Riding horses on the beach…A debate

So it is one of my bucket list items to ride a horse on the beach. I grew up just outside of Buffalo in a small town on Lake Erie. Coming from an old school HJ barn up there that was never allowed so I never got to. My family is still there so when I go back in October I asked my Mom if her friend who rides can take me. This is her friend from the Navy who actually turned me into a horse girl as a kid. Running around a private barn full of beautiful Morgans all day… perfection. Anyway…

The debate ensued. :joy: She said she’d ask her friend but very firmly reiterated her feeling of horses on a beach. As a local beach bum she hates it. I hear about it at least twice a summer. I guess the poop really trips her out. Me, clearly not. Hell, my one of my past times as a kid was climbing the manure pile like it was my own personal Mt. Everest. And do I LOVE cleaning stalls.

I understand no one really wants crap on the beach and I probably wouldn’t do it on a summer day up there. It can be busy and there’s foot traffic on the shore all day. (In October not so much.) I did tell her I’d absolutely go pick up poop after the ride. To my mom’s credit she was very sweet about it and said she’d talk to her friend but also kindly enforced her boundary in an appropriate way. Very proud of her for that! I’m just laughing at how different non horse people are. I’d pick up the poop even if she didn’t feel the way she did but I have to laugh at her poop aversion. I assume others must feel the same way.

So… where does everyone land on this debate? Are horses on the beach a pain for the nonhorse people? Should all horses have to wear a poop bag? (I truly have no idea the proper term for that. Sorry!) Should I force my husband to be poop patrol during the ride? (My poor husband. He’s a saint. He’d be dragging that wheel barrow through the sand looking calm and collected but also wondering how his life has come to that.:joy: You can drink on the beach up there so I’ll make sure to provide booze and snacks. Totally a fair trade.)


at a lake beach I certainly would not, but a tidal ocean beach I would ride at low or rising mid tide. I frequent Long Beach in washington state and there are local riders and riding concession. I can count on one hand the times I have encountered or seen manure on the beach. Tons of human debris and garbage which is more offensive.


I hope the answer is yes. But your mom will have to go along so we can get the photo of the parade. . . . you and mom’s friend on horseback and your DH following behind, pulling the wheelbarrow with one hand and a drink in the other. Thanks for the image and the smile!


I have always wanted to ride on the beach or even take a horse for a swim! However, as a quintessential rule follower I have always struggled to find a document that specifically addresses whether horses are allowed on the beach or not.

There are a couple of beaches in my town that allow horses, but only in the winter (Oct1 to April 1) and only below the high tide line. Because we’re on the ocean, it never occurred to me that one might ride where there isn’t a tide until I read your post OP.

And these beaches are much much more concerned about dog waste than horse waste FWIW.


No one likes dealing with random solid waste product.

So, I get your mother’s point.

I am not freaked out by manure. I push it out of the way with my foot, I get it on my hands from blanket straps, I clean stalls, I walk in my manure pile. But who wants to sit on a beach next to a pile of crap?

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It’s a blast! We have beach access at my barn, and we try our best to at least bury poop on the beach.

Swimming was earlier this summer

And this was last night!


No better thing than horseback on a beach…


Most of the beaches I know of that allow riding only allow it during the off season, and it is also usually limited to certain areas. When I rode on the beach in the summer it was with an outfit in Myrtle Beach, and they have a private island so the horses or poop aren’t disturbing anyone.


Yabbut, isn’t that a rock beach, rather than sand?

:heart_eyes: Love the pics & vids of you(s) riding where permitted.

To non-horsefolk, :poop: is :poop:.& equally Eeeewww!
OTOH, we of COTH think nothing of examining a poopball ungloved. :raised_hand_with_fingers_splayed::poop:
In the name of Science :microscope::smirk:

At Fair I constantly hear horrified parents telling kids to avoid the piles dropped at the gate to the warm-up.
You’d think it was radioactive :dizzy_face::atom_symbol:
But their only experience must be with dog or cat :poop:, so understandable :expressionless:


I’ve never even considered the nonhorsey sect would object to poop. Riding on a beach is on my bucket list of life. Hope you get to go OP!. The only complaint I have is this thread needs more horsey beach pictures! Please?


If you want to ride a horse on a beach, the tidal option is the best bet. And somewhere more remote than in front of a bunch of expensive beachfront mansions. There are places where this is still done, we used to do it fairly often when I was a kid in Victoria, BC. I still have friends there who still do it… they know the suitable spots where they can still go and ride and swim with horses without triggering complaints. You would need to find a “horse rental resort” business where they offer this option.

BUT, I will warn you that there are some risks associated with riding on a beach. Dangerous items buried in the sand that you may hit at speed as you gallop on the sandbar (buried broken glass etc). Another possibility, at the point of long sand bars when the tide turns is rip tides causing undercut sand bars. We were caught in one of these once, unaware as kids. Suddenly, the ground drops out from under your horse’s feet, and the water is moving fast and powerful beneath you. Found out later that divers had DIED in that spot previously, sucked in there and the sand bar collapsing on top of them. Consider this possibility before crossing back to the beach off the tip of a sandbar.

Another thing to be aware of (and it sounds obvious, but there have been times that catastrophe has occurred) is… don’t go swimming with a standing martingale or tie down on your horse. The horse will drown if you do. If you are going to go swimming with a horse, bareback is the best option. Salt water isn’t helpful to leather tack.


Every other year or so when I was a teen we would take a group of 10 to Island Beach State park in NJ in the off season. There is a bath house and a huge area to park. There is a fee per truck/car load.
My mom would load up my horse and a couple of ponies and we would skip school to go ride at the beach for a day taking turns on my horse. I would ride the ponies into the waves.

I don’t remember the horses needing “to go” much after the trailer ride and saddling up in the car park. And we cleaned up around the trailer.

Some horses hate the waves while others don’t mind it at all.

We would all have a great time and be super tired from all of the fun.


Love the pics of riding on the beach!

Some of my fondest memories are of riding on the beach in Orange County, Calif., in between what Newport and Corona del Mar. Back then (aging myself!) it was wide open, with maybe a few bohemian clusters of trailer homes hidden back in some of the coves. Now, of course, the entire area is a solid mass of “civilized” blight. But at one time, you could ride there and no one was even around to care about horse poop.

So do it, OP! You might never get the chance again.


Here’s another!


Around here that are a number of beaches open to horses in the late fall/winter/early spring - none that I know of in summer. We always ride below the tide line.

I’ve ridden on various beaches, including in Puerto Rico. It was lots of fun, and the horses gave every indication of enjoying it.

In Puerto Rico, it was after we’d already ridden for quite a while getting to the beach, so any pooping that needed to happen had already happened earlier. In California, we had to haul to the beach, and the horses had (of course) pooped copiously in the trailer on the way there (don’t they always, lol?), so pooping on the beach didn’t happen there, either.


Back when I was in HS you could take horses into the water at Mendon Ponds Park in Monroe Co. NY.

I knew Charlie Whittingham regularly exercised horses at the beach, but did not realize it was a regular practice at Del Mar.

I remember SFPD mounted patrol regularly riding on Ocean Beach. What a nice break for urban horses.