Tag Archive: beach riding

  1. What you need to know about beach riding

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    Oh, we do love to be beside the seaside. And if there’s a horse involved, even better — there is nothing more invigorating than whipping up the sands as you gallop across stunning British shores.

    Long sandy stretches are great for building up fitness levels and slow work in shallow water can encourage a horse to flex his joints and build muscle tone and strength. But while the sand and water that’s laid out invitingly before you looks heaven-sent, the beach environment is unpredictable and conditions can change in the blink of an eye, so caution and respect is required.

    Stick to the rules

    If you are lucky enough to have a beach near you and you know that riding is permitted, the first thing to ascertain is whether there is a restriction on the days and times you can be there. Many beaches operate a relaxed policy during the off-season, but, in spring and summer, limit access for horses to the first hours of the morning and late in the evening.

    Beware the tide

    It is also important to check the tide times before you go. Tides can come in very quickly and catch you unawares, cutting off your route from the beach. Timetables are available online, from the council and often local shops.

    Plan your route

    Having planned your visit and arrived at the beach, you may find that your normally relaxed, mellow-tempered steed suddenly develops racehorse tendencies when his feet hit the sand. This is perfectly normal, so be prepared. It is often windy and the atmosphere is stimulating and very different.

    Plan your route carefully. Sand will vary in texture and depth — it may be harder closer to the water and softer further away, but that is not always the case. Sandbanks can go from hard to soft in less than a stride, especially on estuaries, and deep, soft or very hard sand can cause injury to horses, especially when going at speed.

    Walk before cantering

    If you want to canter or gallop, it is really important to walk or trot the beach beforehand to check the surface and then follow your hoof prints back in the opposite direction. Be aware of holes in the sand and streams running across to the sea. Streams may be deep or cause soft patches that you will need to jump over.

    If you do your research, map your route and stick to your plan, then beach riding is a great way to let off steam, build your horse’s fitness and ride somewhere different.

    Don’t miss these beaches

    For some of the best beach rides in Britain, head to:

    • Camber Sands, East Sussex
    • Formby/Ainsdale beach, Merseyside
    • Gwithian and Godrevy beaches, Cornwall
    • Hunstanton, East Anglia
    • Pendine Sands, South Wales
    • Putsborough Sands, North Devon
    • St Andrews, Scotland

    Some of these require special permits, so check before travelling. And don’t forget to head to Northumberland for a seal-spotting beach ride.

    Image: enjoying the seaside, by DiskyChick via Flickr, CC-BY-ND 2.0

  2. The one beach ride you can’t miss

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    If you like riding, there is a good chance that you have dreamed about riding on a beach —and if you want to experience beach riding at its best, you really need to head to Northumberland. Lindisfarne beachThis stretch of coastline delivers on so many levels: miles and miles of wild, sandy beaches, castles, grey seals, plenty of birds and, crucially, very few people beyond the odd solitary dog walker.

    “It is a very special place and I feel very privileged to be able to ride here”

    Dickie Jeffreys, who runs Kimmerston Riding Centre, with his wife Jane, is to North Northumberland what Crocodile Dundee was to the Australian Outback.

    He has been taking riders to Holy Island (also known as Lindisfarne), a tidal island just south of Berwick-on-Tweed, for 30 years and there is very little that he doesn’t know about it.

    “It is a very special place,” he says, “and I feel very privileged to be able to ride here.”
    lindisfarne castle
    Like all true enthusiasts, Jeffreys never tires of sharing the experience with others — and there is so much to share. Bird lovers can look forward to watch the gannets, terns, oyster catchers and dunlins that congregate on the shoreline. You can spot seals all year round either out to sea or on the rocks at the far end of the island — and twice Jeffreys has been joined by a school of dolphins.

    “We were galloping along the shoreline and fifty yards out to sea there were twenty or so powering along beside us,” he recalls. seal
    “The second time I saw them was on the exact same day twelve years later.”

    However, riding on Lindisfarne is not for beginners: the Jeffreys asks that you can canter confidently because the ride involves plenty of cantering (sometimes faster) in seriously wide open spaces. You can ride out into the water, too, and if you fancy going one step further, Jeffreys will take you and your horse out for a bracing bare-back swim.

    The riding school has a huge array of horses to suit all ages, sizes and levels of experience and they are experts at matching horse to rider. So ditch your fluoro tabard, grab your cossie and you are good to go.

    For more details, contact the Kimmerston Riding Centre on 01668 216283 or visit www.kimmerston.com.

    Images: dawn on Lindisfarne by Tony Smith / Flickr, CC-BY 2.0; Lindisfarne beach by Peter King via Flickr, CC-BY 2.0; Lindisfarne castle view by Chris Combe via Flickr, CC-BY 2.0;grey seal, courtesy of Pixabay