If your perfect Florida vacation involves horses and the beach, then C Ponies is the vacation for you!
Nestled along the eastern coast of Florida in St. Petersburg, C Ponies has a fleet of horses waiting for both experienced equestrians and horse novices to jump in their saddles. The horse adventures are catered to individual skill levels, so families lacking knowledge or experience don't need to worry about missing out.
Riders sit atop the horses as they travel through the sand and water, allowing vacationers to take in the crystalline waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Tourists make pit stops to collect seashells, too.
Many inland country folk never get the chance to experience riding a horse as it swims seemingly effortlessly through the water. At C Ponies, riders are rewarded with the bonding experience set against a beautiful, natural backdrop. If you're lucky, you might even see dolphins in the distance.
The family-run company is committed to quality care for all of the horses, considering them to be part of the family. The owners want the rider's experience to be more than just a fleeting moment, and so they encourage people to pet and feed the horses. There is a rider and equine meet-and-greet before each ride and time to get to know the horses even more after.
The staff make sure the horses only perform in optimal weather conditions, so the ocean temperature must be a minimum of 70 degrees in order for them to enter the water. But even in cold weather, riders can bundle up and enjoy a beach ride.
The horses are not forced to do anything they do not want to do. Some of the individuals are not fans of swimming, so these horses have other "jobs" with the company.
Equine staff consists mostly of Gypsy Drums, plus a regular Gypsy, Pintaloosa, and Quarter Horse. Gypsy Drums were prominent in England back in the day. Each horse would carry two silver kettle drums and be led through the crowd during the Queen's procession.
The program is a popular tourist attraction in the summer for locals, too. C Ponies recommends booking online to reserve a spot. Rides range from $150 and up. The organization currently has five stars on Trip Advisor.
All images via C Ponies.