San Diego Beach Rides, Wagon Rides and Horse Rentals- Seashore Ride. Photo Credit: San Diego Beach Rides, Wagon Rides and Horse Rentals.
Many people have experienced the pleasure of riding a horse at some point in their life, but few have experienced the sheer delight of riding a horse along a white sandy beach, and even more thrilling, taking a horse for a swim in the ocean. A picturesque 20 minute drive south of Coronado, nestled amongst the Tijuana River Valley Regional Park, and parallel to the southernmost end of Border Field State Park Beach, sits working horse ranch, San Diego Beach Rides, Wagon Rides and Horse Rentals. Owned and operated by childhood sweethearts, Garret and Jessica Winne, San Diego Beach Rides, Wagon Rides and Horse Rentals offers guided trail rides, hand-led pony rides, lessons, camps, wagon rides, horse boarding, and more.
For those seeking adventure, San Diego Beach Rides offers patrons a Seashore Ride, which involves riding west, through the Tijuana River Valley and onto the beach, where the ride continues along the seashore on the only beach in San Diego where horse riding is permitted! Prices start at $90 for a two-hour seashore ride and $130 for three hours. For those seeking a greater thrill, San Diego Beach Rides offers a Swim Adventure, which allows you to ride your horse into the ocean, up to its chest. This unique experience costs $150 for a three-hour ride.
If the notion of riding a horse for two or more hours is so daunting that your backside aches at the mere thought of it, San Diego Beach Rides offers a shorter Riverbed Ride through the Tijuana River Valley. Prices start at $50 for a one-hour ride and $70 for a one-and-a-half hour ride. My sister-in-law and I, both seasoned riders, enjoyed a relaxing one hour riverbed ride, led by our delightful guide, Veronica, who happily chatted to us about the ranch, the surrounding area, and of course, our favorite subject — horses.
San Diego Beach Ride’s offers a selection of other trail rides; the Top of the World Ride takes patrons to the southernmost part of California atop the Grand Mesa. On an clear day, you can see as far as Coronado and beyond; prices start at $100 for a two hour ride. For the romantic at heart, Sunset Beach rides are available. However, bear in mind that the sun does not set while you are on the beach, but on the ride home. This prevents patrons from having to ride home in the dark. Prices start at $100 for two hours and 15 minutes. Bookings are essential for all trail rides.
Cantering and galloping the horses is not permitted at San Diego Beach Rides, though you’ll be hard pressed to find any trail riding facility that does permit them these days. When riding in a group, for safety of everyone, the ride is tailored to the least experienced rider. Trotting is permitted on trail rides, however it is up to the guide’s discretion to determine the experience levels of each rider. As someone who has worked as a trail riding guide in Australia, teaching a group of inexperienced riders to attempt their first posting (standing) trot can be comical, so it is wise for beginner riders interested in learning to trot to come armed with “broad shoulders” and be aware there may be moments where you feel completely and utterly uncoordinated. However, the moment you finally master a proper posting trot is a real buzz, not unlike successfully mastering a tricky dance move.
Hand-led pony led rides are available on a walk-in basis, and are ideal for little children and inexperienced or nervous riders. Priced at $20 for a fifteen minute walk, the cost (and length) seems reasonable for introducing a first-time rider to horses. Fifteen minutes may not sound like a long time, but it is ample time for little children to have an enjoyable experience. My two boys, aged two and four years, have experienced the hand-led pony rides at San Diego Beach Rides on two occasions, and enjoyed themselves immensely. Afterwards, we were welcomed by staff to walk through the property to pet the horses and view young foals (an absolute highlight). The ranch also has a menagerie of other farm animals, including a camel, that everyone can enjoy seeing. On both occasions my boys had so much fun they refused to leave the ranch, requiring much negotiation on my part to persuade them to return to our car sans a major public meltdown.
Riding lessons are available for children and adults in English and western equitation, including working cow and ranch horse lessons; dressage and vaulting lessons. The first lesson is free when you purchase a package of four lessons. A private half hour lesson is $40 and an hour lesson is $60.
What is vaulting?
Vauting is a unique style of riding that combines gymnastics and dance on horseback! Vaulting lessons are taught by registered instructor, Veronica Turner, a national champion who has also competed at an international level. Turner is also a veteran performer of Cavalia, a highly revered and spectacular equestrian performance production, incorporating vaulting and trick riding. Vaulting instructors are not exactly a dime a dozen, so it is fortunate to have one located in such close proximity to Coronado. Turner toured with Cavalia from 2009 until 2011, before settling in San Diego with her beloved horse, Charlie whom she uses for vaulting lessons at San Beach Rides. Vaulting lessons are $50 drop-in rate or $160 monthly.
San Diego Beach Rides, Wagon Rides and Horse Rentals typically has 20-30 horses available, depending on the season, “We do not use all of our horses at one time, we give them seasonal breaks so they do not get burned out,” says Winne.
For nervous or first time riders, Jessica Winne offers the following advice: “Just be relaxed. Our horses take care of first-time riders on a regular basis and are very kind. We raise a lot of our horses and every new horse is put through a rigorous screening program to make sure they have the temperament suitable for a trail riding horse. Our rides are private and there is always a guide with you at all times to answer your questions or even lead your horse if that is what the rider desires.”
San Diego Beach Rides, Wagon Rides and Horse Rentals can be contacted at 619-947-3152, or visit their website for more information at happytrailssandiego.com .