Where to enjoy the equestrian scene in Horry County

A calm sea breeze, and the beautiful, undisturbed view of the ocean on the back of a horse might be the next best way to enjoy Myrtle Beach this summer without the tourism traps.

Inlet Point Plantation, located at the far end of a dirt path after Little River Neck Road in North Myrtle Beach offers tourists and families a distinctive experience to ride a horse through the dunes up to Waites Island, an undeveloped maritime forest that conservationists are fiercely trying to protect.

The only thing Darby Dugan, an operator at Inlet Point Plantation, suggests is watching out for their ride’s snacking habits near the seagrass.

Inlet Point Plantation offers rides everyday except for Sunday in the mornings at 9 am, 9:30 am, and 11 am Rides in the afternoon are less popular due to the extreme heat in the last few weeks. The hour long beach rides are $120 a person, and they take reservations by phone.

It’s an opportunity to see a beach that isn’t crowded with people walking across all hours of the day.

“It’s that constant change of scenery, and you have the opportunity to see more wildlife, once you’re out there on the beach,” Dugan said.

However, there’s more to the equestrian scene in Horry County than trail rides and lessons. Grand Strand Horseback Riding, one of the biggest horseback riding operations in Horry County, offers overnight camps and after school care to children of all ages. Participating kids get comprehensive training on taking care of their own horse, riding, and other farm activities such as making fresh mozzarella from scratch.

Kristine Edge, an operator of Grand Strand Horseback Riding, said teaching children the ways of an equestrian life is their philosophy.

“We’ve taken all these luxuries away from children. To learn that you can start out with something in the morning, and at the end of the day you have a completed project that benefits you and many others,” Edge said.

Grand Strand Horseback Riding, located at 2131 Hughes Gasque Rd in Aynor, SC, also offers trails that are fully shaded by canopy to beat the heat during the summer. Beach rides are available in the off season, November through February. The normal trails during the summer are more affordable, at $50 a person, and they take reservations by phone.

As unique as these activities are, there isnt a whole lot of opportunity throughout the year to enjoy horses. Stacey Smith, who runs the high school rodeo in Horry County said she’s been trying to bring awareness to equestrian culture since 2015.

March’s high school rodeo in Conway marked the 7th year she and her husband organized the high school event for the South Carolina High School Rodeo Association.

“I’m finding that there’s more and more people interested but there’s not a lot of opportunity,” Stacey Smith said. “There’s competitors a huge showing of equestrians in the area, just not a huge amount of places that do it that aren’t outside of town.”

This story was originally published June 18, 2022 6:00 AM.

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