Wednesday, 17 August 2016

On my bucket list

Fancy a completely magical evening. There is something very satisfying and exhilarating being out on a horse in the dark on the beach whilst the town is sleeping. Because we have to obey the moon and the tides we are often riding as late as midnight. We ride with lights down to the beach but then turn them off to let our horse and our own night vision kick in. It’s often brighter than you imagine with the full moon reflecting off the water on the beach. When we get back to the yard we have a hot chocolate and put the horses back to bed. This ride is only for very experienced riders and only 2 riders per moon.
Many years ago, I rode freely, bareback, on a horse in the Jamaican sea. It was an incredible feeling, one which I'll never forget. I held onto the mane (no reins/saddle) as the force of the water lifted my legs from the horse as it swam. It was the most freeing, alive feeling that I've ever experienced. I was in another time/place where anything became possible. I imagined this was how it felt to live in days of no cars, no urban cities, where life was about soaking in all of the beauty around us. It truly felt sacred and was my inspiration for parts of a book that I will be writing called 'The Butterfly Bridge'. 
Below is information from the Cornish site that offers horse riding in the sea and delicious moonlight rides. Website HERE
Swimming with horses is a unique and unusual experience, at once exciting, beautiful, mystical, therapeutic and fun.
The Cornwall Swimming Horses live as a herd in the beautiful rambling fields and woodlands that overlook Mounts Bay and surround ‘The Peep Out Stables’. We swim in the sea from the beach at Long Rock with the iconic and stunning St Michael’s Mount as the backdrop.
Who is it for?
Beginners, speak of the sheer enjoyment of riding a horse without the fear of falling off. Falling off in the sea is just another way to have fun and build confidence. Experienced riders have been amazed at the behaviour and manners of our ‘Swimming Horses’ as they ride bareback to the beach. They enjoy the swimming then move on to circus-style antics, standing on horseback, riding two horses at a time, with the sea as their safety net.  Special needs riders and those suffering with long term illnesses, have benefited from the therapeutic impact of swimming alongside these amazing sentient animals. We can tailor the experience to be as gentle as required. Families can take advantage of our Family Friendly Swims. This provides 2 horses for 4 people and the whole family get to share their swimming horses, sometimes riding 2 up in the sea, sometimes having fun with tail towing.
The ‘Swimming with Horses’ experience is also a winner for special occasions. Last year we had 2 proposals on horseback, many a young girls dream birthday present, surprise anniversary events and a 70th Birthday celebration swim.
What Happens?
During the booking process, we find out what riding abilities you have and what sort of swim you are after. Once you arrive at The Peep Out, we get to chat more and really tailor the swim to your needs.
The whole experience takes 2 to 3hrs and begins at The Peep Out Yard in Ludgvan. Here you  meet with the CSH team and the Swimming Horses and we chat to ensure we know exactly what kind of experience you are after. CSH gives bareback safety briefing.
You are then introduced to the horse we think most suits you and are given an initial assessment session in the sand school. This is a bareback assessment. Novices will be led.  At the end of this session you can elect to meet your horse down at the beach, if you prefer to swim only. But the bareback ride is such an integral part of the whole experience that all of our clients so far have elected to ride down.
We then head out bareback to the beach. Every rider, regardless of experience will be accompanied by their own CSH handler. On arrival at the beach, your handler takes your mount. CSH gives their horse swimming safety briefing.
You then remove your helmet and footwear and go into the sea separately from your horse. Your handler then brings your horse into the sea. Once the horse is deep enough you re-mount.  We play in the shallows at first until all are acclimatised and settled. Then individuals are led out into deeper water one at a time to experience their first swim. No two swims are then the same. We develop the swim according to the riders abilities, weather and sea conditions, and what feels right on the day to provide the best possible experience.
Or you can teach your own horse to swim with you in the sea.
From the website:
Meet with us in the Peep Out yard. You then tack your horse with one of our specially made Swim Bridles with snap easy safety reins and bareback pad. You then ride your own horse to the beach accompanied by Cornwall Swimming Horse trainer Chris and another swimming horse handler riding one of our swimming horse veterans. This ride settles everyone down and gets the horses used to each others company.
On arriving at the beach, your horse will be led by Chris, who follows an experienced Cornwall Swimming Horse, into the sea, and starts to relax your horse with no pressure of a rider. Depending on how your horse settles the training continues as shown in ‘Training a Swimming Horse’.
As soon as your horse is comfortable, (this may happen in a single session or your horse may need 2 or 3 short sessions,) Chris works with you to develop swimming with your own horse.

Love and light,

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