Summer Fun with Your Steed
By Amy C. Witt
Sometimes these record high temps get in the way of our summer plans. With California’s heat wave upon us, it can be a bit discouraging and unmotivating to want to adventure too far from home. Living in Tulare County, I am quite familiar with the struggle of trying to beat the heat, get horses rode while keeping it exciting. So, I’ve compiled a few ideas to inspire you to journey horseback through these hot months.
Take your horse swimming. This has been a life-changing experience for me. It has not only made me a better rider, it has taught me a lot more about my horse and the communication and connection we share. Find a lake that has a recreation center or area where there is not a lot of people or distractions. I would suggest finding a boat ramp that is not used. As they are cemented, it seems to provide support and a bit of security for horses as they travel into the water. If you make sure to stay on the boat ramp, you are able to obtain a better sense of depth and direction. The ground outside of the cement is different and horses are very aware of this. I’ve also found that riding your horse into the water bareback is more effective. I feel it gives them a sense of safety and they seem to ease in rather, smooth and quietly. Not to mention, swimming is great exercise and just overall rejuvenating and therapeutic to their body. This is one of my favorite things to do and I highly encourage you to experience it!
Take a beach trip. Malibu Lagoon State Beach, Pismo State Beach, Salinas River State Beach, Half Moon Bay, Pebble Beach are just a few really beautiful and easy spots to enjoy a blissful sunrise or sunset ride. In Monterey County, you can also ride through the Del Monte Forest – which is on my bucket list this year.
Take a weekend and enter a jackpot somewhere you wouldn’t normally go. Most recently, I started entering a barrel and pole bending summer series jackpot at Unity Farms, which is only six miles from home. Not only am I having fun and winning money, I have been introduced into a special community of inspiring young girls and empowering women. This isn’t something I would’ve normally done if it wasn’t for my best friend insisting I enter anywhere, anything.
Go to the mountains. Living only 50 miles from the Sequoia National Forest, I have been taking advantage of the opportunity to ride amongst the big trees and explore our sacred forests. Riding in the forest is always a very spiritual and rewarding experience. Pack a pole with you and throw a line in at a creek or pond. Better yet, take a pack trip into the wilderness. The Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Forests offer awesome family owned and operated pack stations. This is something I have yet to do but an experience I anticipate to endure.
I’ve found that websites and apps like Trail Link : https://www.traillink.com/stateactivity/ca-horseback-riding-trails/ or All Trails: https://www.alltrails.com/parks/us/california/sequoia-national-forest/horseback-riding are very helpful in planning your next expedition.