JJ’s First Trip to the Beach

JJ at the beach
JJ says: "No, thank you. I do not like this beach thing."
JJ says: “No, thank you. I do not like this beach thing.”

Part 2 of our Charleston, SC road trip adventure!

Sometimes it’s fun to get out of the arena and try something new – whether that’s a new discipline, or a drastic change of scenery. As our Go With It Farm horsey road-trip adventure weekend of awesomeness began winding down, we hauled our ponies to the beach for some fun in the sun, sand, and surf.

Before we tacked up, we decided to let the horses see the water. JJ had never been to a beach before (at least, not that I’m aware of) and was very, VERY confused by the waves rolling in at him. He initially approached the water confidently, then jumped back, startled, when it came “at” him. His surprise was absolutely adorable, and I spent some time getting him as acclimated as I could.

Usually JJ is not a very affectionate horse, nor does he seek comfort in his human. This day, however, he absolutely would not leave my side and wouldn’t let me get more than a few feet away before he would find me and stick to my shoulder like glue. I thought it was so endearing how uncharacteristically insecure he was, and it made me feel really good that he looked to me for (temporary) reassurance.

JJ soon realized that while he might not appreciate the water, the sand was perfect for rolling and JJ *LOVES* to roll. He was overjoyed to have fun wallowing around in the new, scratchy substance, and was much happier afterwards.

With a quick grooming session, my friends and I tacked up to go explore. We broke up into groups and started wandering the shore. The tide was high, so space was limited, but we found a nice section and had a few fun gallops. We jumped a few trees/logs, and just enjoyed being out on the beautiful beach – it was definitely an experience that not many are fortunate enough to experience!

One of our group’s teenagers was on a horse that was relatively new to our farm, and the mare was having confidence issues and kept trying to ditch her rider in the sand so she could bolt back to the trailer. I simply cannot put into words how incredibly proud I was of this young rider for having the patience, strength, and confidence of her own to help guide the mare through her insecurities. By the end of the day, the two of them were galloping around like old pros. It was really fun to watch them both grow, individually and as a pair, in a matter of mere minutes.

As the sun began to head towards the horizon, we called it quits, loaded up, and headed back to Middleton Riding Academy so we could feed and put our babies up for the night.


LESSON LEARNED

Even if your horse is big and brave when you go through the water on the cross country course, he might be a big baby when faced with an entire ocean. And that’s actually kind of cute. ;)

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