1. Feel fresh
Have you ever heard the term blowing away the cobwebs? Well, that’s exactly what a trip to the beach does! A breezy canter along the sand will get you and your pony feeling fresh and raring to go. Whether it’s to re-energize you before a competition or just to shake off those winter blues, it’s sure to do the trick!
2. Soak up the scenery
The beach is beautiful all year round, but it’s very different during the winter than the summer. Make the most of the quiet season to enjoy the surroundings of an empty beach with your pony.
3. Gallop away!
Some beaches offer miles and miles of empty sand for you and your pony to explore. What could be better?
Watch point – Make sure the sand is safe to ride on as wet weather can make it deep and boggy in some places, so keep an eye on it!
4. Spice up your riding
During the winter, your normal riding routine might be affected by the dark evenings, which could mean you spend more time in the arena. Taking a trip to the beach is a nice way to mix up your routine, and it’ll be super-fun for you and your pony. The beach sand is a nice, shock-absorbing surface, too – bonus!
Watch point – Remember to check the tide times before you head down to the beach. You’ll want to go when the tide is at its lowest.
5. Banish Christmas blues
For lots of people, the most exciting thing about winter is Christmas, so when it’s over, it’s easy to feel a bit deflated. Planning a trip to the beach with your mates and your fave ponies will give you all something to look forward to.
Watch point – It’s likely to be windier at the beach in the winter, which could make your pony a bit more spooky and lively than usual, so consider putting a neckstrap on him.
6. Fewer people = Fewer problems
There’s nothing like having an empty beach to enjoy with your pony, but it’s not just the freedom that’s awesome. Fewer people means no dodging other riders and people going for a stroll. Also, it’ll be easier to park, so you’re likely to get a fab spot to unload your pony. Plus, it’ll be easier to persuade your parents or yard owner for a lift to the beach if you can guarantee no summer traffic jams!
7. Rules out!
There are often fewer restrictions during the winter about what days and times you can ride on the beach, so it’s much easier to plan your visit. Make sure you carefully check the rules and restrictions of the beach you’re visiting before you go, so you’re clear about when you can and can’t be on the sand.
8. Work it out
It’s often more of a struggle to keep your pony fit over winter. Beach riding is great for fittening your pony, so why not find a long stretch of sand and do some interval training? You can both work off those Christmas treats!
Watch point – Avoid taking your pony into the sea further than a paddle as, not only will it be extremely cold, it’s also unsafe. A shallow paddle is okay, but make sure you face towards land and not out to sea.
9. See the sunrise
Seeing the sunrise over the sea is a beautiful spectacle, but during the summer it’s difficult to catch, with the sun rising before 5am most days in June and July. You’ve got to be super-keen to see that! However, during the winter, the sun rises at a much more sociable time – between 7.30 and 8am in December and January. It’s still an early start, but watching the sunrise at the beach from horseback will be well worth it.
10. Fun for all
It’s not just humans and ponies who love the beach – most dogs do, too! As the beach is quieter over winter, it’s more likely that dogs will be allowed, so you can take your fave canine with you for a blast. Just be prepared for him to get a bit wet as most dogs just can’t resist a dip in the sea!