We have all seen the commercials of people riding horses on the beach into the sunset. Well you can make that scene become reality at C&M Stables, the only horseback riding stables on the central Oregon coast.
Since 1981, Jeff Chastain has operated Coastal Mountain Stables and currently has about 50 horses on his ranch that his staff take on the beach, through the dunes, or offer rides to little ones inside the corral.
“We really have something for all skill levels too,” Chastain said standing at the front desk. “We can do a bunch of different things depending on your group.”
Most of the rides are 90 minutes to two hours long, however there are packages available that go longer and even offer dinner.
Chastain said when people register, he always asks what their experience level is with horses, age of the people in the group and their height and weight. It helps him not only reserve the right horse for the right person, but makes sure the trip is going to be a good one.
Usually there are about five check-in times during the day, so if you want to see the beach in the morning or during the sunset or anytime in between that is available. If the beach isn’t your thing, then you can also ride through some of the amazing dunes in the Florence area. During the spring, riders can see rhododendrons and other flowers in bloom.
All of the groups that head out have guides, to help with managing the horses and to keep people on the right trails.
The stable is about a 30 minute ride to the beach, most rides keep the speed at a walk, however there is some trotting allowed. Riders are also required to wear helmets unless they sign a waiver.
“We have some other rules too that will help people enjoy the trip even more,” Chastain said. “People are required to have their cameras on a neck strap and around their necks. We lose too many cameras during the rides, plus we want people to have their hands on the reigns.”
He also warned people about having their cell phone ringer on, as it could spook the horses, and said that sitting on a wallet isn’t a comfortable way to enjoy the trip either.
“You would be amazed at some of the things people try to do on these rides,” he said. “There are such great views and you get to ride on the beach, so we really want people to focus on the horse, the view and the beach. It’s a great experience.”
Chastain also said that the best bet to insure you get a ride and don’t end up waiting is to call ahead to make reservations. That way you can know what time your ride starts and allow his staff to prepare.
Drop ins are welcome, but realize that if you miss a ride time, there will be a bit of a wait.
The stables do have a gift shop with normal coast tourist items and also have – as you might expect – horse-related items as well. They do offer snacks, but if you want to have a dinner ride, those are also available.
About the C&M Stables: Coastal Mountain Stables opened in the spring of 1981 when Jeff Chastain broght his lifelong love of horses to the romantic beach landscapes of the Pacific Coast. Today, horse riding enthusiasts enjoy breathtaking scenic adventures through portions of pristine forest service land.
What to bring: Warm clothing, even in the summertime is recommended. During the traditional summer months of June through August, a north wind keeps the ride very cool. Chastain said that some days in the winter are actually warmer than summer days because of the lack of wind. In addition make sure to wear tennis shoes, no flip-flops during the ride. If you want to bring a camera, make sure to have a neck strap.
Tip: Make sure to book your ride ahead of time, otherwise you could be waiting up to two hours to get a ride. For smaller children under 6, there are corral rides where the little ones can enjoy a ride.
Season: The stable is open year-round.
Getting there: C&M Stables’ address is 90241 Highway 101 North, and is located right off Highway 101 north of Florence.
By Patrick Johnson