One of my favourite things to do with my horse is to canter down the beach. The joy and the thrill of it never diminishes for me.
The smell of the salt air, the sound of her hooves on the sand, the sun on my face and the wind in my hair – but most of all, the thrill that comes from her being relaxed and chilled out, just gently rolling along.
We talk to many people about our Riding Holidays and when we talk about riding down the beach most of them say “OH! I’d LOVE to do that!”
The truth is though, that many people are too scared to. They are worried about cantering, let alone cantering out in the huge expanse of a long beach.
So what are the things you need to have in place in order to canter down the beach and enjoy it?
1 – Choose your company well.
I am very particular about who I trek with. Some of the biggest frights I have had have been riding with clueless, ignorant people.
You need to ride with a group that is focused on EVERYONE being safe and enjoying the ride, people that will wait for you while you sort something out, people that don’t canter off and leave you behind while your horse gets upset and throws a wobbly. The quality of the company that you ride with has a direct influence on the result of your ride.
2 – Canter before you get to the beach.
Don’t make the beach ride the first time you have cantered your horse – try it out in a “smaller” environment first. Canter up a track for 20 meters or so for your first time. Stop cantering before your horse starts to pick up speed. Practice your transitions from trot to canter and back. Make sure you have balance in the saddle at canter.
3 – Make sure you can stop!
You will need to have some control – is your horse listening to you? Do you have good bend laterally? Can you get him soft? When you pick up one rein when you are moving will he turn in a circle and slow down? Can you do a “Continuous Forward Moving Turn on the Forehand”?
One of the ladies that came on our last riding holiday had the dream of cantering down the beach but was having big problems with her lovely boy. Every time she asked him to canter he tightened up and tried to buck her off. By the end of the holiday she was cantering everywhere! I’ll never forget the massive smile she had on her face as I cantered beside her down 90 mile beach!
The video is a clip of some of the awesome fun we have had on the beach this summer!