Horses and beaches go great together

The two-day Long Beach Rodeo in July is nationally sanctioned and attended by top competitors. Above, a local girl competes in the barrel-race. TIMM COLLINS photo

A salty wind bows the dune grasses. Breakers crash powerfully on shore. An orange glow casts across the sky as the sun sinks slowly beneath the horizon. Twenty-six miles of uninterrupted sand stretch out ahead.

With daily scenes like this, it's easy to see why the Long Beach Peninsula is the perfect place to ride off into the sunset. And many do.

For those who do not own horses

There are many opportunities for those who do not own horses to enjoy an occasional ride on the beach. Located on the 10th Street beach approach, there are two businesses which conduct their own guided tours.

On these tours, the horses are provided along with a trained professional who leads each group and can assist in the rare case of an emergency.

Although many are disappointed that they must be accompanied by a guide on such tours, the premise behind it is good.

The beach, like horses themselves, can often be unpredictable. As almost every local horseman knows, "You never ride alone at the beach."

For those who do own horses

For those who do own horses, you will quickly find that there is no better friend with which to explore the beach than your four-legged equine companion. Beware of initial spookiness, though. Many locals find that their horses are a little wary of the roaring ocean and the colorful kites.

However, after one time, the horses seem to settle in as much as their riders and enjoy the open stretches of land before them.

The only thing to keep in mind is that there is only one Long Beach approach open to the use of horseback riders-10th Street. It is just as well that 10th Street is the only open approach, for this is the street that leads to the two stabling establishments in the area.

Just a couple miles down 10th Street, and a jig to the left, are the only two places to board horses in the area at present, Peninsula Saddle Club's Rodeo Grounds and the Red Barn Arena.

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