At the parking lot waiting to head out - Blu is watching the other horses get unloaded
My beach ride with Blu started out the same way. Prancing. Hmmm. Well, it was more of a "come-on Mom, let me GO!" type action. But it's only his third trail ride ever, second on the beach, and my first with him. So I couldn't really blame him for being anxious, since I was too.
At the trail head
We had a great group of people and horses on the ride and Blu settled in pretty quickly. More quickly than I, truth be told! I'm so used to the awesome horses up at Deadwood Outfitters that I'm spoiled. Their horses are rock solid and I can ride with a loose rein and KNOW that I'm I don't need to wonder what the horse might spook at next. And yes, I know it takes selecting horses with the correct trail ride type temperament and years of training, whereas I'm riding a 5 year old show horse who's only been on two trail rides prior to this.
And that's what my brain kept thinking about. That, and this:
- Looking around to see what he'd see and spook at.
- Hearing the roar of the ocean we couldn't see wondering if Blu knew what it was and that it wasn't going to eat him.
- Feeling the breeze blowing and wondering what smells (or flapping bags ;-)) it might bring.
All that was going through MY head. Dolt that I am. I should just turn off my own brain. Things would go much smoother!
We walked along the dunes for a bit before we went down to the beach
In any case, we walked North along a trail through the dunes until we got to a turn off where we could ride a trail to the beach. Todd said if any of the horses got to the top of the trail and stopped or hesitated, we should spur them on. So I was preparing myself. Wouldn't you know Blu was 100% fine! Calmly walked to the top of the hill/dune then didn't so much as pause before he walked down the path onto the beach. Waves crashing and everything. Easy peasy!
On the beach (that's Blu's ear in the bottom left)
Wide open beach, absolutely gorgeous weather, it was heaven!
We rode south for a while, probably 45 minutes, passed maybe 5 people. Two guys fishing (saw one catch a piece of seaweed), a couple picking up shells, and one sunbathing (in sweater and sweats). Where were all the people on a beautiful summer day? Not here! Too bad for them. Good for us.
My view - what a gorgeous day it was!
I don't know about you all, but my way of thinking about beach rides is a nice walk along the beach. Loose reins. Looking around, enjoying the scenery. I'm not one to go galloping down the beach as fast as we can go, racing everyone. Maybe because I didn't ride all my life, or at least all through childhood, so I am a bit cautious? Maybe I'm just chicken. Whichever it is, my idea and Blu's ideas were different.
Blu's way of thinking was "lets get there now!" wherever 'there' was. I can't and won't fault him for that since he doesn't have any way of knowing what my preconceived notion is/was. But Todd was his usual good trainer-self and told me to let him go.
Yep, let him go. Todd knew Blu wasn't going to go bolting down the beach. Todd knew he just wanted to move out. So if I'd let him move out, Blu would realize soon enough that it's MUCH harder work trotting in the sand, and would choose to walk.
As soon as I let the reins go Blu picked up to a trot and moved out. He didn't try to canter or gallop. Just trotted. And then went back to a walk!
I laughed because that's all it took and there I was having an awesome ride! I looked over to Todd, and being the joker that I am, said something along the lines of "Huh! You'd think you were a trainer or something!"
Todd's knowledge helped me (and Blu) have a fantastic ride on the beach. I learned that I could have fun trotting down the beach (and probably even cantering) and Blu learned that walking wasn't so bad either.
Good for both of us!!
Heading back to the trailers
Soon enough though it was time to head back. We had a few young horses with us and didn't want to tire them out too much or have anything bad happen that might alter their view of beach rides.
After the ride - Blu posing in his new halter (we won it with one of our blue ribbons at the Watsonville show)
Yep - it was really me on Blu - I didn't get a photo of us on the beach. Ah well. Next time!