Saturday, March 15, 2014

"There's a Snake in My Boots!"

The title is reference to this beautiful horse's name - my riding partner on Saturday was named "Woody" - which immediately endeared him to me.  And, while I never ended up with a snake in my boots (Thank God!), we did see one swimming in the water on the way to the beach.  

Saturday, March 15th, was the day we'd chosen to book our horse back ride in Florence.  We'd been holding on to the gift certificate for over a year and a half (given at Christmas 2012).  But, due to John's eye issues, we had to wait for a time he was ready to ride, and thankfully, the folks at C&M were willing to extend the expiration date for us.  

It's always a "crapshoot" to predict weather any where in Oregon in March, much less on the coast.  But, this was pretty much the only weekend we had available, and the certificate we had for the hotel we got at the Harlow Auction had to be used in the spring.  So, we hoped for the best.  While we didn't get brilliant blue skies, it did NOT rain - and we were very grateful.  

The whole family was looking forward to this adventure, particularly after our experience in Colorado this last summer.

 This is John on his mount, "Tennessee"

Brayden had "Buddy".  Buddy was kind of lolly-gagger - again Brayden was paired with a horse that was very lovable, but a little exasperating.  Hmmmm, I'd say it was an ideal pairing.

Mikayla was paired with "Bailey".  He was a perfect choice for her as well - very sweet and obedient.

We rode with only one other couple (picture below), so it was a nice small group of 6 of us.  Our guide's name was Zoe.  She might have been the same guide John and I had many, many years ago - and we loved her.

I didn't remember the fun forest-y feel of the trails that we took to get to the beach...

My "selfie" en route on the ride - wishing I could get a picture of Woody as well...

Before long, we were on the beach - and encouraged to spread out and trot as much as we wanted.  This was the place where John and I had had the opportunity to full-out canter (gallop!) on our last trip, but given the size of our group and lack of experience of the kids, we were restrained a bit.  It's a good thing, because the ocean was working against us this day.  Due to the low tides of the previous week, and very high tide while we were riding, conditions were ripe for "sink holes".  Zoe had seen these conditions swallow a horse up to its shoulders before, so we wisely chose to keep our time on the beach a little shorter than anticipated.

Back up and over the dunes - and onto another scenic trail to make up for our missed time on the beach.

Our Oregon coast "flora" definitely has its own unique look and feel.  To be honest, it's not my favorite.  I've always preferred the mountains and Central Oregon over the coast.  But, it's good to be back every now and then.

This was the couple we rode with - Ben and Nicole.  Ironically, Nicole is the daughter of one of the doctors Mark Meyers works with in his practice.  What a small world. 

And, a family shot of us with Zoe, our outstanding guide.

While it was a great ride, it didn't compete with Colorado - I suspect that will always be a fave.  Brayden's helmet was too tight, so he was uncomfortable on most of the ride - but it was still a great experience and well worth it!

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