1. It is fun. 2. It is fabulous. 3. It is free. In all senses of that word. Galloping your horse on a sandy beach. Pretending to be in a film.

Reasons to gallop your horse on the beach
Olivia Reason on her horse, Indie The Appaloosa. Not so much galloping on the beach. But splashing in the sea.
Photo by Keith Pollard

It has been over 30 years since I last galloped a horse on a sandy beach. That is a long time. Until I came across Keith Pollard’s beach photographs I had forgotten how fabulous it is to just GO! To be 100% free. The rush of riding power next to an immense force.

We all need this experience. It is empowering to gallop your horse on a beach. And humbling.

Here Come the Girls!! Galloping their Horses along the Beach!

Olivia Reason (in pink) and Claire Michelle Woodward (in orange/yellow) on their horses Indie The Appaloosa and Moortown Twilight. All set to spend an evening of fun and gallops on the beach at Sandown on the Isle of Wight.

I love evenings like this..the light was low and crisp, perfect!

Photographer, Keith Pollard

Oh! This reminds me of my childhood.

I remember being able to ride on the beach every day if I so desired. I would gallop my horse across the golf course (naughty child!) to meet my friends in the village. Then we would ride through the sand dunes and nature reserve towards the beach. We were like a pack of bandits!

Jumping gorse bushes. Racing boys on their trails bikes. Chasing Mr. Moon, the warden of Kenfig National Nature Reserve. Then galloping off to Sker Beach.

Gallop! Gallop! Gallop!

Where we would gallop even more. Thinking back, our horses must have been very fit.

There was, and might still be, a shipwreck sunk into the sand on the beach. We would jump into it. Then out of it. Like a double fence at a horse show.

Sometimes, when going to the beach, we would wear our swimsuits under our riding clothes. We would put our saddles in the shipwreck. Strip off. Gallop down the beach to the sea. And see how far out into the surf we could ride before it became swimming.

My horse used to enjoy splashing the water with one front leg. Lots of fun. And if you know horses, you know this means they are about to roll in the water. Lots more fun!

We would have races along the beach. My horse, Charlie, did not like to be behind. He liked to win. One friend’s horse was the same.

We would all line up on the beach. Then someone would shout GO! Everyone apart from me and my mate would gallop off.

Our horses would prance and rear. Eager to catch up. Fair play to them, they waited to go until we let them.

And when we let them!! Oh boy!! GALLOP!!!!!!

We would catch up, then overtake the other horses. And gallop all the way to the huge rocky cliff wall at the end.

Gallop your horse on the beach
Claire Michelle Woodward very happy on Twiggle.
Photo by Keith Pollard
Gallop your horse on the beach
Claire Michelle Woodward very happy on Twiggle.
Photo by Keith Pollard

Watching these two young ladies embracing the joy there is in galloping your horse on a beach makes me so happy.

But also a little sad. I live hundreds of miles from a beach, nowadays. So this article is a little vicarious living.

How Can You Possibly Top That Gallop on the Beach?

You can do the same thing. But with 129 other horses!!

Gallop your horse on the beach
130 Horses Galloping on The Beach at Normans Bay
Photo by Nigel Goddard

There was nothing like that gallop!!!! The adrenaline!!!!!!!

Steph Sussex, when I asked what it felt like.

Me: That photograph is incredible. Tell me the story behind it.

Steph: It was a charity beach ride for the Coakham Bloodhounds on Normans Bay beach near Pevensey Bay. There were 130 horses galloping on the beach that evening, and I got the best photo! I have it on my wall at home.

Me: When was this?

Steph: It was 2 September 2019. We took a lorry. There were 5 of us in our group.

Me: And could anybody join in or did you have to be a member of the hunt?

Steph: Most riders are members and hunt staff. I’m not a member but have been out with the bloodhounds a couple of times and I back them for their fundraisers, quizzes, beach rides, fun rides, etc.

Me: And who is that lovely horse you are leading on the beach?

Steph: My horse is called Minty. An Irish Draught darling!!!

Gallop your horse on the beach
Steph Sussex leading her horse, Minty, along the beach at Normans Bay
Photo by Nigel Goddard

I have made the decision to gallop my horse on a beach again before the summer is over. If you live in Europe and want to beach gallop with me, please post the name of your favorite beach into the comments section.