How to Buy a Horse in Hawaii: A Clear Guide for Prospective Buyers

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Buying a horse in Hawaii can be a unique and exciting experience. However, it’s important to understand the process and requirements before making any decisions. Hawaii has strict regulations on importing animals to prevent the spread of diseases, and horses are no exception. Therefore, it’s essential to do your research and prepare accordingly.

The first step in buying a horse in Hawaii is to familiarize yourself with the state’s import regulations. You will need to obtain a permit from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, which requires specific health and vaccination records for the horse. Additionally, all horses must undergo a quarantine period upon arrival in Hawaii, which can last up to 120 days. It’s crucial to plan accordingly and factor in the cost of quarantine and transportation when budgeting for your horse purchase.

Understanding the Equestrian Community in Hawaii

Hawaii has a thriving equestrian community that is passionate about horses. Whether you are a seasoned rider or a beginner, there are plenty of opportunities to experience horseback riding in Hawaii. In this section, we will provide an overview of the equestrian community in Hawaii, including the different locations, facilities, and events.

Equestrian Community

The equestrian community in Hawaii is made up of a diverse group of people who share a love for horses. There are several equestrian clubs and organizations throughout the state that cater to different disciplines, such as dressage, show jumping, and trail riding. These clubs and organizations provide a platform for riders to connect, compete, and learn from each other.

Honolulu, HI

Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii, is home to several equestrian facilities that offer riding lessons, trail rides, and boarding services. Some of the popular equestrian facilities in Honolulu include the Hawaii Polo Club, Koko Crater Stables, and Waimanalo Polo Grounds. These facilities offer a range of services for riders of all levels, from beginner lessons to advanced training.

Big Island

The Big Island of Hawaii is known for its stunning natural beauty and diverse terrain, making it an ideal location for horseback riding. There are several equestrian communities on the Big Island, such as Waikii Ranch, that offer facilities and trail systems for riding. These communities provide a unique opportunity for riders to live in a horse-friendly environment and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Big Island.


Hawaii hosts several equestrian events throughout the year, such as the Hawaii Polo Season, Hawaii Horse Expo, and the Paniolo Parade. These events attract riders and horse enthusiasts from all over the world and provide an opportunity to showcase the talent and skill of Hawaii’s equestrian community.

In conclusion, Hawaii has a vibrant equestrian community that offers a range of opportunities for riders of all levels. Whether you are looking for riding lessons, boarding services, or a horse-friendly community to call home, Hawaii has something to offer.

Exploring Horse Breeds Suitable for Hawaii

When it comes to buying a horse in Hawaii, it’s important to choose a breed that can thrive in the local climate and terrain. Hawaii’s warm and humid weather, combined with its hilly and mountainous landscapes, make certain horse breeds more suitable than others.

Familiarizing with Palomino Gelding

One breed that is well-suited for Hawaii is the Palomino Gelding. These horses are known for their beautiful golden coats and gentle dispositions, making them a popular choice for both novice and experienced riders.

Palomino Geldings are a type of Quarter Horse, which is a breed known for its athleticism and versatility. They are typically between 14 and 16 hands tall, and can weigh between 1,000 and 1,200 pounds. Their muscular build and strong legs make them well-suited for navigating Hawaii’s varied terrain.

In addition to their physical attributes, Palomino Geldings are also known for their friendly and easygoing personalities. They are often used as trail horses, as they are comfortable with new environments and can handle long rides with ease.

If you’re considering buying a Palomino Gelding in Hawaii, it’s important to find a reputable breeder or seller who can provide you with a healthy and well-trained horse. Take the time to research different breeders and sellers in your area, and ask for references or testimonials from previous customers.

Overall, Palomino Geldings are a great choice for anyone looking for a versatile and friendly horse that can thrive in Hawaii’s unique climate and terrain.

Age and Health Considerations When Buying a Horse

When buying a horse in Hawaii, it is important to consider the age and health of the animal. Here are some factors to keep in mind:


Age is an important factor to consider when buying a horse. A horse’s age can affect its health, behavior, and performance. Here are some age-related considerations:

  • Young horses: Young horses may be less experienced and require more training, but they can also be more adaptable and easier to train. It is important to note that young horses may not be fully developed physically or mentally, which can affect their long-term health and performance.
  • Middle-aged horses: Horses between the ages of 7 and 14 are considered middle-aged and may be the best choice for most riders. These horses have usually finished their training and are in their prime physically and mentally. They are also less likely to have health problems compared to younger or older horses.
  • Older horses: Older horses may have health issues and require more maintenance, but they can also be more experienced and reliable. It is important to have a veterinarian examine an older horse before purchasing to ensure it is healthy and capable of meeting your needs.


The health of the horse is another important consideration when buying a horse in Hawaii. Here are some health-related considerations:

  • Vaccinations and deworming: Make sure the horse has been vaccinated and dewormed regularly to prevent the spread of diseases and parasites.
  • Soundness: A sound horse is free from lameness or other physical issues that can affect its performance and well-being. Have a veterinarian examine the horse to ensure it is sound before purchasing.
  • Medical history: Ask the seller about the horse’s medical history, including any past injuries, illnesses, or surgeries. This information can help you make an informed decision about the horse’s suitability for your needs.

In conclusion, when buying a horse in Hawaii, it is important to consider the age and health of the animal. By taking these factors into account, you can make an informed decision and choose a horse that is suitable for your needs.

Horse Training and Disciplines in Hawaii

Horse training in Hawaii is diverse and offers a wide range of options for riders of all skill levels. From Western to English riding styles, there are many disciplines to choose from. The most popular horse disciplines in Hawaii include dressage, show jumping, trail riding, and rodeo.


Dressage is a French term meaning “training.” It is a discipline that focuses on the horse’s natural movements and the rider’s ability to control the horse’s movements. Dressage is often described as “horse ballet” because it involves intricate movements and precise timing. In Hawaii, dressage is a popular discipline that is taught at many equestrian centers.

Show Jumping

Show jumping is a discipline that involves jumping over obstacles such as fences, walls, and water jumps. The horse and rider must complete the course in the shortest amount of time with the fewest faults. Show jumping is a popular discipline in Hawaii and is often held at equestrian events throughout the year.

Trail Riding

Trail riding is a discipline that involves riding horses on trails through natural settings such as forests, mountains, and beaches. It is a great way to explore the beauty of Hawaii and is a popular activity for tourists and locals alike. Many equestrian centers in Hawaii offer trail rides for riders of all skill levels.


Rodeo is a discipline that involves various timed events such as barrel racing, bull riding, and team roping. It is a popular discipline in Hawaii and is often held at rodeo events throughout the year. Rodeo is a challenging and exciting discipline that requires skill, strength, and courage.

Overall, Hawaii offers a diverse range of horse training and disciplines. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced rider, there is something for everyone. With the help of experienced trainers and equestrian centers, riders can learn new skills and improve their riding abilities.

Finding Horses for Sale in Hawaii

If you’re looking to buy a horse in Hawaii, there are a few different resources you can use to find horses for sale. One popular option is eHorses, an online marketplace that connects potential buyers with horses for sale across the state.

Navigating eHorses

To get started on eHorses, simply visit their website and search for horses for sale in Hawaii. You can filter your search by breed, age, location, and more to find horses that meet your specific needs. Once you’ve found a horse you’re interested in, you can contact the seller directly to learn more about the horse and arrange a viewing.

It’s important to be cautious when using online marketplaces like eHorses, as there are potential risks involved in buying a horse sight unseen. Always ask for detailed photos and videos of the horse, and consider working with a trusted equine agent or veterinarian to help you evaluate the horse’s health and suitability for your needs.

In addition to eHorses, there are other resources you can use to find horses for sale in Hawaii, including local classified ads and equine publications. Be sure to do your research and thoroughly evaluate any horse you’re considering before making a purchase.

Understanding the Importance of Horse Insurance

When purchasing a horse, it’s important to consider the potential risks that come with horse ownership. Horses are powerful animals and can be prone to accidents and illnesses, which can result in costly veterinary bills. That’s why it’s important to have horse insurance to protect your investment.

What is Horse Insurance?

Horse insurance is a type of insurance policy designed to protect horse owners from financial losses due to injury, illness, theft, or death of their horses. There are various types of horse insurance policies available, each with different levels of coverage and premiums. Some common types of horse insurance include:

  • Mortality insurance: This type of insurance covers the death of the horse due to accidents, illnesses, or natural causes.
  • Major medical insurance: This type of insurance covers the cost of veterinary care for illnesses or injuries that are not covered by a standard health insurance policy.
  • Liability insurance: This type of insurance covers damages or injuries caused by the horse to third parties, such as people or other animals.

Why is Horse Insurance Important?

Horse ownership comes with a lot of responsibilities, and one of them is ensuring that your horse is protected in case of an accident or illness. Without insurance, owners may be faced with the financial burden of expensive veterinary bills or even the loss of their horse. Horse insurance provides peace of mind and protects owners from unexpected financial losses.

How to Choose the Right Horse Insurance Policy

When choosing a horse insurance policy, it’s important to consider your horse’s age, breed, and intended use. You should also consider your budget and the level of coverage you need. Some policies may have exclusions or limitations, so it’s important to read the policy carefully and ask questions if anything is unclear.

In addition, it’s important to choose a reputable insurance company with a good track record of paying claims. You can research insurance companies online or ask for recommendations from other horse owners.


Horse insurance is an important investment for any horse owner. It provides financial protection and peace of mind in case of accidents, illnesses, or other unexpected events. When choosing a horse insurance policy, it’s important to consider your horse’s needs and choose a reputable insurance company.

Shipping a Horse to Hawaii

Shipping a horse to Hawaii can be a daunting task, but with proper planning and research, it can be done safely and efficiently. There are only two ways to transport a horse to Hawaii: by air or by sea.

Shipping by Air

The most common way to ship a horse to Hawaii is by air. Several companies specialize in air transportation of horses and other livestock internationally and to Hawaii, such as Pacific Airlift, Inc.. Horses must meet specific requirements, including a health certificate and a negative Coggins test, before they can be transported by air. It’s important to consult with the airline and the Hawaii Department of Agriculture to ensure all requirements are met.

Shipping a horse by air can be expensive, with costs ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 or more, depending on the size of the horse and the distance of the flight. However, air transport is generally faster and less stressful for the horse than sea transport.

Shipping by Sea

Sailing a horse to Hawaii is another option, but it is less common due to the longer travel time and potential risks to the horse’s health and safety. Horses must be transported in a specially designed shipping container and must meet all requirements set by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. The cost of shipping a horse by sea is generally lower than shipping by air, but the condition of the horse upon arrival may be more uncertain.

It’s important to research and compare different shipping companies before making a decision. Consider factors such as cost, experience, and reputation. Make sure to communicate clearly with the shipping company about your horse’s needs and any special accommodations that may be required.

In summary, shipping a horse to Hawaii requires careful planning and research. Whether you choose to ship by air or by sea, make sure to meet all requirements set by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture and work with a reputable shipping company to ensure a safe and stress-free journey for your horse.

Horse Boarding and Ranches in Hawaii

Hawaii has several options for horse boarding and ranches. It is essential to choose the right facility that meets your horse’s needs and your budget. Here are some of the best options for horse boarding and ranches in Hawaii.

Waikii Ranch

Waikii Ranch is the only true equestrian-friendly gated community on the Big Island. This community is perfect for horse owners who want to live in a community that is dedicated to equestrianism. The ranch offers a full-service equestrian center, including a covered arena, round pen, and several riding trails. The community also has a clubhouse, tennis court, and swimming pool.

Puu Lani Ranch

Puu Lani Ranch is located on the upper road heading north from Kailua Kona. The ranch offers horse owners a chance to live in a gated community with established equestrian facilities. The ranch has a community stable with several stalls, a round pen, and a riding arena. Horse owners can also take their horses on the many trails that surround the ranch.

Silver Falls Ranch

Silver Falls Ranch is a guest ranch located in Kilauea, Kauai. The ranch offers daily trail rides to a private waterfall. The ranch also provides horse boarding services, lessons, clinics, and horseback riding. The ranch has a covered arena, round pen, and several riding trails. Horse owners can choose from several boarding options, including full care, pasture, and self-care.

Hawaii Horse Expo

The Hawaii Horse Expo is an annual event that brings together horse owners, trainers, and enthusiasts from all over Hawaii. The event features several clinics, demonstrations, and workshops on horse care, training, and riding. The expo also has a trade show where horse owners can find everything they need for their horses, from feed to tack.

Oahu Polo Club

The Oahu Polo Club is located on the North Shore of Oahu. The club offers horse owners a chance to play polo and participate in other equestrian activities. The club has several fields, stables, and riding arenas. Horse owners can also take their horses on the many trails that surround the club.

In conclusion, Hawaii has several options for horse boarding and ranches. It is essential to choose the right facility that meets your horse’s needs and your budget. The above options are some of the best options for horse boarding and ranches in Hawaii.

Considerations for Homeowners and Barn Improvements

When buying a horse property in Hawaii, it is important to consider the needs of both the horse and the homeowner. Here are some factors to keep in mind when it comes to homeowners and barn improvements:


As a homeowner, you want to make sure that your property is not only suitable for your horse, but also comfortable for you and your family. Here are some things to consider:

  • Zoning: Make sure that your property is zoned for horses and that you are allowed to keep them on your land.
  • Location: Consider the location of your property in relation to your work, schools, and other amenities that you need.
  • Water: Make sure that you have access to clean water for your horse, as well as for your household needs.
  • Waste management: Consider how you will manage waste from your horse, such as manure and bedding.
  • Insurance: Make sure that you have adequate insurance coverage for your horse and your property.

Barn Improvements

When it comes to barn improvements, there are many things to consider. Here are some of the most important:

  • Size: Make sure that your barn is large enough to comfortably house your horse and any equipment that you need.
  • Ventilation: Good ventilation is essential for your horse’s health. Make sure that your barn has proper ventilation to prevent respiratory issues.
  • Flooring: The flooring in your barn should be slip-resistant and easy to clean.
  • Lighting: Make sure that your barn is well-lit, both for your safety and the safety of your horse.
  • Storage: Consider how you will store feed, hay, and other supplies.
  • Safety: Make sure that your barn is safe for your horse and that all equipment, such as stall doors and fencing, is in good repair.

By considering the needs of both the homeowner and the horse, and making the necessary barn improvements, you can create a safe and comfortable environment for both you and your equine companion.

History of Horses in Hawaii

Horses have been a part of Hawaiian culture for over two centuries. According to Great American Adventures, the first horse was brought to Hawaii in 1803 by Richard Cleveland, an American trader, who presented it as a gift to King Kamehameha I. The king was so impressed with the riding demonstration that he requested more horses be brought to the island.

Horses were initially used for transportation and work on the first cattle ranches in Hawaii. As the equestrian culture in Hawaii developed, horses became popular for sport and competition, including polo, dressage, and rodeo. Today, there are over 20,000 horses in the state, with uses ranging from working horses for ranching and trail rides to general recreation.

The contributions of horses to transportation, freight service, and agronomy in industries of ranching, sugar, pineapple, taro, rice, and coffee production in Hawaii are explored in the book, The Hawaiian Horse by Denise E. Seachrist. The book provides a comprehensive history of horses in Hawaii from prehistoric origins to the present day.

Despite their long history in Hawaii, importing horses to the state is strictly regulated. Horses and other equidae must meet specific requirements to be imported to Hawaii, including originating in an area or county in which equine encephalomyelitis has not occurred in the six-month period prior to shipment. More information on importing horses to Hawaii can be found on the Great American Adventures website.

Trail Riding and Grass Availability in Hawaii

Hawaii offers an incredible opportunity for horseback riding enthusiasts to explore the island’s stunning natural beauty. With miles of trails winding through lush rainforests, along the coastline, and up into the mountains, there are endless opportunities for riders of all skill levels to experience the island’s unique terrain.

When it comes to trail riding in Hawaii, it’s important to keep in mind that the weather can be unpredictable. While the island is known for its sunny, warm weather, sudden rain showers can occur at any time, so it’s always a good idea to be prepared with appropriate rain gear. Additionally, many trails in Hawaii are located in remote areas, so riders should be prepared with plenty of water, snacks, and a first aid kit.

Another consideration for horse owners in Hawaii is grass availability. Due to the island’s volcanic soil, grass can be sparse in some areas, particularly in drier regions. It’s important for horse owners to provide their animals with a balanced diet that includes hay and other forage to ensure they are receiving the proper nutrition.

When it comes to trail riding, there are many options available in Hawaii. From guided tours to self-guided adventures, there is something for everyone. Some popular trails include the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail on Oahu, which offers stunning views of the coastline, and the Waimea Canyon Trail on Kauai, which winds through a breathtaking canyon.

Overall, Hawaii offers a unique and exciting opportunity for horseback riding enthusiasts to explore the island’s natural beauty. By being prepared for the weather and ensuring their horses are receiving proper nutrition, riders can have a safe and enjoyable experience on Hawaii’s many trails.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements for importing a horse to Hawaii?

If you plan to import a horse to Hawaii, you need to prepare for a quarantine period. The quarantine period lasts for 120 days and requires your horse to stay at a quarantine facility. You need to make arrangements with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture to ensure that your horse meets all the import requirements. You can find more information about the import requirements on the Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s website.

What is the average cost of a horse in Hawaii?

The cost of a horse in Hawaii varies depending on the breed, age, and training level. The average cost of a horse in Hawaii is around $5,000 to $10,000, but you can find horses for sale for as little as $1,000 or as much as $50,000.

Where can I find horses for sale on the Big Island?

You can find horses for sale on the Big Island by checking local classified ads, visiting local horse farms, and attending horse shows and events. You can also find horses for sale on online marketplaces, such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.

How do I know if a horse is a good fit for me?

When buying a horse, it’s essential to consider your riding experience, goals, and preferences. You should also evaluate the horse’s temperament, training level, and suitability for your riding discipline. It’s a good idea to try out the horse before making a purchase to ensure that it’s a good fit for you.

What should I look for when buying a horse?

When buying a horse, you should look for a horse that is healthy, sound, and well-trained. You should also evaluate the horse’s conformation, temperament, and suitability for your riding discipline. It’s a good idea to bring an experienced horse person with you to help evaluate the horse.

Are there any horse auctions on Oahu?

Yes, there are horse auctions on Oahu. The Hawaii Horse Expo holds an annual auction that features horses of various breeds and disciplines. You can also check local classified ads and online marketplaces to find horses for sale on Oahu.

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