Salinas River State Beach Ride

We finally made it to the beach. This was another one of our goals for 2015:

#1 Buy a horse trailer
#2 Take our horses to the beach

#3 Do a trail ride event type thing
#4 Go to a horse show
#5 Go horse camping

We can get to the ocean in about 45 minutes, but beaches we can take the horses to are all over an hour away. We had a choice between going over the Golden Gate bridge or going south so south won. We went to Salinas River State Beach, which is really nice for having good amounts of trailer parking. 

The ponies loaded and trailered nicely and we got to the beach around 12:30. Low tide was at 1:30 and horses are only allowed at the water's edge so we had to go near low tide. The parking lot was actually pretty crowded when we got there. We were the 5th horse trailer and we're usually the only one. One of the trailers' people were still around getting their horses ready and they came over to admire Nilla. 

We tacked up and hopped on and rode over the little dune towards the beach. Unfortunately, in addition to seeing the ocean for the first time, the horses were also seeing throngs of people with weird things in their possession. There were beach umbrellas, kids running and screaming, dogs and worst of all - fishing poles. My best guess is that these looked a bit too much like lunge lines as neither horse was willing to tolerate them. 

It was like nothing was safe. If they calmed down for three seconds about the stupid water, then someone would move with a fishing pole and it'd be back to freaking out. Luckily both of them have the same freaking out reaction, which is spin and jump - not take off bucking or rearing. I still decided to hop off and dragged Nilla past the initial insanity by the entrance.

Why stand still for a picture when you can furiously paw at the sand instead?

At one point there was a fisherman trying to save a sting-ray by shoving it on a piece of driftwood back into the ocean. This was terrifying. Then a group of young people cowboying their horses around came riding by. There were 6 of them riding 4 horses. Two of the guys were nice enough to ask if everything was ok since I was walking, but really their presence was just agitating Nilla more as she wanted to go racing after them as they galloped along the beach.

They finally went far enough away that I could get back on and we continued down the beach. We eventually reached the trio who had gotten on just before us in the parking lot. They asked us to call the Marine Sanctuary and have them come rescue a baby sea lion that had washed ashore in distress. It's actually sort of an epidemic in California right now. After we called for help, they were nice enough to take some pictures of us together. Our horses were not so interested in standing still or near each other so this is the best we got:

At this point, we were pretty far away from the crowds and there were only a few fisherman, driftwood, seaweed, birds, sand etc to spook at so they actually calmed down a bit.

At one point I had my husband ride up and then come running back so I could try to get some pictures.

We passed the baby sea lion on the way out and back and it's a really heart-wrenching sight. They have these huge puppy-dog eyes that practically beg you to save them.

It was still alive at this point, though I didn't get a great picture because I didn't want to get too close and stress it even more. The marine sanctuary was going to come get this little pup, so I hope he held on long enough.

When we got back to the parking lot, we untacked and I took Nilla over to a pile of sand that was in the parking lot. She got right down to business:

When my husband took Shasta over, a truck had pulled in front of half the pile so she wouldn't roll even though she climbed into the sand and seemed to want to.

I can't wait to go back again soon. I think they'll be a lot better next time.

Don't forget to enter my 100th post giveaway. You have until the 23rd to enter and maybe win a wooden stall sign. 

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