Have fun on the beach this winter with the help of a horse

spalisin@thesunnews.comJanuary 23, 2013 

  • If you go – outside for fun this winter Hobcaw Barony, The Belle W. Baruch Foundation Where | on U.S. 17 just north of Georgetown, but south of DeBordieu Colony What | Programs across 17,500 acres include: • Barony tours, including a stop in Hobcaw House, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Tuesdays-Fridays, for $20. “Trail Ride with Your Own Horse,” 9 a.m.-4 p.m. March 9, for $25 per person, including $10 nonrefundable down payment due with registration and waiver forms due Feb. 27. • “Hobcaw Hayride,” including a mini hike and children’s games and activities, 2-5 p.m. Saturday, for $20 per person or $50 family. • “Dinner and a Camp-FIRE,” including fire education and a hot dog and marshmallow roast, 4-6:30 p.m. Feb. 9, for $15. • “Hobcaw Birding Tours,” for ages 14 and older, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. on third Saturday monthly, including Feb. 16 and march 16, for $30 each – register for this program by Monday beforehand at www.georgetowncountysc.org/parks/default.html or call 545-3333 by the day before the tour; more details at 933-1372. • “Voices of the Villages,” covering four former slave villages, 1-4 p.m. Feb. 16, for $25. • “Strawberry Schoolhouse,” in a former one-room school, 1-4 p.m. Feb. 28, for $20. • “Saturday Tour of Hobcaw Barony,” 1-4 p.m. March 9, for $20. • “Backyard Habitat,” covering how to feed backyard wildlife and green gardening, 10 a.m.-noon March 12, for $15. • “Birding for Beginners Course,” including a field guide and bird-song CD, 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, March 12-April 2, for $75. • “Belle Baruch: The Farmer,” for Women’s History Month, covering how Bernard Baruch’s daughter relished life on a working farm, 2-5 p.m. March 20, for $20. Information | Register for all programs at 546-4623 More details | www.hobcawbarony.org or www.northinlet.sc.edu Brookgreen Gardens Where | on U.S. 17, between Murrells Inlet and Litchfield Beach, across from Huntington Beach State Park Open daily | 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. How much | Tickets last seven days: $14 ages 13-64, $12 ages 65 and older, and $7 ages 4-12. What | Programs include, with respective extra fees: • “Silent Cities” two-hour cemetery tours on a Trekker – noon and 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays through February, for $15. Reservations suggested at 235-6042. • “The Oaks Plantation History and Nature Trail” self-guided walking tour, with access by minibus only, departing hourly noon-3 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays through March 1, for $3 Also | Some inside activities: • Children’s Discovery Room, noon-4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through March 3, then daily into summer • “Faces of Clay, Echoes of Africa,” 1 p.m. Saturday, with Mark Newell and April Hynes giving information about the descendants of passengers on The Wanderer slave ship from Africa who began who began producing face jug pottery; free with admission. • “Winter Tea Parties,” 3:30 and 4 p.m. seatings on Saturdays in February, for $23 members, otherwise $30. Reservations required at 235-6016. • Cooking demonstrations 3 p.m. Feb. 6 and 20, each $20 members, otherwise $25. Reservations required at 235-6016. •  “Frogwatch Training,” Feb. 7. Reservations required at 235-6016. • “Dirt ’N Details” horticulture lecture, noon-1 p.m. Feb. 12. • “Down by the Riverside and Other Spirituals,” with Ron Daise, 1-1:50 p.m. Feb. 20 and 27. • “Becoming Harriet Tubman,” with Natalie Daise, 1 and 3 p.m. Feb. 23; free with admission, but reservations required at 235-6016. Information | 235-6000, 800-849-1931 or www.brookgreen.org Huntington Beach State Park Where | on U.S. 17, between Murrells Inlet and Litchfield Beach, across from Brookgreen Gardens Open daily | 6 a.m.-6 p.m. daily through March 11, then 6 a.m.-10 p.m. through late November for Eastern daylight saving time What | Programs include: • “Feeding Frenzy,” 11-11:30 a.m. Tuesdays-Sundays in Huntington Beach State Park’s education center, where its various animals – such as a stingray, horseshoe crab and turtles – will be fed, free with admission. • Atalaya, self-guided tours 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily for $2 ages 6 and older, otherwise free; audio tours lasting 45 minutes for $4 extra; guided tours resume in March with this schedule through May: 2-3 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, and noon-1 p.m. Saturdays. • “Coastal Kayaking,” 10 a.m.-noon Mondays resuming March 4, for $35, with reservations due at 235-8755 by 4 p.m. the previous Sunday. • ”Coastal Birding,” 10-11 a.m. Wednesdays, resuming March 8, free with admission. • Annual “Wildlife in History” Day, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. March 16, including raptor demonstration by Center for Birds of Prey of Awendaw at 1 p.m.; free with admission. “Fun and Fitness in February” programs | Most free with admission: • “Crossfit,” with Crossfit Vengeance, 9-10 a.m. Feb.2 • “Bike Tour with a Ranger,” 10 a.m.-noon Feb. 6, 14 and 22 • “Hike with a Ranger,” 3-4:30 p.m. Feb. 7, 21 and 28 • “Roller Blading,” 2.5 miles with Stan Dowicyan, professional speed skater, 2-3:30 p.m. Feb. 8 • “Yoga in Atalaya Courtyard,” with Maribeth Mackenzie of Inlet Yoga, 1-2 p.m. Feb. 9, for $2 • “Two-mile Run with a Ranger,” 11-11:30 a.m. Feb. 13 • “Cycling,” 10 miles with Stan Dowicyan, 2-3:30 p.m. Feb. 15 • “Beach Walk and Shell Craft,” with Grand Strand Shell Club, 1-3 p.m. Feb. 16 • “5K-Run with a Ranger,” 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 20 and 27 • ”Photography Workshop,” with Phil Lanoue, 4-5 p.m. Feb. 23. Information | 235-8755 education center, 237-4440 main office, or www.southcarolinaparks.com/huntingtonbeach/ Myrtle Beach State Park Where | on South Kings Highway, one mile south of Myrtle Beach International Airport, across from Seagate Village Open daily | 6 a.m.-8 p.m. through February, then 6 a.m.-10 p.m. through November How much | $5 ages 16 and older, $3.25 S.C. seniors, $3 ages 6-15. What | Programs include: • Nature center, open 1-4:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, but not Feb. 2, 7 and 28, and March 1 and 22; free with admission. • “ ‘Sea’ ” what’s on the Menu,” 3-3:10 p.m. Saturdays through Feb. 23 – but not Feb. 2 – in nature center, where a volunteer will feed the fish in saltwater aquariums; free with admission. • The park’s inaugural “Amazing Race,” 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. March 2, for six miles in a friendly competition to answer questions about nature, complete challenges and solve puzzles. Twenty teams of two must include at least someone 18 or older, and no one younger than 12. Registration for $30 per team due Feb. 15 at 238-0874. Also | Beach access for horseback riding allowed daily from third Saturday in November through February, with $25 permit per horse, plus admission. Riders also must possess current Negative Coggins papers for each horse brought into the park, per state law. Information | 238-0874 nature center, 238-5325 office, and www.myrtlebeachsp.com

Winter provides a great time for horsin’ around outside – really, in the saddle.

Horseback riding on the beach or forest trails at this time of year, with some crispy chilly days, might give as much zip to the horse as the person holding the reins.

By 11 a.m. Sunday, five trailers with horses had been driven into Myrtle Beach State Park, which allows horseback riding on the beach daily only from later November through February.

Richard “Buster” Ray, owner of Horseback Riding of Myrtle Beach (997-1876 or wwwmyrtlebeachhorserides.com), brought six horses for three 90-minute guided rides Sunday, each covering about two miles. Titmice and cardinals sang as he saddled up Merlin, an 18-year-old, brown and cream imported Dutch warmblood.

Around his trailer area, the rest of the herd for this day awaited their tack: appaloosas Charlie Brown, 12, and Cocoa, 16; quarterhorses Jake, 8 and Moby, about 14; and Ray’s ride, a Tennessee walker, Mr. Dan, 16.

Ray said with 15 horses at home, none goes for rides more than three days a week, so every equine stays fresh.

Taking them out in this season, May said, “it’s different than the rest of the year.”

He said he sees “two dreams in one” come true with horses on the beach, especially for women, and seeing dolphins in the ocean on almost every ride brings a bonus.

Ray sees horses as “so big to be so gentle,” and “they don’t ask for anything in return.”

Here just for horses

Linda Carvell of Kincardine, Ontario, along Lake Huron, about a four-hour drive northeast of Detroit, said she spends a month every winter camping at Myrtle Beach State Park solely to go horse riding on the beach.

Unable to haul her horses from home for vacations, which would mean boarding them elsewhere, the retired municipal accountant delights in borrowing rides through May’s service, as provided by Merlin to start her Sunday.

The waves and seaside aroma always leave her awestruck, Carvell said, standing in brown and pink cowboy boots as she brushed Merlin’s tail.

The exercise from horse riding also works every part of the body, she said, comparing the balance one has to keep to that of a boat, because swaying and turning, and adjusting to slight angles, comes with the hoofbeats.

She laughed at how a ride on the beach, which might be the first time for some people in the saddle, contrasts so much from her debut mount as a child, to “get on and hold on,” as she helped bridle Jake, easing the bit into his mouth gently.

As each person in the party mounted his or her horse, Ray was last to hop on, and the six-rider caravan was on its way down the beach. He also had advised the group to ride with their feet out, “for good posture and to sit up straight.”

Carvell’s husband, Steve, a retired tool and dye designer for Volvo, goes fishing off the park pier when Linda Carvell goes riding. After he helped with ensuring other riders’ stirrups were the right length and the riders departed, he tidied up outside May’s trailer.

Spending a month at the park, thanks to its’ “Snowbird Coastal 30-Day Camping” special with 50 percent discounts for campers at the S.C. coastal parks, the Carvells will move on to another state park next, he said, grateful for another typical sunny day in winter on the Grand Strand.

“If it’s over 50 degrees, we’re as happy as can be,” Steve Carvell said.

Rendezvous with rescues

Another trailer pulled in, this from LEARN (Livestock and Equine Awareness and Rescue Network) Horse Rescue, a nonprofit based in Ravenel (991-4879 or www.learnhorserescue.com). Their herd for the day, all rescues, comprised an appaloosa and appaloosa mule, as well as a spotted saddlehorse, pony of the Americas and a quarter pony.

Elizabeth Steed from LEARN said she and a group make the two-hour drive from southwest of Charleston twice a month to Myrtle Beach State Park for rides, blending love of horses and the beach.

“It’s a perfect combination,” she said, calling the experience heavenly from the scenery, .

Every time they hit the sand, many beachgoers “run up to us,” Steed said.

Avery Allen, 17, was about to make her first-ever beach ride.

“This is our pilgrimage to a beautiful place,” she said. “It’s going to be the greatest day ever.”

Steed said hopping on a horse at the beach with husband Kelly and bringing friends, they make up a family for the trip.

“We’re not related,” she said, “but we have horses as our common denominator.”

Kelly Steed said they have found many state parks along the East Coast friendly and inexpensive for this “quality time” they share when camping in winter, when they trade television and radio for board games as another pastime.

Hoofbeats on the barony

Hobcaw Barony, just north of Georgetown, has offered “Trail Riding with Your Own Horse” for about five years, said Richard Camlin, senior interpreter at the estate owned and managed by the Belle W. Baruch Foundation, named after its international champion equestrian.

The trail riding is spread in cooler, shoulder seasons, with two dates in spring and autumn each, with registration under way for the next outing, March 9.

Camlin said interest in touring by horseback across the 17,500-acre, historic property with multiple habitats such as forest and marine keeps growing.

Hobcaw also has begun letting groups tour the barony, by invitation, on an “interpretive trail ride,” Camlin said, where a guide will lead a group on horseback, and they board their horses and camp on site.

Working in this kind of tour from the typical round of using a bus and getting out periodically for walks has Camlin expanding his embrace of the land where he lives and the appreciation for how settlers before the 20th century and the automobile age traveled.

“You know you can’t ride a horse six hours a day, two days in a row,” he said, explaining how he and Hobcaw colleagues will build up to this new challenge.

Still, it’s all fun for Camlin, and he sees going slowly on four legs, compared with cruising on four wheels, affording chances to see wildlife otherwise missed from a car or van.

“It’s a neat way to see the property,” he said. “Everyone who has done it loves it.”

Contact STEVE PALISIN at 444-1764.

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