I’ve actually been wanting to go to the beach for a while now. Because of traffic, it’s only really possible/practical to go in the winter and this year we’ve been swamped with all the rain and haven’t been able to get down there. Even for this weekend, we debated about going or not. Riders are only supposed to go during low tide and low tide was at 11am. Since that’s about when I like to wake up on weekends, that wasn’t going to happen. We were going to go trail riding instead, but almost all the parks in our area are either closed to equestrians right now or have trail closures that would make them less fun to ride at. My husband didn’t want to do Fremont back to back, so our options were to return to Calero, or go to Rancho again. I finally decided to say screw it, let’s just go to the beach.
And I’m so glad we did.
It was a really overcast day, which might not sound ideal for a beach day, but it’s actually perfect. The overcast skies kept the crowds away and we were able to have miles of beach almost entirely to ourselves. In the past, our horses have gone through varying stages of beach terror on their first visits. Nilla has been a few times now and still acts like the ocean is going to kill her. Add in screaming kids, kites, umbrellas, tents, fishermen (with poles that look like lunge whips), seals, and one time two men trying to shove a sting-ray back into the ocean with a piece of driftwood, and I’d say their fear isn’t unreasonable.
Given how previous beach trips have gone, I wasn’t sure how Levi would take it. He did, after all, spend the first 6 years of his life living in a holding pen. But his general approach to everything so far has been good so I thought we might actually have fun.
When we arrived, we spotted a large group of horses heading out from the parking lot on a guided ride. I was a bit concerned about that as Levi’s most freaked out reactions so far have been to the existence of other horses. They don’t even need to be doing anything; they just need to be in his sphere of knowledge and his brain leaks out of his ears. We took the trail through the dunes to get to the beach instead of heading straight to the beach to avoid that group and give them a chance to stretch their legs and calm down before we saw the ocean.
Levi was a little looky at the ocean, but not actually that worried. Until I tried to get him to go near the water and then he was all “no touchy.”
That was it though. Just a lot of lateral movement and snorting. And he doesn’t like to touch his feet in mud or streams or shadows or anything really so I don’t even think it was the ocean that worried him so much as it was just a change of footing.
He was concerned, but never horrible. He was actually better than any of our horses were on their first trip to the beach. Hell, Levi was actually better on his first trip than Nilla or Dijon were on their subsequent trips.
Eugene actually loves water and since this was his second time at the beach, he wasn’t as concerned and my husband actually had to worry more about him trying to drink the surf rather than spook at it.
Because the tide was coming in, we would occasionally get hit by a bigger wave than anticipated. This actually worked out really well for me as it forced Levi to deal with the water touching him. And my husband got some amazing shots.
My husband, on the other hand, was so much closer to the water that he ended up getting splashed pretty hard by a larger than anticipated wave.
After that we left the water to head back the trailer. Of course, you can’t take eventers anywhere without them finding things to jump.
I even got Levi to jump up a bank, but this picture is a perfect illustration of why you shouldn’t try to jump in a treeless saddle; it just slides right back.
It was a lot of fun though and you can see from his little ears how happy he was. He was such a good boy. We even met other horses and Levi was super super interested, but did not freak out. Even when a mare in heat was screaming to him, his brain remained in his head.
This is the first time I’ve been to the beach with any of my equines where I didn’t have to get off to deal with a freaked out horse/mule. It was so nice to just enjoy riding on the beach.
Once we got back to the trailer, we stripped their tack and walked them back to the beach entrance to roll. Levi was so excited that he was nose down and looking to roll even as we were walking across the asphalt. He just didn’t want to wait. Once we hit sand, he rolled a ton. He just kept rolling, getting up, rolling again, mushing various body parts into the sand, getting up, rolling in a new spot, and just absolutely loving it. At one point, he just lay there,sniffing the sand. I may have to get a sand pit for his paddock as well.
Eugene actually had to walk around sniffing and circling a bit before finally deciding to roll. There was a small crowd of onlooking watching and asking questions about the horses so he might have been distracted, but he got in a few good rolls before deciding he was done. I actually just had to take Levi away. He would have kept on rolling if I’d let him.
I don’t know when we’ll be able to get back again, but I can’t wait.
The picture of you and Levi getting splashed is amazing. I’ve ridden in the beach a handful of times but never in my own horse. I wonder if they are allowed on the beaches of the coast. I’ll have to look into that!
I think on the east coast a lot of beaches are only open to equestrians during certain times of the year, but you can definitely find places to go.
This looks EPIC! I wish I could take my horses to the beach.
It’s so fun.
That looks AMAZING! I’m so jealous! I think we can do beach ride in Delaware during the off season but it needs to be warm enough. It never is 3.4 of the off season and September is my busy time at work. Plus I’m not comfortable yet for long 2 1/2 hour trailer rides. We’ll see. One of these days I’ll get up the confidence. Because I think I could actually do this with Batty. I just would need to find someone to join me!
Because you’re not going in the water you don’t need it to be warm actually. You just need it to be not freezing. I highly recommend trying it sometime.
Everything about this, just wow! I’m so happy you made it to the beach finally. What a brave Levi for handling it so well!
He was awesome.
Those pictures are amazing!! So cool you have access like that.
It’s one of the things I actually like about living here: all the different riding opportunities.
That first photo is the absolute awesomest! Your smile says it all
Riding on the beach is a bucket list item for me, but at 1300km/800miles away, it might take a while =)
I was laughing so hard during that first picture. Levi had been doing this whole no touchy thing and suddenly he was in the water and I could just feel him going though this whole “oh god, it’s touching me, what do I do?” freak out. He’s such a funny horse.
Cool photos and it sounds like fun. Be careful with those waves coming in…they can actually knock the horses over (ask me how I know 🙂
After my husband got in too deep, we left the water. It’s definitely not something I want to do.
I’m so jealous of your beach access! I’m over here riding amid drowned roads and garbage, haha! 😛 Levi is an impressive little dude- he seems very sensible about most things!
I think your post-apocalyptic ride sounded really fun though.
What an awesome ride, and good boy Levi! There’s only one beach in NJ that allows horseback riding, and only during the off-season- its a 4hr round trip haul though so that would make for a very long day lol
It’s a 3 hour round trip for us, so we only do it occasionally. It’s worth it though.
This looks so fun! I was pretty jealous seeing your Instagram photos. What a good couple of dudes for being so laid back.
They were quite the good horses this weekend.
So many things to ogle at the beach… also people carrying surfboards, and most death-dealing of all – kite boarders…
That picture your husband got is amazing! 😀
Thankfully, we’ve yet to see kite-boarders. That would be concerning.
That looks like so much fun. I haven’t ridden on the beach in years.
It was a lot of fun.
Nice! Awesome photos!
Thanks. I was really impressed with how well the pictures came out.
That looks like so much fun and the pictures are gorgeous!
It was a lot of fun and I’m really excited about the pictures too. Which is why I just keep spamming my Instagram with the pics.
I adore these photos!!! So jealous of your proximity to the beach!
It’s one of the good things about living here. I’ll miss it when I leave.
Everything about this is awesome. So many great pics and I LOVE the bank shots!!! What a fun day!!!
I was so much fun. I can’t wait to go school XC.
Levi is so adorable with his rolling!
I was laughing so much while he was doing it. He was like a kid at playground.
It was a great day.
This is awesome! Love all the photos and I am very jealous. Despite the fact that I live in NJ, I have never ridden a horse on the beach 🙁 Bucket list item #1!
I hope you go sometime. I know there are some beaches open to equestrians in the off season.
So freaking awesome. Also awesome was seeing your post re-shared on instagram from one of the big horseback riding profile pages. For a second I thought you’d shared twice, then I was like, no, her photo just got reposted by a big site – sweet!
Yeah, that was really cool. It was a great shot.