Bonanza Farm: A Horse Lover's Dream
  Nerissa Hosein
October 2019

Bonanza Farm: A Horse Lover's Dream

Nestled in the quiet lands of San Raphael, Trinidad is a hidden gem called Bonanza Farm Riding School and Country Club. The farm is run by Edmund De Freitas, who is a sprite 78 year- old gentleman. He is truly a people’s person and from the time you get on the farm to the time you leave Mr. De Freitas will warm your heart and make you wish you could stay all day.

The farm itself consists of over twenty horses of prestige bloodlines. They are very well taken care of on the enormous fields and stables and Mr. De Freitas carries you to each horse individually and knows every one of them by name. To visit the farm is no charge but if you’d like to take a ride on one of their ponies or horses, it costs TT$50.00, which is quite a steal. The horses are very well behaved and this makes the experience quite enjoyable. My family and I paid a recent visit and we were not disappointed.

De Freitas introduces a young visitor to one of his horses

What I loved the most though was chatting with Mr. De Freitas, who is still brisk and able to keep up with every one of his visitors, not just for a minute but for the entire visit. Mr. De Freitas is a former jockey himself and has won many races in his lifetime. But there is no vanity or overconfidence in his voice. There is only a true love for the animals and the sport. He never left our side for the hour and more that we were there. His desire to educate us on the horses was genuine and it was very informative listening to him. Watching each horse come to him and interact with him, you can tell that they are quite fond and familiar with their owner. He is certainly not just there for show.

Mr. De Freitas became a jockey at the tender age of fifteen and retired in his thirties. In his career he won every title there was to win in Trinidad and also won many distinguished titles in Martinique, Barbados and Guyana.

After his retirement, he wanted to open the farm so that he could train young jockeys to ride and to appreciate their horses. He also started to train young vets on the farm and most of the veterinary students still pass through the farm for formal training to this day. He knows everything there is to know about these majestic creatures and is convinced that with the proper education and understanding of these animals horse racing can thrive in Trinidad and Tobago. He likes to be hands on in the training of the jockeys and he even trained the first female jockey in Trinidad. Most of the jockeys that have trained with him have gone on to be stars in their own right abroad.

Bonanza Farm is also famous around the area because they give riding lessons to beginners as well as experienced riders. Riding, according to Mr. De Freitas, is one of the best forms of exercise and many people use it to lose weight and strengthen their body.  It’s what he credits that gives him the strength to be as agile as he is at 78, having undergone hip replacement surgery just a couple of weeks ago.

Speaking with him was very informative as well as comfortable and relaxing. After the kids took their rides, he carried us over to the stables and introduced us to each one of his horses. He walked with a sweet treat for each of them. And it’s not carrots, rather just a mint, and he feeds each horse with accompanying strokes as he tells us about the particular horse. My sons got to touch a couple of them and all the horses were so mild mannered that it was an experience where you felt the understanding between the animals and this charismatic man.

De Freitas (fourth from left) with some of his guests

After we finished the tour he carried us to the family area where there were refreshments on sale, a play area for the kids and a nice cool sitting area for the adults. All the while Mr. De Freitas stayed with us, chatting and laughing and answering any questions we had. The farm itself is set up quite nicely and definitely worth a visit as a family. They are also available for parties and family get-togethers. Hopefully you can make the visit soon as Mr. De Freitas admitted that he didn’t know how many more years they would be open to the public. His children have since migrated so it’s up to his staff and him to run the farm and I’m sure that some days must be harder than others. But once he can, the farm is open. His love for horses and the treatment of them is alive and well. I advise anyone that can to make the trip. It’s well worth it just to meet him and see his farm, the beauty of the animals and the serene calmness that comes from being there.

You can find Bonanza Farm Riding School and Country Club on Facebook here:


Photographs for this article by Nerissa Hosein

By: Nerissa Hosein | FEATURES | October 2019