Some days I feel like the luckiest person alive. It really is a blessing to have Canoa beach on our doorstep. It is the longest beach in Ecuador, with 17 kilometres of beautiful golden sand, how lucky is that! Every time you go for a horse ride on the beach, it is different. I have never lived by the beach before and so this is the first time that I have really got to know the beauty and understand the charm.
My favourite days to take a group on a horse riding tour are the overcast and grey days. I love the moody skies and watching the big waves come crashing in. The horses seem to appreciate the shade more and are much more eager to enjoy galloping down the beach and in the shallow water.
When there has been a lot of rain the sea is not the usual bright blue or turquoise colour, a lot of the orange and red soils are washed down from the hills and the sea looks much more opaque and dark, again adding to the moody feel of the beach.
With the rain brought down from the hills, there is more treasure to be found on the beach. It is much easier to find beach plunder from horseback; you can cover a lot more ground more quickly! It is possible to find pottery artifacts, pieces of bowls, plates and statues from the ancient civilizations that made their homes in the hills surrounding Canoa and Bahia. Sometimes it is possible to find an entire statue that any museum would envy. We have not been quite that lucky yet.
The horses enjoy the freedom that the beach brings; there is nowhere else that they can let their spirits run free quite as well as the beach, it is possible to gallop for as long as they and their riders want to, with the wind rushing past and the water splashing up onto your legs. There is nothing I know that is quite as exhilarating. Drift wood that has washed up on shore brings opportunities to jump for those that enjoy a little excitement.
Wildlife spotting always seems to be better on the more overcast days. I am always amazed to see the pelicans flying past, it seems so improbable that they could fly so elegantly, yet they manage, scooping up the water into their beaks as they dip down. There is always plenty of birdlife to see, especially at the southern end of the beach where there is an inland pool of water and the sea birds gather there to eat the small fish in the shallows. On my favourite horse tour to date, we even spotted a whale in the distance, what an amazing experience from horseback. We are almost at that time of year once again, so fingers crossed for more lucky sightings and findings on the beach, which is of course, best from horseback!