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.
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