of the money as a sorry from us that you had a bad experience, and declined the offer to pick up your husband to drive you to the Medical Clinic.
We wrote to you later in the evening to ask how you were, and you answered that you had to rest for one week, and had to go back to the doctor because of a deep cut to the neck. We wished you a good recovery and did not hear anymore from you until this review on TA.
We will take this very seriously, and in the future be more careful for both the rider and ourselves, making sure that every path is fit for every level of riders and their personal abilities.
We wish you still a good recovery and may the small cut and rashes to your throat be healed quickly as well as your sore back.
Sincerely, The Owners of South Arabian Horse Club
Serina, Catarina, and Joe
CAT WRITING ON EMAIL:
Sally, I am sorry that you had such a bad experience that made you write a review on TA about it. We will of course respect your decision and opinion, and have only done as we can do professionally with the situation and also when responding to you officially. *Please read the full official response on TA.
This is a personal message from me, Cat to you, as one who have met with you and been in contact with you for several times since your first time riding with us in November 2018. I was personally very disappointed and sad about the situation, where all my good actions and kindness towards you, and all the passion and care that I have put into every rider and the club, would be weighed up against this accident. Especially when it’s with you that have been riding with us several times. And I take it as a big fault from me that I could not have made it better. I wish to let you know that I am deeply disappointed and sorry that this ever happened, Joe and I never wished for this to happen, and I am sad that you would blame Joe for poor guidance instead of looking and reflection on every details leading to this incidence first. As written, we will respect your decision and opinion and we will in the future do better avoiding these situations. We will most likely never see you again or hear from you again apparently based on the intention of your review. And we do agree that we will put an end to here.
With 30 year's riding knowledge under my belt, I have a deep understanding of what makes a good guide. Unfortunately Joe is not qualified in this regard as my experience shows.
Then we would like to end this conversation with this for you to reflect on:
How come after riding for 30 years, you do not manage to control the horse properly and allowing your horse to walk in front of the trail leader several times, and allowing the horse to trot downhill instead of walking when you were told to walk slowly and already saw what was ahead. Also when riding, you do not even manage to trot properly or have basic understanding of a situation like this which do not reflect in your statement of 30 years of riding experience and knowledge of how a guide should be.
Because with 30 years experience one should know to look at oneself and the whole situation first before blaming others.
And, how come the beginners, that have never ridden before manage to pass the exact same spot twice without any problem.
We hope that you will reflect on this mindfully and with common sense, detached from your emotions of anger towards the situation, and look at the facts as it is!
We hope you will come to peace and understanding of the whole picture, instead of projecting and blaming on everyone else than oneself first.
Thank you for riding with us during the rainy low season. We are looking forward to read your words about your experiences and all the best from us and the horses at
South Arabian Horse Club.
We´ve set our Beach and Beginner Beach trail prices to 4.000 THB per person due to the hours spent preparing before the 3 hours trail and the time spent after finished riding with showering and grooming the horses, and also the high risk of injuries on our horses and the extra care we have to give for our horses after riders that manage to harm the horses with bruises, wounds and soreness, due to their inexperience, excitement and lack of understanding. Due to our experiences and calculations, we have come to the conclusion that the new price of 4.000 THB for our services provided to our riders, hard work for both horses and human is reflected in the price.
With the new price we are still giving our riders the most Value for money when it comes to riding on the Beach here in Khao Lak, but if you wish to spend less money and less time riding, there are other clubs to look into in Khao Lak that can provide you their Beach riding services. *Please have in mind that we do not recommend them or have anything to do with the other clubs, this is only a suggestion in case you wish to ride a shorter ride and spend less in amount. Just google for Horse riding in Khao Lak or take a look on TripAdvisor for other places in and around Khao Lak.
Sincerely Cat and Joe.
Hard work, dedication, care for our riders and the environment, love for our horses and the way we run our horse club has earned us an
Excellence award from TripAdvisor.
We take it as a great compliment and wish to say thank you to all of our riders who took their time to write their experience of riding with our
Arabian horses at South Arabian Horse Club .
This March we had many visitors riding with us and our horses and had a record of Photoshoot packages requests. We are grateful that you choose to ride with us, supporting our concept and values and our Arabian horses. Thank you, and we hope to see you again!!
Thank you to our visitors in February 2019, for the ones returning and for the new ones. Thank you for your generosity and kinds words, and for supporting our concept of riding, taking care of horses and our services.
All the best from Cat, Joe, Serina and our horses 🐎 👨👩👧✨ 🇬🇧🇫🇮🇫🇷🇲🇨🇰🇷🇭🇰🇮🇹🇩🇰🇱🇻🇹🇭🇸🇪🇳🇿🇦🇺🇨🇭🇯🇵🇩🇪
To get this off the chest and to enlighten the ones asking...
No, we do not reduce our prices or give discounts.
Let’s start with that we wish not to judge you for asking if we can reduce the price, for perhaps you’ve read or been told that it is common to negotiate or bargaining when you’re in Thailand... but have in mind, that’s on the local markets selling replicas etc., you don’t ask for price reduction on Restaurants, Shopping malls or in this case, on a Professional stable that offers horse riding services, at least not this stable.
As one should have in mind, taking PROPER care of Horses is expensive, whether in Europe, other countries around the world and in Thailand.
Our Horses are imported, the equipment is imported and our food and supplemental are in high quality, so when asked if we can reduce our prices, it is a bit disappointing for us that it seems like you don’t seem to understand the care and the quality of our services. So if you’re a new visitor of the club and have considerations about asking for a price reduction, we hope that by having read this post, you are more understandable to why we charge our prices and have a deeper respect for the equine care and services provided by professional stables.
Thank you to our visitors the first month of the new year of 2019, making it a fun and busy month for us and our horses. It was nice for us to see you coming back to us again this year and also nice to get to know the new ones. We also want to thank you for your generosity, kind words, recommendations and reviews. We wish you all welcome back, and thanks again for supporting us and our horses. 🇨🇭🇹🇭🇺🇸🇲🇽🇳🇱🇬🇧🏴🇫🇮🇩🇰🇳🇴🇸🇪🇵🇱🇫🇷🇰🇼🇰🇷🇺🇦🇩🇪🇦🇺
For some, they may question why we are so Strict and Thorough when we are asking for and providing information to our guests, and why we are very detailed with our Booking Instructions before we let anyone be riding on our horses...
To let you understand the reason why we will let you see from our point of view...
Since we opened in September 2017, we have had hundreds of people riding our horses, and have many experiences that are the references to why we wish every rider to be Honest and have some basic Personal insight before riding our horses.
Let's start with why we wish our riders to tell us their Riding Levels...
Not only is this is to match the right horse and trail to their level, but also to the extra service we would provide for the ones who are inexperienced.
Still... we have some that inform us that they are a Level 2 or 3 ( knows how to trot and canter ), but when they come and sit on our horses, they don´t even know how to hold the reins or sit properly. We have no problem with teaching a novice to ride, and we have techniques to make it safe for both the horse and the rider, and it would be done on a Beginner trail, and not on an Advanced trail with other experienced riders, where their inexperience would hold back and spoil the whole ride for the ones who are riding on an Advanced Level.
And then... with this one-time incidence, without mentioning any names or nationality, let us share with you the experience that led us to why we Emphasize our future guests to have Personal insight, Knowing the difference between riding experience Inside the arena and Outside the arena, Pay before riding, and when Under 18, a parent must sign before riding.
Have in mind: This has never happened before with any of our horses the time we´ve been
running our business, and we are strict to make this will never happen again!
There was a girl that booked a ride with us over WhatsApp, she did not inform us that she was under 18, though we told her to read on our website about the Details before booking an Option A Beach trail with us, where it says clearly on our Website, that if you´re under 18, a parent would have to sign for you. She was dropped off by her father at the club, where the father did not attempt to speak to us or our staff before driving off quickly, leaving her without no money or thoughts of signing our Liability and Release agreement form for her since she was only 14 years old. When finding out her real age just a few minutes before the trail would start, for not to spoil her dream of riding on the Beach, we made it so that her father had to consent that she could ride with us over SMS, without having signed our Liability and Release agreement form. Before the trail everyone has to write down their Riding Level, as she wrote Level 3 ( knows how to trot and canter ), she also told us that she did not ride regularly, but that she always ride on her holidays, some few times in a year, and that she was used to going riding outside on trails as inside the arena. As we explained everyone about the trail, that we will cross waters, and walk into the ocean with water reaching to the knee height of the horses, we noticed that her eyes seem to be a bit worried and distant, but when asked if everyone was ok or had any questions, she and the rest of the group said they were fine and we started our Beach trail.
Joe had to lead 5 horses that day, where this girl started off as the last rider on the line, riding a horse that has been ridden by all levels, from the inexperienced to the experienced.
Just a few minutes into the trail, Joe could notice that the girl was easily spooked by minor things, and seemed very uneasy. So he moved her up the line so she could ride behind him and he could talk her through the trail and keep a close eye on her. She was very nervous around water and started making loud sounds... where her nervous energies and sounds started rubbing off to the horse she was riding, making the horse uncomfortable and unsure about why these sounds and such nervousness. When they arrived at the Beach, we have as a routine to walk the horses into the water first, so they can relax and get used to that day´s waves. She started screaming out loud that she doesn't want to get wet, and at the moment the horse turned away, she threw her weight halfway the saddle, and let herself fall off the horse by letting herself go. It was a very short fall and obvious no major injury or pain. Her screaming and loud sounds made the horse afraid and ran off back the way they came from.
Luckily Cat and the stableman, Noi who was babysitting Serina, was nearby with the car since Cat had to take pictures for a Photo package for others riding on that same trail. With Noi on foot, attempting to find the horse by following the footsteps of the horse, and the girl sitting safe in the back seat of the car, Cat contacted the father on the phone to let him know of the situation, and that he was to come and pick her up. In the meanwhile, after that the girl managed to calm down, Cat got to talk to the girl, where she expressed that it was so different for her to be riding out on trail than inside the arena, and had only fallen off a horse inside the arena before. To that, we must say that it is normal to fall of a horse, its just knowing how to fall safely and handle the situation mentally as well as physically. And yes, riding inside the arena is very different, because when you are out on a trail, you´re outside in nature, where nature can be unpredictable, and being outside is also being with other animals, humans, traffic and in her case... water.
When returned to the club with the girl to await her father to pick her up, the horse was still not found, and Noi still on foot looking for the poor horse. When the father came, the girl spoke to him in their language that she wished him to pay us for the trail, where the father got upset and said to Cat that he refused to pay and that Cat could just sue him for it. Cat answered him, that she was not the one that asked him to pay, it was his daughter, but told him that it was wrong of him in the first place to drop off his daughter without signing for her, pay for the trail before riding, or make sure to talk to us before leaving an underaged girl in our care. Cat also expressed to him that what was, even more, worse by him, was that Cat had taken good care of his daughter, and then he in return did not even ask or cared about the horse who was still missing.
Those few thousand Bath could never replace the sentimental value of the horse, nor the real price of the horse which is over 1 million Bath. With this incident, which we have learned from, is to make sure that everything is signed and paid for before riding. Making sure they have been honest about their level, inside and outside the arena, and when they are too nervous and mentally not fit to ride, immediately told to step down from the horse...
At the end... luckily... Noi came back to the club riding on the horse that he had found in the nearby palm plantation. The horse had no major physical damages, but psychologically some bad memories that has to be replaced with new and good experiences. When reading our side of the story, we hope this answers our future guests who might wonder why we are very detailed about how to book and inform us about one's level, and that they also get to understand the importance of Honesty and Personal insight when booking a ride with us. We are glad to receive and have all types of riders, inexperienced or experienced, it's just to find the right horse, the right group and type of trail that will fit your level. But most important, is that you respect the instructions given to you, and care for the horse that you are riding.
Cat and Joe
To this note, we would also like to apply about the horse, since this article has been out for some while now, we notice that there´s some don´t get our main intention about this article, which is that you as a rider must be calm and honest to us about what your abilities are.
Still, there is some who would blame the horse... and think that the horse is wrong for reacting out: I´ve had enough of these nervous and unclear signals from the one on my back!
As for the horse in this incidence, it was Isabella, our imported mare from California, US.
She is a breeding mare and had just weaned off her latest foal, Arthemisia.
Which perhaps explains why she wanted just to head home while this incidence on the beach.
Isabella has been ridden many times, by both inexperienced and experienced riders.
For example, out stableman Noi, who has no training in riding or techniques, rides Isabella easily, due to his calm and cool nature.
After the incidence, Joe took Isabella out as a trail leader horse to make her relax with a rider
on her back again, and a few days later, a 13 years old girl rode Isabella excellently.
So instead of blaming the horses, one must look at one's self, if you as a rider is actually calm and clear enough to ride in unison with a well-trained horse. For now, Isabella is expecting a new foal, and are not available for our guests to be riding anyways. Just remember, our main message is that you have to be honest to us, be a calm and clear leader for the horse because it is not the horse job to ride for you, you are the leader and rider.
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