What can be more fun than galloping over the dunes, water splashing around your horse's hooves?

I think most of us equestrians dream of taking our horses to the beach. This doesn't have to stay a dream - there are a number of beaches where you can ride here in the South East of England, and what better than to invite your photographer to come along to capture the day for you to remember! I can help you with all the prep you need, just get in touch for a chat, but I have put together some useful information to think about before heading out to make sure you have a fun day out.

Find the right beach

You are not allowed to ride on all beaches, some of them have restrictions in what time of day you can ride, or the beach might be closed for horse riding during parts of the year. You will also have to take the tide into consideration when choosing the time of your beach ride. Here in the south, the beaches are too stony at high tide - so low tide is really our option. You might not be allowed to ride everywhere on the beach, so you should get updated on what areas are permitted before heading out as it might not be marked out on the beach.

You also need a good car park with enough space for your box or trailer, and enough space to safely unload your horse. If you book a session with me and after arriving at the beach, you can't find anywhere to park safely, we will reschedule to another day free of charge.

Pack everything you need

You don't want to show up to your beach ride without a bridle, so make a pack list and make sure you bring everything you might need as well as a spare bridle and girth. You don't want to have to return home without going on the beach because of a tack malfunction! Also bring something for poo picking. Although it's not mandatory to poo pick after your horse, it is highly recommended to make sure everyone on the beach is having a nice experience.

When doing a beach session together with me, we will go through what kind of experience you are looking for. Just a gorgeous day having beautiful portraits taken with your horse in hand, walking into the sunset or galloping through the water? Depending on this, you might want to either pack your ball gown or something more sensible to ride in.

The breeze by the sea might be colder than you think, so bring a spare set of clothes to leave in your car so you can wrap up warm after your ride.

Make sure you and your horse are fit for the job

If you want to gallop - make sure you and your horse do this at home. Just as when you are out competing, you want your horse to be fit for the job you want them to do, so both of you can enjoy the day out. Before going at faster speeds, walk across the beach to make sure the ground is safe for faster speeds. This is also good for making your horse get used to the surroundings and warm them up.

If your horse hasn't been to the beach before, the open water can be intimidating. The waves might spook your horse and it's better to approach the water at an angle rather than straight on. Bringing a friend can be reassuring for your horse, so why not share the session - I will work out a package for you depending on how many of you want to join.

There is of course no need to gallop or go into the water just because you are going to the beach. It's your day out and you should do what you love.

Check the forecast

The climate by the sea will be different to that more inland, make sure you check the weather forecast the night before heading out so you don't get caught out in rain or gusts.

No matter how sunny the day is or isn't, I will be able to get beautiful photographs of you and your horse - don't worry about that! But I want both you and your horse to enjoy the experience, so in case of too adverse weather (wind or rain), we will reschedule your session to a more suitable day.

After the beach ride

Clean your tack! Salt water is not good for leather or metal which can rust. Where you and your horse will go home and probably look forward to some rest after an exciting day, I will go home and start working on your photos. Within three weeks I will be in touch to schedule your complimentary design consultation to help you decide what photos you wish to keep and which of them you would like to order as prints.

Last summer I photographed a number of beach rides, all of them were great fun. If you are interested in having a beach session with your horse, contact me for a chat about what I can help you with. I take great pride in looking after you from start to finish, this includes finding the right beach and being knowledgeable about when and where to ride on it, help you and your horse have a fun and safe day by the sea and deliver beautiful wall art and photo albums for you to remember the day by.

Two horses and riders walking on the beach
Chestnut warmblooded horse cantering on the beach in front of the sea
White arabian horse walking in the sea
Two horses galloping on the beach
White horse trotting through the water with water splashing