Beach outing for trail riders

If you remember being a landlubber amazed at seeing the ocean for the first time, imagine what it would be like for your horse.

Phillip Willcocks rides bareback into the surf, a rare opportunity for a country rider.

Phillip Willcocks rides bareback into the surf, a rare opportunity for a country rider.

“Some of them had eyes as big as saucers,” Border Country Trail Riders’ Vince Sherry said of a group excursion to Cabarita Beach last weekend. While the experience may have been daunting to horses and riders alike who hadn’t enjoyed a beach- or surf-ride before, Mr Sherry said there were experienced group members on hand to support the first-timers.

The group was returning to Cabarita Beach after another successful outing there last year, this time with 13 members loading up their mounts and meeting at the Cabarita Pony Club campgrounds. Mr Sherry said the location was ideal, with stabling, camping facilities and amenities all set up, and the beach across the road. There were also bush tracks for those opting to go inland, and the showground arena for those wanting a more formal workout.

Bruce Petrie, Steve Alford, Philip Willcocks and Jennifer Koch on Cabarita Beach as part of the latest Border Country Trail Riders excursion.

Bruce Petrie, Steve Alford, Philip Willcocks and Jennifer Koch on Cabarita Beach as part of the latest Border Country Trail Riders excursion.

The weekend coincided with a two-day clinic run by Bruce Lee Horsemanship, which several of the Tenterfield members took advantage of. Mr Sherry said many riders wait until the weather cools off in March before attempting too much trail riding, so taking advantage of the sea breezes in February works out well.

He said going up and down the beach resulted in a four or five kilometre ride, with some opting to ride in to the surf. Some of the riders (and horses) were cautious but there were return riders on hand to advise on how to handle the different colours in the sand and shadows in the water, and fortunately there were no incidents to report.

Mr Sherry said it was a great social occasion, and the group plans to return again next February.

In the meantime the next big outing is a weekend ride on April 21-23, out to Four Bull Hut in Washpool National Park.

Details on the Border Country Trail Riders group are available on Facebook and Mr Sherry said new members are always welcome. It is vital, however, to contact him first rather than just show up, for insurance and other organisational reasons.

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