Horseback riding vacations will continue in Half Moon Bay, California

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Nancy Mooers Brown & Pampa on a horseback riding vacation in Point Reyes

Nancy Mooers Brown & Pampa on a horseback riding vacation in Point Reyes

I could smell the ocean before I could hear it or see it. Like a hunting dog sniffing the air to catch a scent, I took a deep breath of the cold, salt air as we rounded the trees and took in the excitement of the moment.

My friend, who was old enough to drive, and fortunate to have her own trailer, had offered to take me and my horse to the Point Reyes National Seashore. This would be our first and only time riding on the beach and I remember the experience like it was yesterday.

Back in the Day – 1977

It was back in the late seventies, when I was a foot loose and fancy free teenager. My only care in the world was planning my next horseback riding vacation. My friend and I had taken the day to trailer to Olema, California for a day of horseback riding in the forested mountain tops down to the crashing Pacific Ocean below. When we finally reached the beach, the horses were a bit skeptical. I’d been told not to let them stand facing the waves or they might start swaying with the rhythmic motion of the ocean and tip over. Is this a wives tale?

Half Moon Bay City Council to restrict beach access to horse riders?

Fast forward to a  November, 2009  City Council meeting taking place in Half Moon Bay, California. A portion of the meeting was devoted to restricting beach access to horse riders at Poplar Beach. Cowboy hats and boots filled the standing-room audience  that evening to refute the perception that horseback riding on the beach created an accident hazard and that horses were the main cause of litter on the public beach.

Good news beach riding, equitrekking horse lovers. The City Council unanimously voted to disregard a proposed ordinance that would have restricted riding access to a 20-foot corridor at Poplar Beach. While the ordinance would have applied only to rental horses from two local riding facilities, private horse owners were showing their support to Willa Chapman, owner of both equestrian ranches.

Horses are permitted on another beach south of Poplar Beach, yet few other beaches on the coast and no state beaches allow equestrian access. I’m glad that horse lovers showed their support for Chapman, her Sea Horse Ranch and Friendly Acres, the only riding ranches in Half Moon Bay, California.

California Horseback Riding Vacations with Beach Access

Off hand, I can only think of four places in Northern California where the public can ride horses on the beach.


Ricochet Ridge Ranch Horseback Riding Vacation

Ricochet Ridge Ranch Horseback Riding Vacation



Ricochet Ridge Ranch

Five Brooks Ranch

Sea Horse Ranch & Friendly Acres

Pebble Beach Equestrian Center

Who am I missing?

Related Posts:

Ricochet Ridge Ranch, Ft. Bragg, California

2017-06-27T11:45:31+00:00 November 25th, 2009|Horse News, Horse Ranches & Equestrian Centers|


  1. Anne H November 25, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    I did horseback riding on the Mendocino coast a number of years back, maybe 10. Not sure of the firm, but found them through Elaine at the Elk Cove Inn. She probably remembers the company name.

  2. […] through fruit orchards, vineyards, rolling hills, forests and miles of open space, the times of running horses on the beach and trotting on dirt bridle paths are becoming fewer and farther in between.  With that in mind, I […]

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