Ride a horse on the coast or in the mountains
by Camilla Mortensen
For those of you who have ever dreamed of ambling across the mountains on the back of a surefooted horse (think John Wayne or Brokeback Mountain) or wading through the surf on a long-legged steed as the sun sets over the beach (remember The Black Stallion?), you can get your chance this summer.
Within an hour’s drive of Eugene, there are a couple of places you can saddle up and go for a horseback adventure — even if you don’t have a horse of your own.
Billy Outlaw of C&M Stables in Florence says you can have your pick of guided rides if you want to experience the salty spray of the ocean or wander through the coastal pines on the back of a horse. There’s a “laid back” scenic ride along the dunes of the coast, or you can go for a beach ride and try a little trotting (Warning: Butt-tenderness is a not-uncommon side effect for novice riders after bumping along at the trot).
If you’re a looking for a little romance, C&M offers sunset rides every evening, and if you’re feeling tough enough for long hours in the saddle, there’s the half-day dune and beach ride.
No worries if the closest you’ve been to a horse is a ride on a merry-go-round. Just follow the first rule of riding: Keep the horse between you and the ground. Outlaw says, “We can accommodate all riders,” so inexperience is not a problem. In fact, the dune ride allows children as young as six, and the beach ride allows 8-year-olds. Riders under the age of 18 are required to wear helmets, which C&M can supply.
If you do have some horsie know-how, then the morning adventure ride is the one for you. This group is for advanced riders and will let you walk, trot and canter down the beach.
The C&M horses come in every size, shape and variety, suitable for wanna-be cowboys and girls from beginners to advanced. You might find yourself on a mustang, quarter horse or a spotted appaloosa. “Ain’t too many breeds we don’t have,” says Outlaw.
Wear long pants, preferably not sweatpants, which are “kinda slick in the saddle,” according to Outlaw, and bring a sweatshirt for the cool wind on the beach. You may even want to bring along some gloves to keep your hands warm on the reins. Summer days on the coast in Oregon can be chilly! Shoes should have a “grippy sole,” he says. You don’t have to have boots, but slides and slip-ons are not OK.
If you want to experience your equine adventure a little closer to home, check out Triangle 5 Ranch, just outside Walterville on Hwy 126. The ranch’s rides go through flat fields, forested slopes and oak groves in the McKenzie River Valley. So give it your best “Yippie-yi-yo-ki-yay,” saddle up and hit the trails!
For more information, prices and information, contact C&M Stables at www.oregonhorsebackriding.com or (541) 997-7540, and Triangle 5 at www.triangle5.com or (541) 747-7039.