Of all the winters to fly like a snowbird to Ocala, I probably could have rested my wings this year. I’m six months pregnant, my jump saddle is collecting dust, and there are no USEA events circled on my calendar. But I’m packing up the pony and going anyway, just to putz around in the sunshine and check one big item off my bucket list: beach ride!
Galloping along a sun-drenched beach with the sparkling surf lapping at your horse’s feet … that’s the stuff of equestrian fantasy, especially this time of the year.
Amelia Island is about two-and-a-half hours northeast of Ocala, close-ish to Jacksonville, and it’s horse friendly. The beach originally captured my imagination when eventer Grace Netter sent us this video a couple winters ago. Grace’s trainer Claire Tyner along with trainer Lauren Romanelli took their four working students on a field trip to the beach at Amelia Island while stationed for the winter in Ocala.
“Originally out of Nashville, Tennessee, you can imagine that it’s not often we get to ride on the beach, so we took it by storm,” says Grace, who is mounted on Hannah Brandt’s Oliver. “This video has everything you can imagine from an eventer beach takeover! What more do eventers love to do than gallop?
“Me, Claire and Lauren separated from the group for a quick gallop down the open beach. You can hear my giddy laugh/giggle of pure joy as we gallop away, which is what makes me laugh about the video. It’s the pure love of what we do!”
Fun! Can’t wait.