This week tho! It has been full of incredible highs and lows. I just got back from the Foxcatcher Endurance ride in Elkton, MD. Yes, I drove all the way from northern NC to northern Maryland for an LD (and hopefully I’ll be doing it again next year!) I’m going to hammer out a post on that while it’s still fresh in my mind, but FIRST, media dump! (For my own benefit more than anything else!)
Because 2 weeks ago, I got to fulfill every equestrian’s dream – riding on the beach!
To back up Cape Hatteras is my favorite beach (and one of my favorite places) on earth. I have lived in Maine and I’ve also been to Myrtle beach, and a few beaches in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. But none match the wild beauty of the OBX. I have known for a little while that one can ride there, but the opportunity to do so never presented itself.
A couple weeks ago, however, I got it into my head that I was really, really missing the Atlantic. I haven’t been to the Cape in 2 years. On a whim, I decided to look up places you can camp with your horses on the obx. Turns out, there is only one. Driftwood Ranch offers self-care overnight boarding for your horse (you must find other accommodations for yourself). Fortunately Frisco Woods Campground is only a mile away.
As I’ve mentioned, it’s hard for my boyfriend to get weekends off to watch our son, and if he does he has to work 7 days straight afterwards. However, his regularly scheduled days off are every Monday and Tuesday. (More on that in my next post). Ashley works during the week but my sister is often off and I haven’t ridden with her in a while. On a whim I checked to see if she was available, and she was!
I’ve mentioned before that my sister recently completed BLET (Basic Law Enforcement Training) and is now working for the Sheriff’s Department the next county over. It should be noted that this department (and the sheriff) has something of a reputation. In fact they have had a DOJ (Department of Justice) lawsuit/investigation pending against them for YEARS now. Yeah, that’s how bad it is. My Dad and I weren’t thrilled to learn she was going to be working for them, but we put our feelings aside. Cuz, ya know. Family is family. We stick by each other.
That being said, my sister has changed a lot in the past few months. We used to be really close. But lately she acts like I don’t even exist, and when I do see her, she has little to say to me. However, I was hoping we could put all that behind us and the sun and the wind and the horses would somehow magically change all that – and it would be just like old times.
It was wishful thinking, unfortunately, that did not translate to real life. Have you ever tried driving 6 hours with someone in complete silence? Awkward, right? I tried to strike up a conversation on multiple occasions but her words were short and few. Sometimes she did not reply at all.
We arrived around 2:30pm (having left at 8am). We unloaded the horses and got them situated, before pulling around the turnabout and unhooking the trailer. We had to put the truck in 4-wheel drive to do so. It was a tight squeeze and I barely made it, having midjudged the amount of space available to me and not swinging wide enough on my initial approach. Thankfully I am pretty good at backing the trailer and made it with a little finagling. (Still, I don’t know how people with bigger trailers manage it!)
We headed back to the barn, and spent a little time chilling at picnic table. When we arrived, our host asked that we wait until the group ride from Equine Adventures got back from their last tour of the day. It seems if riders meet on the single track leading to the beach, it can cause problems for the beginner riders. I had no problem waiting as I wanted to give the horses a rest after the 6 hr drive anyway. But my sister was restless.
Finally the guided tour got back, and we saddled up ourselves. The sand leading to the beach had me a little worried. It was quite deep in some places and I could only pray Pearl wouldn’t step wrong and pull or tweak something that would lame her before our next AERC ride in a week!
The horses were a little suspicious of the waves at first. Incidentally I got Pearl to enter the water by riding her in with her blind side to the waves lol. Justice followed her lead, and they were both fine after that.
After a good gallop and an hour or so of riding, we spotted the Frisco Pier ahead. I LOVE old decaying things, and just had to get some pictures by it.
As a side note, if YOU want photos with this pier (ahem, Saiph?!) you’d better go soon. The Frisco Pier is set to be demolished this year. I didn’t even know until I googled it later.
(In the above video we are laughing because Justice JUMPED at a wave that splashed up over a sand bank. It’s so unlike him to spook, it’s amusing when he does.)
My sister isn’t nearly as big into media as me. I think I drove her nuts with my constant “Here – take a photo!!”
Toward the end of the day the light turned soft and beautiful, illuminating the waves in a pinkish glow.
I would’ve liked to play in this light a little more but my sister was getting cold, so we decided to head back.
That night we went out for local seafood. Because it was the off season a lot of places were closed, so we settled for the nearest open restaurant we could find. Turns out, it was pretty good!
I slept really good in the cot that night (save for my back aching, but this was completely unrelated – I’d tweaked it lifting my baby and carrier into the truck earlier in the week).
Personally, I would’ve liked to rise before dawn in order to get out and see the sunrise. But my sister wanted to sleep in a little. So it was around 9am before we got back to the barn and tacked up again.
Pearl was acting very buddy sour on this trip, which is uncharacteristic for her. She started throwing all-out tantrums when Justice got more than a few feet away, so I ended up riding her firmly away from him several times to get her mind back on me. She thought I was positively evil.
Goodbye beach! It’s been real. Until next time!
The trail leading to and from the beach these beautiful flowers growing on some sort of vine. Their yellow petals were scattered all over the ground.
The first day Pearl and Justice drank from the water tank, but didn’t show any desire to drink out on the trail. However the second day Pearl made it very clear she was quite thirsty halfway through our ride and I felt horrible because nothing was available except the ocean (which of course she couldn’t drink). My sister suggested I allow her to try the saltwater anyway and I turned to her with a look of complete horror. I didn’t want Pearl getting MORE dehydrated thankyouverymuch. We hoofed it back inland where freshwater flowed over the trail (which you see in one of the videos above). There Pearl drank and drank. But when Justice went to drink my sister kicked him forward, saying something to the effect that the water was too nasty, and took off while Pearl was still drinking. Um, hello?! Love ya sis, but that kinda pissed me off. I know you meant well but my horses, my rules. They drink when they want to, where they want to (unless it’s saltwater, obviously). As a side note, I discovered on this trip just how different the endurance and eventing worlds/viewpoints really are! We had a strong difference of opinion on several topics lol.
Fortunately it wasn’t far back to the barn, where they both tanked up at the water tank. Incidentally the well water there was also tinted a strong yellow, which I pointed out. The horses didn’t mind though.
We headed home shortly after 1pm. Clouds were gathering, as the rain they predicted finally started to move in. There was massive construction on the single highway that runs down the Cape, and we sat for a while in “traffic”.
Just over hours into our drive, we had to stop in Raleigh to pick up the stuff my sister/family hadn’t sold at the recent tack exchange sale. While my sister gathered the stuff, I insisted on unloading the horses and walking them around the fairgrounds. Pearl drank, but Justice only sniffed the water.
And that is how I checked another off the ole bucket list! I am already planning our next visit. Maybe next time, I might bring Pokey!