To ride on a beach

If you’ve never ex­pe­ri­enced the eu­pho­ria of gal­lop­ing a horse along a beach, it re­ally ought to be on your bucket list. And if you’ve been there, done that, it’s time to go again, says Stacey Carter

Your Horse (UK) - - Contents -

EV­ERY RIDER RE­MEM­BERS their first beach ride. Feel­ing your horse quiv­er­ing ex­cit­edly un­der­neath you; the sound of him snort­ing as he in­hales the salty sea air and the wind bit­ing at your cheeks. For a brief mo­ment, you’re aware how small you are in com­par­i­son to the great ocean in front of you. Thrill aside, beach rid­ing is a bril­liant ex­pe­ri­ence for your horse. It’s a change of scenery and an op­por­tu­nity to re­ally stretch his muscles. Check with your lo­cal beach whether they al­low horses and at what time of year. Then plan in a trip or two to cap­i­talise on us­ing the sandy sur­face and cool­ing sea wa­ter to your ad­van­tage. Beach rid­ing is great for im­prov­ing fit­ness lev­els. Kick­ing up sand rather than turf is harder work for your horse and a gal­lop will raise his heart rate. You can also use the re­sis­tance of the sea to help strengthen his back muscles by wad­ing in — but be sensible about how far in you go. Stand­ing your horse in the cold sea wa­ter also has valu­able health ben­e­fits.

“For a brief mo­ment, you’re aware how small you are in com­par­i­son to the great ocean in front of you”

“If the wa­ter is clean and fresh, stand­ing your horse in the cold sea can help with re­cov­er­ing limb in­juries and horses prone to lamini­tis, as the wa­ter cools and helps blood cir­cu­la­tion in the feet,” ex­plains vet Alice Brown from Tower Equine Prac­tice. “You’ll have to for­feit the gal­lop if you have a horse re­cov­er­ing from an in­jury or with sen­si­tive feet, so bear that mind.” Choose a sandy beach that’s free from peb­bles and rip cur­rents — and don’t for­get your sun­screen. Visit bit.ly/2HDeAvU to down­load the BHS leaflet on beaches you can ride on.

A trip to the sea­side will pro­vide lots of fun for you and your horse

Rack­ing up some speed o n a b each i n Pem­brokeshire Tag us in your beach rid­ing pho­tos on so­cial me­dia and use the hash­tag # YHChallen gesYou

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