Nothing can beat the salty sea breeze brushing against your face as you go for a bracing canter along the sand. If you haven’t had the chance to go for a beach ride with your horse, no doubt it’s on your bucket list. So, with summer in the air, we share our top tips for beach riding.

As well as being huge fun, beach riding provides a useful training ground for you and your horse. Firm sand is a fantastic surface for trotting, cantering and galloping; it is also ideal for building muscle tone, strength and stamina.

Of course, it’s important to put safety first when heading out on the sands. While firm sand is great, deep, soft or very hard sand can injure your horse. So, to prevent them tripping or getting stuck, before pushing on at speed always make sure that you assess the footing.

Top tips for riding on the beach

  1. Check that the beach you have in mind is open to equestrians.
  2. Ensure there’s a car park close by that will accommodate the height of your horsebox/ trailer.
  3. Look at tide times before planning your trip.
  4. Double check when/ where horses are allowed on the beach.
  5. Respect beach wildlife and avoid disturbing birds, particularly in sand dunes.
  6. Do a recce to check that your proposed path is clear and safe. Potential dangers to look out for include rocks, holes, seal life and ocean shelves.
  7. Don’t ride in the water if you can’t see the sandy bottom.
  8. Look out for fun rides with beach locations – you can often cross areas you’re not normally allowed to, plus a clear, safe pater will be marked out for you.
  9. Clean your tack as soon as you get back home – salt and leather don’t mix!

Getting your feet wet

If you fancy going for a paddle, here are a few handy tips for encouraging nervous horses to get their feet wet:

1. Keep to walk 

You’re less likely to splash, which could spook your horse.

2. Approach at an angle 

This way you’re not approaching the waves head on, so if your horse shies away they can move to the side rather than rearing.

3. Take a lead 

Having another calm horse with you who knows all about beaches will give your horse confidence.

4. Try an escorted ride 

If you’re not sure how your own horse will cope, many riding centres near the coast offer beach rides on experienced horses.

Receive six issues of Your Horse magazine for just £15!

Find out what’s inside the latest issue of Your Horse

Get the latest issue