I took a vacation day today to drive down to Pine Point Beach in Scarborough. I haven't been down since the '06-'07 season, I think, so I was really looking forward to it.
My friend was supposed to bring her new horse along for the trip, but she got sick the day before and couldn't make it. I decided to go anyway... Zephyr and I have spring fever! Then yesterday morning I slipped on some ice and fell hard, but the doctor said there was no sign of concussion and gave his blessing on the trip.
I got up when my husband left for work, and Zephyr and I departed at a leisurely 8:30am. I had to stop several times for errands and gas, but still made it to the Scarborough Town Office by noon to get a beach permit. We were at the beach by 12:30 and saddled by around 1:30 I think. I gave him some grain slurry and hay, then electrolytes. There was no rush, low tide wasn't until around 6pm so the water was still high and I could hear the waves breaking on the beach pretty loudly.
I have a nice thin rope halter these days, with a 10-foot rope knotted onto it, so I left that on him and put the bridle over top. I walked him down to the beach so he could remember what it was all about with me on the ground giving him confidence.
He did great! Within mere moments we were both in the water... not deep, but there. I was feeling pretty smug and smart that I'd worn my tall rubber chore boots so I could go in the water with him.
Unfortunately, he was doing SO well that I got a little over enthusiastic. I was fine until a really big wave came and dumped cold seawater into the tops of my 16" tall boots! Of course I scurried right out of the water to dump them out but nothing came out... it had all soaked into my socks, orthotic insoles, and the neoprene insides of my boots. Oh well, gotta laugh. My feet didn't fall off so it wasn't the end of the world.
Once I determined that Zephyr was fine with the water being so high and loud, I mounted up. He was definitely more reluctant without me on the ground with him. Sometimes it got a little frustrating, but only if I really pushed the issue and made him walk on the shiny wet sand.
We walked and trotted down to the pier a little over 2 miles away, then on the way back got in some good long canters. He was definitely better going away from the sun, the wet sand didn't shine as much.
After our first trip to the pier and back, we went to the trailer for lunch. Hay and water for him, tuna sandwich and water for me. I took the saddle off while we ate, to figure out why the heart rate monitor belt wasn't working. The transmitter battery seems to be bad, so I'll need to get that changed.
Back out on the beach, the water was now much lower and Zephyr was much happier to just motor along at a nice 9-10mph trot without freaking too much over the seafoam and water. There was a lot more flat non-wet beach to take him onto if I needed a break, too.
On the way back, we met a very nice lady who offered to take our picture. Unfortunately there was a teenage boy and his unleashed dog who kept chasing us, so it made for an interesting photo shoot! I'm surprised the dog isn't in either of these shots.
The whole rest of the way back to the trailer, Zephyr just kept getting stronger and stronger. About halfway back, after a really nice long relaxed canter (maybe a mile worth), I asked him to walk for a bit. Then asked for a canter again and he jumped into his old extended trot. I haven't felt that trot in so long it took me by surprise! It feels like somone jammed a rocket under his tail and lit the fuse. His whole body drops down a few inches, his neck comes down, he tucks his nose in a little bit, and his hindquarters thrust with such amazing power that quite honestly it scares me sometimes! It feels like he might take off... a trotting runaway! I've been more relaxed riding a GALLOP than I was riding this trot today. Just blew my mind.
After two trips up and down, we had done 11 miles and I think it was around 4:30. It was time to go. I rode him back to the trailer, untacked, and brought him back to the beach to roll. And ROLL HE DID! Very thoroughly!
We both had a marvelous time. It only took 3 hours to get home so I was back by 8pm. Unloading gear went pretty fast and now I'm ready for BED! All that sun, exercise, and wind... tires ya out! Still, I hope to go back soon. Horses are allowed there until May 1st.