Last Thursday, as in the Thursday before last, I was somehow successful in winning the battle with L to float Oscar and I to the beach! It’s not that I am violently adverse to driving myself and my horse there, but I wanted company for the first beach trip in a long time.
I needn’t have worried! A few years ago (maybe five or six) Oscar spent a solid week or two on the beach, well on a coastal property, working on the beach during his stint as a movie star. As such, he’s pretty comfortable with waves rolling in and sand for miles. Also, Manawatu beaches are a hundred times tamer than the wild west Auckland beaches he’s used to.
Still, I packed up the dogs and my obliging other half and we headed out to the coast on a family adventure of sorts. Unfortunately, I come from a long line of people cursed with the inability to get out of the door on time when it involves more than just getting themselves ready. I knew high tide was around lunch time and despite being ready first thing in the morning, by the time we actually got our shit together we rolled up at Tangimoana around 11.30. Excellent, right on high tide.
Still, there is an (tide affected – thanks Coastal Environments paper at Massey haha) estuary at Tangimoana with sand flats on either side of the river mouth so you can ride on wet sand despite the tide being in. If you’re unfamiliar with Tangimoana beach, there is a tonne of driftwood washed onshore. That beach is a driftwood graveyard.
Thankfully the estuary isn’t as packed as the beach with driftwood, but there are still a few logs scattered around that make pretty sweet makeshift cross country jumps! And the bonus of a beach that collects heaps of driftwood is that it also collects heaps of sand, and that sand makes sand dunes! Yay for sand dunes. The Manawatu has one of New Zealand’s largest dune fields, which means that we got to go for a little explore around them. My geography loving brain was in heaven – exploring coastal processes and landforms on the back of a horse was such a treat for me. Having L and the dogs explore besides us was hands down the best date ever, even if nobody else appreciated the geography in the situation haha.
I was dragged away from my explorations we’d done exploring, it was time for a little cardio on the sand.
(I wish I had the technological skills to have all of the above photos equally square and in a visually pleasing grid – alas, my talents don’t stretch to HTML!)
I was so blown away, in a good way, with Oscar’s behaviour on the sand. We cantered around for a while meandering between bits of driftwood, and even jumped over a few of the more solid and safe looking pieces. Despite being on his own out on the coast (during movie making he was amongst five other horses at all times), he never once tried to bolt back home or get strong or snarky to pull up.
We had a short gallop both heading out to the coast and heading back home, and even when we picked up a bit of speed going back towards the float he was easy to slow down and halt. He might be a bit of a spookster but on the whole he’s just such a cruisey horse. I haven’t had an opportunity to gallop him literally in years!- and it was something I definitely wanted to do before our first event.
Once I had finished riding, L and I tried to get a photo with Oscar and the dogs. It proved to be way too difficult, and despite the estuary being super handy for riding when the tide is in – it’s not very picturesque. The day was overcast and pretty grey, so we just walked back to the float where we had two cold drinks and a bag of doritos waiting. Such a great day!