Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sit, Stay and Roll Over

Next month I will be heading to Montana to visit my best friend for her "Dirty 30" birthday celebration!  

I'm really excited to see Justine and get a little crazy before she turns into an old maid! :)  But I'm also excited to try a few new things.  She's been getting her horseback riding on a lot since she moved back from Montana, and I'm hoping she'll take me on a trail ride while I'm out there.

Just thinking about getting up on a horse makes me think of my Valentine's Day trip with Jason to Bandon, Oregon in 2010.  It was during that trip that we decided it would be fun to go horseback riding on the beach.  I hadn't been in years, in fact, before 2010 it had been my freshman year in college since I'd been on a horse, so I thought this would be fun!

We made a call and set up a ride for the morning of Valentine's Day Eve.  Jason and I woke up that morning, dressed for the chilly weather and headed for the stables.  It was the type of place you would expect to see on the Oregon Coast.  A little rundown, a little campy, a little perfect.  

The woman who ran the place looked like she belonged behind a bar, serving us bud light in a can, but she was sweet.  Our tour guide was one of those guys who tells you their life story the minute they meet you.  And the other couple we were riding with was strange.  There's really no other way to put it. So we knew we were in for a treat.   We filled out our paper work, and got ready to go riding.

There were five horses.  Three were normal-sized mares.  One was a little bigger than those three... and the fifth horse was massive.  That was my horse, Modock.  Now, I'm a tall girl, but even I needed to stand on a bench to get on this horse.  Like I said, he was HUGE... but the sweetest horse that I had ever ridden.  Jason's horse was one of the "Normal" sized mares named Star.  My horse fancied her behind, and couldn't keep his nose out of it for the ENTIRE ride.

Unlike regular trail riding, there aren't many rules for horseback riding on the beach.  Really there is only one.  When a wave comes at your horse you're supposed to turn them toward it.  This keeps them from galloping up the dune and throwing you off.  

Now normally, the guide told us this wasn't a problem for his riders, because they were there in the summer when the water level is a lot lower.  But since we picked February to ride on the beach, we were going to have a lot of practice doing this.  He was right.  We hit several waves on our way down the beach.  We got to ride through some streams, in the waves and over the dunes.  All the while hearing the woes of our guide's life story, his child custody battle, his stint in a lumber mill and his hunt for a new house.  

Our ride was cut a little short by the high tide-- so we turned around and headed back.  This is where the story gets juicy.  While our guide is going into great detail about his desire to leave the trailer park a sneaker wave hits us-- and while we were handling the horses through this surprise, another wave hit.  The water was stomach deep on these horses, and everyone was soaked.  My horse was three feet taller than everyone else's so my ankles got the brunt of the waves.  I started to laugh a little at Jason...

That's probably why what happened next, happened to me.

When the waves were gone, we headed to a dry spot on the dune.  Just then, my horse started to lower himself in the sand.  I thought he was having a hard time getting up the hill, or maybe he was in shock from the waves.  I'm not an experienced horse person... so I started to yell.  "Whoa, whoa, whoa!  What's going on?  What's happening?  HELP ME!!"  

The guide turned around a said,  "Oh good grief, Modock.  Don't worry ma'am.  He just wants to roll over in the sand to dry off.  He'll wait for you to get off, so just step aside."  At least my horse was kind enough to wait for me to get off his back before he started to roll over.

It was interesting, none-the-less.  And once I was back on Modock and we were on our way back to the stables all I got to hear was Jason's laughter.  In some ways, I guess I deserved it.  I mean, I had started to laugh at him first.

Do you have any funny vacation stories?  What happened to you?  Have you ever been horseback riding on the beach?  Did you have any issues with your horse, or was it smooth sailing?  I'd love to hear from you, leave your comments below!

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