Sunday, April 19, 2009

Beach Bingo

My second and last beach trip of the spring was supposed to happen this Tuesday, but an unpleasant weather forecast changed it to Sunday.  One thing after another made it so none of my riding friends could join me, but our neighbor from across the road (Mary) said she’d like to come just for the walk, and to take pictures.  Mary sometimes takes care of Zephyr for me when we’re away traveling.

We left the driveway around 8:45am and made decent time getting to Scarborough, arriving at 12 noon.  Low tide was at 1:30 so I tacked up quickly.  I just replaced the battery on Zephyr’s heart rate monitor belt transmitter (bottom right photo) so I did take the time to make sure it was working before we left.

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There were a bunch of other riders already there, and more arriving every minute.  We ended up with probably 8 other riders on the beach with us... but thankfully never WITH us.  When I ride alone I like to be alone... strangers never go the right speed.  At one point, two horses cantered by while we were trotting, and Zephyr was a little jumpy, but then I guess the exposure is good for him.


When we first got out to the beach there was a family with a kite just off camera to our right.

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tongue-out << I like this picture... check out the tongue...

One of the horses that arrived just before us was a big black Percheron.  Mary was quite taken with it:


After our brief photo session, Zephyr and I headed down towards the pier.  He was willing and forward, but wasn’t interested in galloping.  We mostly trotted on this first trip, an easy 9-10mph trot.  I don’t have any pictures from that trip down because I left the camera with Mary. 

On the way back, we were enjoying a nice relaxing canter when my phone rang.  I could tell that it was my best bud Steph so I decided to see if I could answer it without Zephyr breaking stride.  It was strapped to my leg so I reached down, unvelcroed the top tab of the phone holder, and was able to answer it without dropping it.  Yay!  She asked what I was doing and I said “cantering down the beach”.  It took a minute to convince her that I was actually STILL cantering down the beach.  I had to hold the phone down near Z’s shoulder so she could hear his feet on the hard-packed sand!  She was impressed, I think, but we agreed that we should probably talk later because of all the dogs and little kids I was having to pay attention to avoiding.

After the first trip down and back, it was time for a drink of water and a bite to eat.  Hay for Zephyr, chocolate pudding for me.  I had a sandwich (prepackaged, eww) but it was exactly low tide and I wanted to get back out there.  Wasn’t too hungry, anyway.  A young boy and his father came over to say hello... the dad was wearing a walking cast up past his knee but his son REALLY wanted to “go pet the horsie” so over they hobbled.  Zephyr pretty much ignored the kid, just kept eating.


After lunch, Mary got some video of us.  Unfortunately I didn’t realize she was there, so we’re really far away!

We went down to the pier again, and all the way back Zephyr kept pulling hard to the left.  I assumed he wanted to be further from the water but I “let him have his head” a couple times and each time he made an abrupt U-turn back towards the pier!  Apparently he didn’t want to go home. 

At some point, the inevitable happened.  He stopped and dropped a load of manure, which I then was responsible for picking up.  I hopped off and dug out my plastic shopping bags, scooped the poop into one of them, double bagged it and tied it on my saddle.  Just as I was doing so, four riders walked their horses past and asked if Zephyr was a Morgan.  I said no and explained about his breeding (Arab x Rocky Mountain) and gaits (walk, foxtrot, rack, trot, extended trot).  They ohh’d and ahh’d.  I think they were a little surprised that I was actually picking up my horse’s manure... there was so much of it all along the beach that I’m sure nobody else was.  It was like beach bingo... which square will the horse poop on?  I mean, yeah, the tide was coming in but if horseback riders don’t follow the rules they agreed to when they applied for their permit they might someday lose the privilege!  Of course from then until I found a trash barrel I had to ride with one hand on the manure bag... not an easy feat at a canter.

Just as we got back to the path to the parking lot, this is what we saw:


I was pretty freaked out, thinking he’d spook, so I let him make his U-turn and we made another trip to the pier.  When we got down there I stopped him and turned him back towards the trailer, and he wouldn’t walk forward.  When I let him have his head, he turned around and started walking toward the pier.  Very strange... normally the pier freaks him out a little bit.  I pressed the issue and off we went back towards the trailer.  On the way back, the parasailer passed us and Zephyr didn’t even blink.

According to the GPS we did 15 miles total, almost entirely at a trot or canter, so he was pretty soaked in sweat when we got back to the trailer.  Mary had gotten cold and was reading in the truck, so I pulled his tack and walked him back to the beach for a quick roll in the sand.  He drew a crowd of about 30-40 people, many with cameras, as he rolled over and over again for a couple minutes.  Then got up and found another spot to do it again!  He was a sandy beast when he was done.

The trip home was uneventful.  We stopped in Topsham for a quick Ruby Tuesday’s meal with my parents, and were home by 8pm.  My back muscles are a little sore today but I’m happy.  :-)


  1. you have to pick up the horse manure?!?!?! Holy cow, I'd never ride at our beach again if they had that the tide won't wash it ppl... I can understand in the parking area (we need to do that too), but not on the actual beach... Where is this at?
    Sounds like you had fun though :)

  2. Very cool! Great pics! Thanks for sharing. Wish I had me own trailer! I almost made it there with a friend but she decided the commotion may be too much for her horse. Not all the horses poop below the tide line that's the big problem. You are my new hero for picking up! They will also fine you and or pull your permit if they catch you on the OOB side of the beach. Do you know at which condo the OOB line is?

  3. You know, Ell, I never knew where it was before yesterday... first time EVER that I saw the town line sign along the edge of the dune. *sigh* I was happier not knowing. YOU KNOW all those riders don't have permits for both beaches... if they fine one of us they'll have to fine us all. I heard OOB's permit is only good for ONE DAY... that's impossible for me to do, I live 3 hours away!!

  4. That looks like fun! On a windy day I can ride at Washoe lake and pretend it's like the

  5. How do you get a permit to ride on Scarborough Beach? We live about 3 hours away in Vermont and were planning on going there the day before you did, but the grass in the pastures was short enough to see everything, so we walked them and worked on preparing the farm for summer instead.


  6. Go here: and scroll down almost to the bottom. Look for Horse Beach Permits. Note that the beach closes to horses on May 1 (tomorrow)... so you'll have to wait until it opens again on October 15.