What is the experience like?
The first half of the ride is on the beach. For most people (and their horses) its like a warm-up. It's literally a 1-mile walk on the beach. This usually takes 20-30 minutes.
For expert riders, who may want to canter/lope on the beach, it can take a little longer. Also, if there's a photographer involved that can mean more or less time on the beach depending on the objectives of the photo shoot.
The second "half" of the ride takes place in the water. Sometimes we have to make adjustments before going into the water. So, depending on the customers this may or may not take a few minutes.
Wading out into the bay takes a few minutes because, for a variety of reasons, we like to go out 200-300 yards offshore. Once we get to the right spot, your trainer will teach you how to HorseSurf™, HorseSki™, and take you for a short swim. This can take more or less time depending on how many people are riding, how many people want to try these activities, and the whims of anyone taking photos. Then we race back into shore and everyone dismounts to pose for photos with their new friends.
Regardless of how long it takes, when you're finished you will be (1) wet from head-to-toe, (2) excited/exhilarated, and (3) a little tired. You will think, "That was awesome!" not “That was relaxing. I wish I could do that for another hour or two."
How much does it cost? Now only $120 each!
Prices vary depending on the day and time of your ride. The average price is around $120 per person + $20 for a saddle + 7% sales tax and a 6% booking fee.
The time spent on horseback varies depending on (how many customers there are and how adventurous they are.
It usually takes at least an hour, but this is not a timed activity. It is a series of activities that last from 1 to 20 minutes each.
The first half is on the beach and the second half is in the water. We will have one trainer for each horse and, when you're in the water, your trainers will teach you some fun activities. The water activities are very strenuous for the horses and our trainers.
We do not guarantee the weather. If we are forced to cancel or reschedule your ride due to foul weather or for any other reason beyond our control, we will issue you a raincheck that is valid for at least one year; but, under no circumstances will we issue a refund.
You must be present and ready to ride at the scheduled start of your ride to be eligible for a raincheck. If you are a "no show", you will forfeit your ride. If you are late, you may miss part of your ride. If you don't want to wait around to see if weather conditions improve, you will be charged a rebooking fee of $50 per rider when you rebook.
We suggest arriving at least 15 minutes before the scheduled start time to allow time for traffic delays, parking, checking-in, fitting of helmets and life jackets, etc.
What do I get for my money?
The ticket price includes a specially trained horse AND a trainer. Each rider will have their own personal guide/trainer who will teach them how to do some really cool and fun “tricks” on a horse. We also provide helmets and life jackets.
Saddles are optional and cost $20 extra. Saddles are for the first 1/2 of the ride. After riding on the beach, we will remove your saddle and you will ride bareback in the water.
What’s not included?
6% Booking Fee
Saddles are available for $20 for the land portion of the ride. Everyone rides bareback in the water. Photography is not included. Professional photography is available, but most people bring their own cameras. Waterproof cameras are best. If you don’t have one, consider a water-resistant disposable camera from a drugstore.
Will you allow me to book for just one person?
Yes! But not if you are the first person to book for that ride. If other people (2 or more) have already purchased tickets for that day/time, then you can book solo tickets.
What happens if I need to reschedule?
If you decide to change the day or time of your ride within 24 hours of booking or more than 30 days before your ride or if you decide to move your ride to an earlier date, we will cheerfully do so for no additional charge.
If, after 24 hours, you decided to changed your ride time to a later day or time, there is a Rebooking Fee
$25 per booking if you rebook 3-30 days before your ride
$25 per rider if you rebook 3-72 hours before your ride
$50 per rider if you rebook within 3 hours of your ride
Please note that weather conditions can change rapidly. If, for example, it is pouring rain and/or lighting, you may have to wait (an hour more) for conditions to improve. If you don't want to wait around to see if the weather improves you will be charged $50 per rider.
What is your refund policy?
All tickets are fully refundable up to 30 days prior to the day of your ride. Within 30 days of your ride, we will refund 60% of your ticket price up to 72 hours before the scheduled start time of your ride. Within 72 hours (3 days) of your ride, your money will not be refunded under any circumstances. Please don't ask us for a refund within 72 hours of your ride.
Can I pay cash at the beach?
No. It is illegal for us to accept cash at the beach (except for tips). Everyone must purchase a ticket in advance. We stop selling tickets online 12 hours before ride time. If "today" is the only time you can ride and online sales have stopped, please call us at (941) 907-7272 to see if we have any extra tickets. In the summer, we sell out nearly every day, sometimes 2-3 weeks in advance! We accept all major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover).
Can my child ride without me? Yes
Yes. You can sign up a child to ride by himself or herself as long as they are at least 3 years old. The beach is very accessible. You can walk along with them on the beach and wade into the water with them. We recommend a water-proof camera for taking photos. Shooting from the beach with a long lens will not produce the best HorseSurfing photos.
Can I canter/lope my horse on the beach without a guide? Yes
Yes, if you're an expert (professional rider or high-level competitor) and at least 18 years old, you understand that these are spirited horses, and you follow a few common-sense rules.
Saddles are mandatory. $20 extra.
Only trot/canter/lope going AWAY from the horse trailer (e.g., east-to-west, NOT west-to-east).
No galloping. Keep your horse to a hand canter. (If you don't know what that means, you're not an "expert" rider.)
Keep your horse on a right lead (away from the highway). (Again, (If you don't know what that means, you're not an "expert" rider.)
Do not kick your horse if it doesn't pick-up a canter right away.
You must wear a helmet regardless of your age. (We provide helmets.)
Are "life jackets" required? Yes
PFD's are mandatory for anyone who rides in the water. We provide life jackets for everyone.
How deep is the water?
Most of the time you will be in water that is >4 feet deep. If you want to participate in the horse swimming portion of the experience, you will be in water that is 6-8 feet deep for about 1 minute.
Are helmets required/advised? Yes
Yes. According to the American Medical Equestrian Association, head injuries are the most common cause of death for people who ride horses. In Florida, "Nicole's Law" requires everyone under the age of 16 to wear an ASTM/SEI certified equestrian helmet. We provide riding helmets for anyone who wants them. If you have your own ASTM/SEI certified equestrian helmet and prefer to wear it, please feel free to bring it with you.
What happens if it is too cold?
We ride on the beach year 'round. But sometimes (December-March) it can get very chilly. If the water temperature drops below 70º F (21º C) and/or the wind is blowing so much as to make our beach experience uncomfortable in our sole opinion, we will offer you or or more of the following options:
• Horseback riding on the beach but not in the water (with a BIG DISCOUNT)
• A trail ride
• A rain check
We do not offer refunds for inclement weather.
Can I get a raincheck?
If we are forced to cancel your ride due to weather or for any other reason, we will give you a gift card that never loses its value. You must be present and ready to ride at the scheduled start of your ride to be eligible for a raincheck. If you are a "no show", you will forfeit your ride. If you don't want to wait around to see if weather conditions improve, you will be charged a rebooking fee of $50 per rider when you rebook.
Is there horse poop in the water?
Yes. There’s also fish poop and bird poop and dolphin poop…. Horses poop in the water and sometimes the stuff is floating right next to you. Some people find this disgusting. Horse people are not offended by horse poop because they understand that horses are vegans.
Generally speaking, the waters of Palma Sola Bay are among the cleanest in the county. Water quality is tested biweekly at Manatee County's 7 most popular beaches and PSB consistently ranks #1 or #2.
What if the weather calls for rain?
During the rainy season (June-October), a 30-40% chance of rain is typical. Do not assume your ride is canceled merely because it is pouring rain at your hotel. It may be sunny and dry where we are. In Florida, it can be raining on one side of the street and sunny on the other.
What happens if it actually rains?
We do ride in the rain. (You’re going to get wet anyway.) If it’s a HEAVEY rain or if there's LIGHTNING, we'll wait until it passes. Be prepared to wait as long as it takes for the storm to pass. Don’t make plans for immediately following your ride assuming it will not rain. If we run out of daylight, we will offer you a rain check. If you leave before it stops raining or before we decide at our sole discretion to cancel the ride, you will forfeit your money and get no rain check.
Are you likely to start/stop on time?
While your ticket(s) indicate(s) a specific start time, we do not guarantee that your ride will happen on time. There are many reasons beyond our control why your ride may not happen on time (weather, working with live animals, traffic, etc.). We ask you to please be 15 minutes early. We will start as soon as everything and everyone is ready. Usually we start on time or a few minutes early, but occasionally we have to do or fix something before we can start. Please be patient. No “authentic” Old Florida experience would ever start on time.
Please do not schedule an activity immediately following your BeachHorses experience. We may have a rain delay of up to an hour and we would hate for you to miss your flight home.
Will I ride bareback? Yes
Yes and that is one of the unique and special aspects of the BeachHorses™ Experience. western-style saddles are available for $20, but cannot be taken into the salt water. That doesn't mean you won't get to go in the water. You'll just have to dismount while we remove the saddle. Then, you will ride bareback in the water.
Who can participate in the beach experience? Amost everyone.
Almost anyone can do this because we can adjust the ride depending on your experience level. We make it fun for beginners and expert riders alike. We can accommodate children ages 3-85+ and disabled people. Our only restriction is that you must weigh under 300 lbs. Sorry, no exceptions. All but two (2) of our horses are only able to handle riders who weigh under 220 lbs (100 kg).
I know how to ride, do I have to have a guide for the beach ride?
Yes - Beginner: Anyone with fewer than 50 hours of riding instruction riding bareback. If you opt for a saddle, then you can stere your own horse.
No - Novice-Intermediate: Anyone with more that 50 hours of riding instruction
No - Expert: A professional rider or a high-level competitor who is at least 18.
If you are a professionally trained rider with a MINIMUM of 50 hours of RECENT riding instruction (or you are an adult "expert" rider) we'll let you ride on the beach without a guide, otherwise you will have a guide. You will probably be riding a spirited Thoroughbred or Quarter Horse, bareback and bit-less. Unless you are truly an expert rider, it would be quite dangerous to do this without a guide.
Can I try HorseSurfing™?
Yes! If you weigh less than 150 lbs and wish to try standing on your horse in the water (totally optional), your trainer will teach you how to hang ten like a local for no extra charge. HorseSurfing™ was invented by our founder, Tim Mattox, right here at Palma Sola Bay in Bradenton, Florida!
How many riders can you accommodate at one time?
We usually bring 8 horses to the beach. We can accommodate up to 16 riders in two groups of 8. If you have a group larger than 16, please call us at 941-907-7272. We may be able to work something out.
Can a child ride double with an adult?
Yes. But there are restrictions. The adult must be an EXPERT rider with many years of professional riding experience AND the combined weight of the adult and child must be under 220 lbs (100 kg). The child must hold a ticket. No discounts for riding double. Sometimes we'll allow children to ride double with one of our trainers.
Will you watch my children for me while I ride?
No. We do not provide day-care or babysitting services. That goes for your dog(s), too.
Are photographs and/or videos available?
Professional-quality still images and videos are available from two local photographers. Contact Wicklund Photography
at (941) 224-9539 or ShootPerfect Equine Photography
at (855) 941-7468. You are also welcome to take your own photographs and/or bring your own photographer; however, there's an extra fee if your photographs are for commercial purposes.
What time should we be there?
Plan to check-in 15 minutes before the scheduled start of your ride to sign release forms, ask questions, and get acquainted with our horses and staff. Please don't be late for your ride.
How much should I tip?
Excellent question. All gratuities, no matter how small, are greatly appreciated. Most people tip around $20/rider. Tipping is not required.
Are spectators allowed?
Spectators are always welcome. The beach is open to the public and there is a public sidewalk parallel to the beach.
Are dogs allowed?
Yes! Palma Sola Bay is a pooch-friendly park. You are welcome to bring your own pet, but please keep them away from the horses.
If something happens and I can't make it, can I get a refund?
All tickets are fully refundable up to 30 days prior to the day of your ride. Within 30 days of your ride, we will refund 60% of your ticket price up to 72 hours before the scheduled start time of your ride. Within 72 hours (3 days) of your ride, your money goes hard and will not be refunded under any circumstances. Please don't ask us for a refund within 72 hours of your ride.
What happens if I need to reschedule? Is there a fee?
Yes. There is a $25 change fee (per order, not per ticket) if for any reason you decide to change the day/time of your ride; however, there is 24 hour grace period. In other words, there's no charge if you ask us to change your ride day/time less than 24 hours after purchasing your tickets. VERY IMPORTANT: No changes are permitted within 72 hours (3 days) of your scheduled ride. If, for any reason, you cancel within 72 hours, you will forfeit the entire purchase price of your tickets along with any pre-paid gratuities. Please call Customer Service at 1-941-907-7272 if you have any questions.
Where are you located?
We ride at Palma Sola Bay Park. The address is 8400 Manatee Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34209
. The GPS coordinates are 27.49621,-82.64529. We're right on Manatee Avenue, 3.8 miles east of Anna Maria Island and 11.2 miles west of I-75. You'll be looking for a truck and horse trailer, not a stable. We will email and text you directions after you purchase tickets.
Where should we park?
Park on the north side of Manatee Avenue/SR-64 anywhere there's an open spot. Parking is free. During the summer it can get crowded on the weekends, so come early.
Is there a public restroom or dressing room?
The park has public restrooms approximately 1/2 mile west of our location. There is also a Starbucks about a mile east of our location. At Holmes Beach, at the west end of Manatee Avenue, there is a public beach facility with showers.
What should we wear?
You will get wet from head-to-toe, so we always suggest swimwear. You can ride barefoot but it’s not a bad idea to wear sandals or flip-flops for before and after you ride.
Is there a viewing area for family/friends?
Yes. Palma Sola Bay Park is open to the public and has many facilities that your friends/family can enjoy. There is a wide sidewalk parallel to the beach that is suitable for a mobility scooter.
What should we bring with us?
We suggest the following:
• Dry clothing to wear after your ride.
• A waterproof camera.
• Extra cash for tipping.
Do I need to print my tickets?
No, just bring a picture I.D. and your Order number. But please read your confirmation email to make sure we agree on the type(s) of ticket(s) purchased, the day/time of your ride, and the number of tickets purchased.
What kinds of horses do you use?
We have Paints, Quarter Horses, and two mixed-breed draft horses.
Are any of your horses for sale?
Yes. We sell Certified BeachHorse™ and other horses. Certified BeachHorse™ horses are highly trained kid-safe horses that will do everything a normal horse will do on dry land PLUS they will swim and behave well in the water! For more information, call Tim Mattox at (941) 650-1820.
Are BeachHorse™ business opportunities available?
Yes. For more information, call Tim Mattox at (941) 650-1820.
Can I get a discount?
No, but you can save money by booking at off-peak times.