(When I was little, my favorite book was Little Gray Rabbit Goes to the Sea.... this adventure reminded me of that story.)
Island Beach State Park is (I think) the only beach in New Jersey where you're allowed to ride horses. For my local friends, you can go there anytime between October and April, you just have to call ahead and make a reservation, 10 horses maximum per group. [Note that even though I called ahead, they didn't have my name down when we arrived, but luckily no one else had reserved the day. Next time to be on the safe side I'm going to try to get confirmation in writing or at least the name of the person I speak to.] It's free to ride other than a $10 parking fee to get into the park, and there's a huge parking lot to park the trailer and get tacked up. If you're within driving distance, I highly recommend making plans to do this.
Although Ethan and I have ridden other horses on other beaches....
This is the first time we've ridden our own horses on our home shore. I think it's fair to say that it's pretty much every Jersey girl's dream to ride her horse on the beach. Bucket list item - check.
Tucker started off fairly alarmed (we may have run sideways and backwards up a sand dune) at the fact that there was a LAKE MAKING THUNDER (REPEAT: LAKE. MAKING. THUNDER.) but once he realized that Mooch was not at all concerned, he settled in.
He felt the footing was a bit deep in some places for his liking and inquired as to when the last time it was dragged and whether anyone had considered the benefits of GGT for this ring. (The footing is actually fine, although it is a beach. We stuck to a walk for the whole ride, but if he had been a little bit braver about the water, we probably could have trotted along the water line where the sand was firmer. Maybe next time.)
He did not want to leave his buddy's side so followed right along when Ethan went to investigate this huge sea bass. And... then it flopped. And Tucker said, SHARRRRRRRRRRK! I'm not sure who jumped harder at the spook - Tucker or these fishermen.
All in all though we were very impressed with how well the boys behaved. Lots of great photo opps, beautiful views, and definitely one of those days when you realize that everything looks better through a horse's ears.
My favorite shots of the day:
So glad we did this. A few of these are definitely going in a frame.