"Equitrekking" host and producer Darley Newman rides through Waipio Valley with local guides for an upcoming episode of the PBS equine travel series.
A travel show that explores destinations by horseback films episodes in Hawaii
Who wouldn't envy Darley Newman's job? She explores the world on horseback for an educational travel show called "Equitrekking," and recently shot two episodes on Maui and the Big Island for the season that premieres on PBS in January.
Selecting a location -- whether it's Iceland, Spain, Colorado or Hawaii -- usually involves a personal recommendation from Newman's network of advisers, along with plenty of research.
"I try to find the best horseback riding destinations with history and culture," Newman said by phone after a day of shooting on Maui. And Haleakala has hovered at the top of the list. "Where else can you ride into the crater of a volcano? That ride did not disappoint me."
Newman, the 28-year-old creator, host and producer of the series, always incorporates expertise from local guides, who help her understand the nuances of each place and the legacy associated with their four-legged transportation. "We ride the local breeds," she said. "We learn about why they're here and why they're so great to ride. Every place is different."
Doug Smith, who owns Pony Express on Maui, leads Newman through Haleakala National Park. Smith and his wife, Kathryn, have been leading tours on Maui since 1983.
The entire crew works on horseback, including the director of photography, who often trots ahead, hops down from the saddle and offers instruction as Newman and her guides pass the cameras.
"When we film our show, we need patient horses," she said. "We go out of their normal zone, because we have to do things over and over again. We take them off the beaten path."
Newman, who worked in television journalism on "48 Hours," began riding at age 7. She lives in New York City but makes time for horses in Connecticut. The series evolved from a desire "to combine my passion for horses and travel, do those things I love on a daily basis and to see the world in a new way," she said.
Viewers might find her fishing, rock-climbing or admiring indigenous dance performances when she's not galloping across the countryside.
"As a traveler, horses allow me to get to places that are often inaccessible by other means," she added. "For now I am enjoying traveling the world and 'borrowing' horses as I go, riding unique breeds and learning different riding styles. I get to share each travel journey with a new equine friend."
Hawaii episodes of "Equitrekking" will air on PBS nationally in January. For information about trips, or to read Darley Newman's travel blog, visit www.equitrekking.com