Horsing Around in North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
By Hope S. Philbrick
“I can’t ask customers for their butt size,” said the trail guide about halfway through our route to the beach. “So the saddle you’re in is probably a bit too big.”
Her words were the best birthday present, ever.
Nobody else has ever told me that I’m too small for my saddle.
Equine Adventures uses Australian endurance saddles. Until this ride, I’d only ever ridden Western. The Australian models lack a horn—“You don’t need a horn unless you’re roping cattle,” the guide said—and the reins are held in both hands, similar to Eastern style. The saddle felt wide yet comfortable, though in a trot and cantor the fact that mine was too big became more evident as I sloshed around.
Still, it’s hard to beat horseback riding—especially on the beach!
Horseback riding on the beach offers a fantastic view, the calming rhythm of waves, and a smooth ride. Hatteras Island in North Carolina’s Outer Banks is one of the few places where horseback riding on the beach is allowed.
Equine Adventures takes advantage of the wide-open flat beach as a place to allow riders to take their horses up to faster paces than a walk, if they choose. A photographer is standing by to take action shots of everyone in the group as they pass; discs of all photos are sold for $40 each after the ride. The trail guide will also snap a couple of photos for free as you sit on your horse with your own camera if you bring it.
Equine Adventures’ horses are gentle and well-trained, so whether you’re an experienced rider or a novice, if you’ve ever dreamed of riding on a beach this is where to make it happen.
Rides are approximately two hours long, beginning at the stables and then on trails through the Outer Banks’ Maritime Forest. As you come out of the woods and cross the last sand dune before the beach, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is in the distance off to the left. Then it’s on to the beach for about a half-hour before turning around and heading back through the woods to the stables. Rides are offered year-round, though times vary based on seasonal weather conditions.
Equine Adventures was launched in 2001 by Sylvia Mattingly, who has over 25 years of experience working with horses. All guides have many years of experience with horses. So, while they may not be able to guess your size before meeting you, they’ll take care of you and the horses throughout the ride.
Odds of Encountering Children: Children under 10 are not permitted, but odds vary by group, and each group is up to 14 people. For the best odds, ride when school is in session.
52193 Piney Ridge Road
Frisco, North Carolina
* Rides priced from $100 per person.
Where To Stay…
– Photos © HSP Media LLC
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