Channel Your Inner Equestrian with Florida Beach Horses

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Enjoy the thrill of horse skiing at Palma Sola Bay with Florida Beach Horses. Photo by Ava Schultz.

What do you get when you mix one of the most beautiful animals in the world with Florida’s stunning coastline? The answer is Florida Beach Horses, a unique company that specializes in beachside equestrian adventures.

Many people don’t know that horses can swim, and those who make up the herd at Florida Beach Horses swim in the tranquil waters of Palma Sola Bay in Bradenton. “We rescue our horses from all over the country,” says Lead Wrangler Christina Pelletier, “and we have a lot of mixed breeds.” Many of the rescues are draft breed crosses, meaning that they’re larger animals. “Even when our horses retire, they stay with us. We don’t rehome them.” Before booking a ride, visit the company’s website to learn more about each individual horse and its personality. Participants can choose between two ride options, which are also available on select days at sunset during low tide.

The Sand and Surf Ride, designed for ages 3 and up, is ideal for families and younger children. The horses meander down the bay and swim as riders sit in their saddles. Enjoy horse-skiing, in which you hold onto the horse’s tail as it swims ahead, an experience that does not harm the animal. On the sandbar, horse water surfing is also popular and allows riders to stand on the horse in the water without it wearing a saddle. Another favorite activity is the race back in, where the horses run back to the beach from the water. With the low ratio of either one guide for every one or two participants, the Sand and Surf Ride provides extra support for everyone.

Created for ages 10 and up, the Cruise Ride offers a more independent experience. The horses are in the water for the entire duration of the trail ride-like session. Participants get to partake in some of the same activities as the Sand and Surf ride, and will also learn how to swim with their horse on their own. “We are the only place that does these different activities in the water with horses compared to other horseback riding excursions,” adds Pelletier, “and the rides are unique and memorable for families.”

Florida Beach Horses, 8400 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton, floridabeachhorses.com.

Enjoy the thrill of horse skiing at Palma Sola Bay with Florida Beach Horses. Photo by Ava Schultz.

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