I did not spend a day at the beach this summer. For some that may be normal, but it is an anomaly for me. I grew up (and still live) on the coast of Massachusetts. Summers mean impatiently sitting in traffic, the briny scent lobster and fried clams, and always having a bit of sand in your shoes. As New Englanders, the feet of snow drifts make our beach days that much sweeter. It is the yin and the yang of life up north.

But, this summer was my first summer as a real adult. In May I graduated from college, and I immediately hit the ground running helping my mom run our family (equestrian) business. The summer sizzled past. I was moving so fast between caring for the horses at home and competitions on the weekends I didn’t realize it had all but gone. I get so caught up in competing that other important parts of me get lost in the shuffle. Whether your a professional or an amateur the competitive horse-life can at times swallow you whole.

Now it’s that lazy time between Thanksgiving and New Years. As a friend joked to me the other day, this time of year everyone only has energy for shopping. This may be the only time where almost every rider can take a break. My horses have more days off built into their schedule, spend more time in the long lines, and take field trips to the beach. Yes, the beach. From October 1 to March 31 we can ride on Crane’s Beach in Ipswich, MA. It may have taken until after Thanksgiving for me to actually get there, but on Monday I did.

I trotted in the surf up to Stewie’s belly. We chased seagulls on our homebred Mormbloods. We cantered alongshore for what felt like hours. And most of the time it was just us–horses, sand, and surf. Two little girls in the trailer next to us had just finished their first beach ride. “Oh my goodness,” I overheard one say, “that was the most fun ever!” I felt just like that little girl, and in that ride I could be a beach bum New Englander again. Even if I was wearing two goose-down jackets, a down vest, and a wind breaker.

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