My friend Susie and I entered the beach and immediately the horses were skittish. The wind, the cold, lack of exercise all contributed to the horses feeling antsy.
We headed into the wind and it blew briskly off the water. People and dogs were here and there along the beach despite the cold. We made our way along the beach keeping the horses under control and getting them settled at the walk.
Once the horses felt relaxed we decided to warm up and start to trot. We had only gone a short way when I noticed two golden retrievers in the distance. They noticed us at the same time and started to bolt towards us. I called to my friend Susie and slowed to a walk to give the owners a chance to call back the dogs. The dogs were charging toward us with no intention of stopping. Susie called into the wind, “Call off your dogs!”. The owners seemingly did nothing.
When the dogs got within ten feet, the horses quickly went from alert to alarmed to a panic. Simultaneously both horses whirled around with nervous energy feeding off of each other and need to escape the barking dogs. My horse, Dixie, kicked back at the dogs, skittered ahead and started to rear.
Instincts kicked in… I managed to stay on, keep Dixie under me and move her ahead with all four feet on the ground. I finally could see Susie and she and her horse were still together and back under control.
The dogs had wisely run back to their owners who never called out an apology and made their way down the beach. Susie and I kept on moving thankful we were both in one piece. This was a blip of excitement on an otherwise quiet ride.