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A Beach Ride And Coastal Walk (20/05/12)

May 20, 2012

Today was beach riding day and I was ready to be reunited with my steed having met him already the day before and having been warned that he can be quite a handful.

I had specifically asked to ride Harry the horse after seeing him yesterday and finding him very cute. I also quite liked that he’d be a challenge, as often with these trail rides the horses can be very calm and you just have to sit there doing not a lot.

As we arrived I saw that Harry was all tacked up and ready to go, as were the other two horses for my friends Sandra and Amy. This was confirmation that even if I’d wanted to, there was no going back on my choice of ride. I received another caution from our leader as he told me that he doesn’t usually let people ride Harry because he can be quite naughty but he trusts that I can handle him.  This put a flicker of doubt in my mind but I’d made my bed and now I must lie in it!

We all asked to wear riding hats (which we were surprised to find were optional) and set off. Harry was a little sprightly but he seemed fine to me as we trekked through a wooded trail that smelt a little of fresh pine. I was really enjoying the ride and wondered what all the fuss was about when our leader turned around and told me that the horses get very excited when they reach the beach. Ah, ok so this was where the fun would start.

Before we got to the beach we, or rather the horses, waded through a stream which was dotted with all sorts of unusual looking birds. I could feel Harry’s excitement as he quickened pace and insisted on jogging from this point on, desperate to break into a trot.

As we turned the corner we were confronted with a long stretch of beach and it looked extremely inviting – I was desperate to have a canter and I think Harry was up for it too. The moment his hooves hit the sand he was shaking his head and wanting to go for it.

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I had managed to get a feel for Harry on the lead up to the beach and had gathered that despite his highly-strung behavior, he was actually very responsive. He listened to me as I told him to calm down and paid attention to my signals as I pulled on the reigns gently.

One of my friends was a complete beginner so I had assumed that a canter would be out of the question. It turned out that the leader would stay with my friend and that Sandra and I were free to go on ahead. We didn’t need telling twice and took off along the dunes. It was exhilarating to race on the sand and I felt perfectly safe – I checked at the reigns every so often to make sure I still had control!

The ride was exactly what we all needed; a good hour of fresh sea air, some exercise and a bit of adrenaline that we’d been craving since our last day at sea.

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Once we got back to base we walked along the coast looking for shells and taking in the view, I also took the chance to get some good shots of our surroundings too.

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We walked for a long time before we reached a private stretch of land that looked deadly to trespass onto and which prompted us to turn back.  It was a shame we hadn’t been able to see any sharks today but the beach ride was a worthwhile replacement and this was the first time we’d walked the coastline since arriving in Gansbaai.

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