Beautiful scenery and horses seem to go hand in hand when it comes to the Central Coast. We are more than blessed to live in an area where rural meets city in such a seamless and incredible way. As a writer and photographer, I am lucky enough to get to see all of the facets of what our “horsey” community has to offer. Here are just a few of the Gems that I’ve come across during my daily Central Coast adventures.
The Oceano Dunes preserve is a breathtaking place to take in the beauty of nature and the ocean, both on foot and on horseback. Much of the area has been fenced off in order to preserve the wildlife, which makes for a nearly untouched paradise.
There is little more poignant than a candid moment caught between a horse and rider. The way that this pretty bay wraps her head around “her girl” gives me goosebumps.
Just down the beach from the Oceano Dunes Preserve, we find Pismo Beach and the incredible rocky coast of Shell Beach. While this isn’t a place to ride your horse, it is certainly one to sit back and enjoy a fabulous sunset.
Our horse community is diverse. We have die-hard cowboys as well as dedicated English riders all living (and riding) in harmony. This beautifully turned out Arabian Hunter Pleasure mare and rider team show what it takes to compete at the highest level.
North County offers so many amazing places to ride; from Santa Margarita to Atascadero, and Paso Robles to San Miguel, you can’t beat the open spaces and rural feel of this area.
As a reining rider, I know the importance of really studying a pattern, as this rider is clearly doing. Her little bay horse seems to be looking over the trail course on her own as well!
Heading to the coast from the North County will put you in contact with some of the most beautifully windswept and untouched stretches of coastline in our area. The little town of Cayucous is truly a gem, and the “old wooden pier” is a staple of the community.
This Arabian Stallion shows just how incredible the horse truly is. One good look into his eyes shows that he is a thinking being, not just an “animal”.
One of the things that amazes me most about the Central Coast is the diversity of landscape. Just north of the “old wooden pier” in Cayucous you will find yourself in the quaint town of Cambria. There is much to see and do both with and without your horses.
Some of the best moments are caught when horse and rider and perfectly in tune and “in their own world”, so to speak. This photo shows the reining horse preparing to go into the show ring.
Once in Cambria, keep on driving, and you will find yourself winding toward the misty coast of Ragged Point. This area is almost completely untouched with vast areas of open land. You’ll pass San Simeon and Hearst Castle and eventually arrive at this spot where sheer cliffs and leaning trees accentuate the beauty of the landscape.
It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with the Arabian Horse, and this is just another example of why. This gelding, out of Shelia Varian’s Desperado V is an incredible example of form, substance and beauty. He shows quite successfully in Arabian Trail Classes.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little photographic journey through the Central Coast. My advice…if you have the time, get into the car and just start driving. Take all the back roads, even if you don’t know exactly where you’re going, and you’re sure to encounter some unbeatable sites. If you have a camera, keep your lens cap open!
Photography by Sarah Williams www.sarahwilliamsphotoimpressions.com