FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How much does it cost?
The ticket price is $129.95 per person + 6.5% sales tax. In addition there’s a 6% “Booking Fee” that covers the cost of selling tickets. The total comes to $146.18 per person.
How long does it last?
That's always the second question but, in this particular case, it's the wrong question. This isn't a horse rental service that charges by-the-hour.
The ticket price includes a specially trained horse AND a trainer. Each rider will have their own personal guide/trainer who will teach you how to do some really cool and fun things on your horse. Some of these actives require two people per horse even for expert riders.
You BeachHorses experience will consist of a series of activities. The time spent doing each activity varies from customer to customer depending on many variables. Some people need more attention than others. Some people want to try everything. Others do not. Taking photos or not can change everything.
To use a dining metaphor, it's more like a pre fixe menu than a pie eating contest.
The whole thing usually takes 45-60 minutes depending on the various needs and wants of our customers. The weather can also cause delays of an hour or more. So, be prepared to spend whatever time it takes. Don't plan anything immediately after your ride that can't be rescheduled.
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, the guides 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 best friends.
Regardless of how long it takes, when you're finished you will be (1) wet from head-to-toe, (2) exhilarated, and (3) a little tired. You will think, "That was awesome!" not "Boy, I wish I could do that for another hour or two."
Can I get a discount?
No. Sorry, but we sell out just about every day so we don’t feel the need to discount our prices for anyone. On the plus side, our prices haven't changed in nearly two years.
Can I pay cash at the beach?
No. It is illegal for us to do business at the beach (except for tips). Everyone must purchase a ticket beforehand. 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).
I just want to watch or take pictures. Can my kids/guests ride without me?
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, if you're an "expert" rider, you understand that these are spirited horses, and you follow a few common-sense rules.
Only trot/canter/lope going AWAY from the horse trailer (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 (toward the water, not 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.
Are "life jackets" required?
Yes, PFD's are mandatory. We provide BeachHorses™ life jackets .
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. 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.
Is there horse poop in the water?
Yes. 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 raining where you 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.
What happens if it is too cold?
We ride on the beach year 'round. But sometimes, even in Florida, it can get very chilly. If the temperature drops and/or the wind is blowing so much as to make our beach experience uncomfortable in our sole opinion, we will offer you one or more of the following options:
Horseback riding on the beach but not in the water
A trail ride
A rain check
We do not offer refunds.
While your ticket(s) indicate(s) a specific start/end 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. Please be flexible and cheerful if we cannot start on time. We don’t enjoy waiting any more than you do.
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 raincheck that can be used up to one year later. 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.
Who can participate in the beach experience?
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 a horse. So, do I have to have a guide?
Because we take the horses into the salt water you will be riding bareback. Leather saddles and bridles would be ruined otherwise.
Riding bareback means you sit directly on the horse's back with no padding and, most importantly, no stirrups. This is more difficult, so we take extra precautions to minimize the risk of injury to you or a bystander.
Unless you are at least a Novice rider (a professionally trained rider with more than 50 hours of recent riding instruction) your horse will be lead by a guide.
This is for your own safety. You will probably be riding a spirited Thoroughbred or Quarter Horse. Unless you are a trained rider, it would be quite dangerous to do this without a guide.
Everyone (even professional riders) has a guide/trainer in the water. That's because you will need someone to show you how to do the tricks we do in the water and to hold your horse for you.
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 guide 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?
Ten (10). We usually bring 8-10 horses to the beach. We can accommodate up to 20 riders in two groups of 10.
Can a child ride with an adult?
Yes. But there are restrictions. The adult must be a PROFESSIONAL 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 guides.
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 at a very reasonable price. Book online or contact Elise Wickland at elise@BeachHorses.com or (941) 224-9539 before your scheduled ride to book a photographer. 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.
How do I get my photographs?
First, you must pre-pay for photography services. (See above.) After your ride, you will be sent an email with a link to your personal photo album. Your images will be posted here. You will be able to download, print, and/or share to social media all of your images, full-size/high resolution.
What time should we be there?
Plan to check-in 10-15 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. Your ticket is only good for the times stated on your ticket. Your ride will end at the scheduled time regardless of your arrival time.
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?
Only if you purchased a Refundable ticket. All non-refundable tickets are NON-REFUNDABLE. Please don't hate us. If WE are forced to cancel/reschedule your ride due to foul weather or for any other reason, we will issue you a raincheck that is valid for at least one year; but, under no circumstances will we issue a refund on a non-refundable ticket.
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 less than 72 hours (3 days) before 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 the west end of Manatee Avenue, there is a public beach facility with showers at Holmes Beach.
What should we wear?
You will get wet from head-to-toe, so we always suggest swimwear. You can wear sandals or flip-flops.
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.
If you have additional questions and/or if you prefer to purchase your tickets over the phone, please call us at (941) 907-7272 .