The first cowboys in Hawaiʻi were hired by John Palmer Parker of Parker Ranch fame. They were Mexican vaqueros, highly skilled horsemen who then trained his Hawaiian ranch workers.

Eventually, the paniolo spread to other islands including Kauaʻi, which to this day still has a significant horse culture. Every July for 21 years, Joyce Miranda of CJM Stables hosts the Paniolo Heritage Rodeo. When the feisty 74-year-old owner isn’t hosting this amazing three-day event, she’s taking care of her riding guests at their Poʻipu ranch. “

We want our guests to slow down and be in the present when they ride with us,” says Joyce when we ask her of her mission. CJM guests choose from two amazing trails: the Māhāʻulepū Beach Ride, which meanders through ranchland with coastal and mountain vistas, across a sand bar and stream near one of Hawaiʻi’s most spectacular beaches; or the Secret Beach Picnic Ride, which is ideal for families and small groups.

Most of the horses at CJM are in service to give visitors the best riding experience, whether they’re expert riders or novices. “We match our horses up to the skill level of our guests,” explains Miranda. “Horses sense human emotions before humans even register them. They sense confidence and anxiety, happiness or sadness. Some horses prefer women, some men.”

For reservations and more information about rides and July’s rodeo, visit

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