Yesterday, I told of how we rode our horses in the parades this past weekend. Since the horses did so well with the crowd of people, all of the noise, and the traffic on the roads, we thought we would take them to the beach for a nice ride this past Sunday.
Our horses have never been to the beach before, so this was going to be a new experience for them and for us, too. While we have ridden horses on the beach before, we have never ridden our horses so it makes a difference! We would always go horseback riding on vacation, and the first and only time we had ridden on the beach was two years ago when we went to Myrtle Beach. It was a nice experience, and we had a really good time. We took lots of pictures on the beach, but there is just something about taking your own horse to the beach!
The excitement was building as we made our way a little over two hours from our home to the beach. In our area, you can ride on the beach from December 1st through February 1st. You have to obtain a permit at the park, but you can go back as many times as you’d like during that time frame with that one permit.
My husband is a bit nervous when it comes to new experiences with our horses. I had full faith and confidence in them, though.
We arrived at the beach and began tacking up our horses for the ride. My horse, Sugar, has proven that she is the type of horse that will go any where and do any thing. She is a really calm and laid back type of horse. She prefers to walk slowly, but she can get on it if you ask her to do so. I prefer long, leisurely strolls, too, so we are a perfect fit together. On occasion, though, I do like to feel the wind in my face with my hair flying behind me as we gallop and play.
When we first stepped onto the beach, the horses started looking around like they really were not sure what this white stuff was (sand) or why the water was coming at their hooves. They extended their long necks out even further and looked around. The seagulls were flying overhead singing their little tune, and they would land by the water’s edge looking out at the water.
My husband had to walk his horse for a while to get her used to the beach, but I managed to stay on my horse the entire time from start to finish. This little girl really likes the sense of adventure, too!
We encountered several people along the beach yesterday, and they would stop to speak to us and ask to pet our horses. The most memorable for me was the couple that approached me asking if their autistic son could pet my horse, Sugar. I did not hesitant one bit as I said, “Absolutely!”
She called her son over and told him to pet the horse. She told me that she felt he needed this because horses soothe him.
He walked slowly over to the horse and raised his hand at first as if he might swat at her. I was a tad nervous at this point as I did not want him to hurt my horse, but I had positioned my hand on the reins so that if he did go to swat, I could turn her head away hopefully in time before he made contact. Thankfully, though, that was not even an issue as he raised his hand but slowly allowed it to rest on Sugar’s nose. He smiled and made a sound to let us know that he was filled with delight as he continued to pet Sugar with slow, steady movements of his hand. I smiled as I watched the exchange between them. It really was a sweet moment and one that will live on in my memory for all times. The mother thanked me as she and her son turned to walk away.
I have heard of several places that offer horse therapy because it is good for children with disabilities to be able to be near and with the horses. I never knew that beach trip would allow a form of healing to take place that day, but God knew. Before we ever set out on our trip, God knew that these precious people would be walking that very same beach that day. I believe he orchestrated this event knowing that this little boy needed some healing that Sugar may offer or some calm for his soul that she may be able to provide like no other could that day. I believe that we were meant to come into contact with them that day for him to be soothed by my beloved horse.
The beach is always a soothing and calming place for me, but it was even more so yesterday when I was riding on the beach with my best friend and partner; my horse, Sugar.
My husband did get to ride his horse, Debbie, after she got used to the sights and sounds of the beach. She spooked one time and actually jumped at her own shadow on the ground. It was funny watching her do that, but I’m sure it wasn’t funny for my husband as it was happening. Sugar was a trooper the entire time and even allowed me to ride her closer to the water’s edge.
We encountered another couple at the end of our trip as we approached the lighthouse. They had their phones out and were taking pictures and snapped a few of us on our horses. I took that opportunity to ask if they would take some pictures of us with our phones and camera, too. All day we were snapping pictures of each other but never had an opportunity for a picture together, until now! The couple was more than happy to do this for us, and they began snapping away. We were so appreciative of them and made sure to thank them several times for this gift that they gave to us that day. They even remarked that the pictures were so good that they were Christmas card worthy.
The sun was starting to set, so we decided to make our way back to our horse trailer to load up and head back home. We had a fabulous day together under the vast sky soaking in the beauty of the ocean before us, watching the seagulls playing on the beach, and enjoying being one with nature and God above.
If you find yourself consumed with different things in life that might be weighing you down, find some time to slip away to a beach near you. If you don’t have a beach within driving distance, a pond, lake or any body of water will work as it is soothing just being near the water. If that isn’t your thing, then slip off to the quiet stillness of the woods. There’s nothing better than strolling through nature sorting through your thoughts or just deciding not to think on anything that day but, instead, to thank God for all of His many blessings in life as you enjoy His creations.
Life is good. It truly is! And it’s even better on the back of a horse!