Ever since I saw the movie Titanic where Jack says to Rose he’ll one day take her to ride horses on the beach, the image of a guy and a girl galloping off into the sunset has been imprinted into my mind. I loved the idea of a couple doing something few have thought to do. Two people. One shared experience. Love and romance captured.
Over the years I wondered if it was possible to ride horses on the beach here in San Diego. Being a city with plenty of spectacular beaches and tourists, you’d imagine it readily available to engage in this activity. You can ride “ponies” in Rosarito, Mexico and horses at Shelter Island, but a pony is not exactly a horse and Shelter Island is a bay. I’m talking a stretch of coast, crashing waves, open ocean.
Then I heard about a place in Imperial Beach where you can ride actual horses on the beach. I had to see it for myself. After some research, I arrived at Border Field State Park, parked my car, and took out my mini bike and road it on the paved road for 1-2 miles to get to the beach.
It was just me (plus a border agent) and miles of empty beach, not even a single palm tree. I walked along the shore and plopped myself on the sand, sitting on the plastic bag that came with my 5-rolled tacos for an impromptu picnic. South of me was a large flock of seagulls. I waited.
The tide began to recede. And then the first trio of them arrived.
The moment held me in a daze. One of those times I wished I had a girl to enjoy the experience with. It wasn’t just about being at the beach or seeing horses, but the adventure of getting here, the process of discovery. Strolling along a private beach with a girl, I thought. We’d be free to do whatever we wanted to. No towels, no showers, no problem. We’d dip our toes in the water, relax on the plastic take-out bag from Roberto’s, look out into the Coronado Islands, and we’d be happy.
Later, as I walked along the beach, I took a candid photo of a couple.
The guy handed me his camera and I took some photos of him and his girlfriend. I thought of how Jack said to Rose: “We’ll ride horses on the beach, right in the surf.” This image that had been in my mind for so long had come true, vicariously. Fifteen minutes later as I was leaving, I caught a final shot of the lovebirds heading off into the horizon.
Check out http://www.happytrails-usa.com/beach.htm if you’re interested in renting horses to ride on the beach in San Diego.