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St. Pete's C Ponies Brings Travelers On an Equestrian Aquatic Adventure

By Elisha Neubauer

If you've ever watched a romance movie montage where they are riding horses through the rolling surf on the beach at sunset and thought to yourself, "Hey, I'd like to do that"?well, now you can. C Ponies, a unique venture in Saint Petersburg, Florida, offers horseback riding adventures on the beach for those curious enough to give it a shot. An equestrian aquatic adventure, as their website calls it, is a sure-fire way to remember your visit to the beach in a way not many others can.

How does one get the idea to start such an interesting venture, though? Carmen Hanson, Owner of C Ponies, sat down with us to fill us in on how this idea came to life.

"Growing up in Florida, as kids we always took our ponies swimming during the hot summer months," Hanson details. "It was always such a great fun experience." As she grew up, Hanson had her own training and show stables and often ran summer camps to supplement income during the slower seasons. "The last day of camp we would take our horses to the beach," she explained. "The kids loved swimming the horses. People would stop their cars and watch us play with our horses. Many would comment about wanting to do this. That's how I got the idea."

For those first-time riders, Hanson believes experiencing it in the water is a safer, less-scary way of mounting your first horse. "If you have never ridden before, this is a great way to experience a horse in a much slower environment," she states. "It's like us, how fast can you run in the water? This takes a lot of fear away from the first time rider." She continues, saying, "The best thing about riding in the water is if you fall off, which rarely happens, you fall in the water not the hard ground."

For those who enjoy riding frequently, water riding can still be a new and thrilling experience. "The motion of the horse slows down and you can feel the power with every step," Hanson tells us. "Within minutes, the natural sway of the horse and the sound of the water puts you in a Zen kind of mode. Once we teach you how to swim on the horse, relaxation turns into pure exhilaration. They are so fast, the water pushing against you, it kind of feels like riding a flying horse."

One of the most mesmerizing factors behind the popularity of equestrian aquatic riding is the environment. "Riding in the bay let's you see nature in such a different way," Hanson states. "We come across dolphins, stingrays, manatees; we have ridden right beside tons of mullet and some huge snook. The sea life doesn't seem to be afraid of the horses. I love that part. It really is a unique experience."

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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