Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Riding a Horse on the Beach Is Not Like the Picture In Your Head

When we were researching things to do in Florida over Spring Break,

Monte mentioned that he saw advertisements for horseback riding on the beach.

Of all the seaside places that we have been to,

I have never seen people riding horses on the beach.

But I had a picture in my head of what it looked like.

After calling a stable and asking some questions, Monte decided he did not want to go horseback riding after all.

Beach regulations prohibited the horses from 
doing anything faster than walk.

For understandable reasons.

Monte said,

“I want to "Runaway Bride" it if I’m going to ride a horse.”

Wedding dress excluded, I’m sure.

I guess Monte had a picture in his head of what the whole thing should look like too.

Poor guy living with all us girls. 

He now speaks “Chick Flick”.

I blame myself.

So Monte deemed himself the photographer of me and the girls’ horse riding experience.

We met at a sandy park right on the water to fill out paperwork and get our horse assignments.

Highly recommend if you are in the
Cape San Blas area.

While we were waiting, McDaniel started bonding with a horse. 

Whenever she stopped scratching his nose, he’d nudge her to keep on scratching on. 

Just like our dog, Nigel.

McDaniel finished the ride with swollen red itchy eyes and a runny nose. 

Seems now horses goes onto to the list of things she is allergic too.
Along with cats and dogs that shed.

Instant buddies.

I have ridden a horse before and have a healthy respect for their strength and power and speed

 but never spent enough time around them to see all their playful dog-like behavior. 

It was like watching Maximus on Disney’s “Tangled".

Love that movie!

Except not animated.

When a guy from the stable came out to give us our horse assignments, 

McDaniel got paired with the horse she already bonded with named Lightning Bug. 
Bug for short.

He told us he was special because he was a mustang.

Of course, me and the girls put hand on heart thinking of the mustang in the movie, “Flicka”.

Tear-jerker movie, but good ending.

Ellie was instructed to ride Sassy.

Another perfect match!

One of the workers came over, looked Sassy right in the eye and said,

“You are not the boss. I AM. Got it? You are NOT the boss.”

Ahem. Can I get an AMEN from parents 
with tweens and teenagers?

I may make this part of our breakfast routine.

I got a gorgeous splotchy horse named Preacher who was prone to stop and eat everything so I was instructed to keep a close reign (literally) on him lest he be tempted.

There may be a sermon in that.

It was just an amazing experience! The sun was shining and there was the most pleasant breeze off the water.

Loved my view!

Oh, sweet beach, I miss you!

McDaniel in front of me had to make sure that Bug
didn’t get too close to Ellie. Sassy didn’t like to her
style cramped. Seriously?!
The horses wore bags so “their business” didn’t defile the beauty of the beach.

Except Sassy lifted her tail up high, bypassing the bag and did it right on the beach anyway.

Never once did I feel bored with the walking pace. 

The sand was uneven and the horses were good to 

avoid sandcastles 

and holes dug by kids 

and fishing poles stuck in the sand waiting for a bite.

And they must’ve been thoroughly trained on what to do with dogs.

On our way back to the park, 

a little black and brown dog, 
leash dragging behind him, 

sprung out of the dunes bullet fast. 

Two little boys, probably 5 and 9, ran like crazy to catch the dog’s leash. 

They’d get close, 

the dog would stop in an “about to pounce” stance 

and then take off again 
just as the boys dove head first 
to get the leash. 

They ran, 

they dove, 

they even threw a flip flop at the dog 

in an attempt to get him to stop.

Nothing slowed him down.
The horses all stopped. 

In a row. 

With heads turned, they watched, 

almost in amusement, 

as this little dog darted in and out of close proximity to them, 

barking his mischievous little head off.

The oldest boy finally caught the dog’s leash. 

I clapped and cheered. 

And the horses walked on.

Just fascinating that something so strong and powerful and fast could be trained to not be distracted by something so small but bent on being a nuisance.

Hmmmm. I might need to make that reminder a part of my breakfast routine too.

There was a time about 30 minutes into our walk that Monte and Dad came out onto the beach to watch us. We stopped for pictures.

Preacher and Bug were playfully butting heads. Sassy was careful to protect her personal space.

Preacher looks a little hungry.

Monte decided that if he wasn’t going to ride one,

he certainly needed a horse selfie.

Not your best side, Bug.

Monte and Preacher.
McDaniel and one ear and eye of Bug photo bomb.
Oh wait, there's me too!

Full-on photo bomb by Bug.

On our way back to the park after the fastest hour of my life,

I noticed the hoof prints from our trip out.

Love it.
Riding a horse on the beach far surpassed any picture I had in my head.

“Runaway Bride” didn’t even cross my mind.

Not even for a second.

But the beauty of God’s creation did.

More than once.

As soon as Preacher saw the dune grass as we left the beach, the temptation proved too great for him.

I had to pull the reigns back and be quite stern to keep him in line.

It was a battle.

I didn’t like it.

As soon as we got among the trees again,

Preacher went right up to a palm tree and started nibbling on its bark.

I pulled and nudged and said, “NO!" numerous times before the worker said,

“Kick him! It won’t hurt him, it’s for his own good!”

Well, you certainly don’t hear that in Parenting 101

or Christianity 101

but we probably should.

It’s for our own good.

Even if we don’t like it.


  1. I love this story Karmen! I felt like I was along for the ride. Now I want to ride a horse on the beach, Chairs From The Curb style :-)

  2. We live at the beach and take long walks but, have yet to ride a horse on the beach although it is a tourist activity... Not sure I would feel comfortable on one but, it does sound lovely... CAthy

  3. I pictured something Runaway Bride-y too, but after reading your story, this way sounds better. What an awesome way to spend a morning!

  4. SO amazing!!! I just love how you tell stories- with so many incredible moments, threaded with humorous lines- and then sprinkled with deep profound messages all at once. THIS is why you are still on my top ten, girl! Now I want to go horseback riding on the beach too!!! But I will make sure I don't have one of 'those' horses that is a delinquent for the sake of eating.

    Those selfies were hilarious!!! And yeah- I can think of a time or two when I needed a good swift kick. Brilliant post as always, my gifted friend!!!

  5. You have the best vacation stories! Oh the sunshine and beach have me dreaming beautiful. God does amazing work in His creation doesn't He? When you are a rich and famous blogger I think you should vacation often so you can keep us well supplied with constant adventures : )


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