Golden Pony Beach Ride

On Friday, I drove over the mountains to pick up Fig and then we went to the beach. I tried to convince my husband that he should come even though he didn't have a horse to ride because I hate driving with the trailer. Shockingly, he was unconvinced. The traffic wasn't too bad and I made it over the mountains and to Fig on time. We loaded her pony and navigated the barn to turn around and head out.

Moss Landing only allows horses at low tide and unfortunately, low tide was at 5:44pm, which was an hour after sunset. Low tide was at 10:30am so we planned to get there around 2pm and figured the tide would be low enough at that point though we wouldn't have a ton of time to ride before heading back.

Parking was easy as the parking lot was pretty deserted. There was a trailer of horses leaving as we pulled in and some cars, but nothing else. It was perfect for me since I lack trailer parking skills. We tacked up and headed out. I've never taken Dijon to the beach and wasn't sure how he'd react. He used to do parades, so he's not spooky, but he's also hot and crazy so I didn't know what I'd get out of that.

We came over the initial dune and he was on alert. Dijon and Fetti were both stuck so I gave up fighting and hopped off to lead him over. He will follow me anywhere. There was some snorting, but he walked up to the waves. He did not want the water to touch him though and I didn't have waterproof boots so I didn't want to try to drag him in.

There was a nice big driftwood log to hop back on with and we carried on walking down the beach. I basically had to keep my leg on him and push him over the entire way as he did not want to go near the scary water, but I wanted him to be down in the harder-packed sand given his tendon issues. Fetti hid behind Dijon and kept him between her and the ocean the whole way. Fete also had to jog/trot to keep up with Dijon's walk. I do wish I had a gaited horse for endurance; it's so much nicer than trotting.

When we turned back towards the entrance, Dijon had to get re-habituated to the ocean on a new side and also wanted to race back to the trailer. Fetti kept trying to bolt, so Fig got off and led her along the water's edge trying to get her to touch the water. She eventually hopped back on and we returned to the entrance.

I originally wanted to keep going the other direction, but Dijon was off a bit in the hind. He kind of always is so I couldn't tell if it was worse or not, but I figured why push it; sand isn't great for tendon issues. I hopped off and tried to walk him closer to the ocean, but he still wasn't having it so we headed back to the trailer and untacked. I took him over to the sand to roll, but he didn't understand. I've never had him roll on the headline, so he probably didn't think he was allowed to. We tried letting him watch Fetti roll, but he still didn't get it.

We loaded up and headed back to Fig's barn. Friday was cold, but it had been pretty warm in the sun at the beach. By the time we got to Fig's barn, in the shade of the setting sun, I think it had dropped a good 20 degrees. I was freezing cold just helping her unload. We did it quickly and I was back on the road as the sun was setting heading over the mountain in the dark.

And it was in the dark that I discovered the trail lights on my trailer weren't working. For anyone not familiar with the area, highway 17 is a twisty, windy, two-lane nightmare that goes up and over the Santa Cruz Mountains. The grade is steep and there are a lot of turns. Trucks and anyone towing are restricted to 35 mph. Everyone else is flying down the mountain at 50+. And it was dark. And I didn't have working tail lights on the trailer. I couldn't tell if my brake lights were working either since I was alone (turns out they were thank god). I pulled into a turnout and turned every light on the trailer on. So the inside was lit up and the outside lights (normally used to help you see while moving around the trailer at night) were on. This way I figured people would at least see me when coming up on me. And then I very carefully and slowly descended to the bay area. I figured if I didn't die, I would for sure get pulled over by a cop, but shockingly I made it home without any incident.

My husband met me at the barn and had fed all the ponies. It was freezing cold so Dijon got his blanket thrown on, we unloaded the trailer as quickly as possible and turned it around to take it home with us to get fixed during the week.

It was a fun day at the beach, but I would rather not repeat the whole no lights in the dark on the twisty mountain highway part... ever.

As a side note, Saturday marked one year of blogging for me. This is my 259th post. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for all the readers who've helped me get this far. Here's to one year down and more to go.

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