Beach Work

Rasmussan enjoying the morning waves at Thirteenth Beach.

Thirteenth Beach



Named for its close proximity to the thirteenth hole of the Barwon Heads Golf Course, Thirteenth Beach is only 9.5 km from Tony Parker's Wallington property, making it an ideal location for him to work his horses.

With the assistance of Gust, a 17 hh gelding, who is well used to the beach and goes there every day, Tony is able to lead the most nervous of horses into the water. They seem more settled with Gust as their example and soon feel at home.


Tony sees beach work as invaluable in his holistic approach to training, being beneficial in a number of ways.

  1. The expansive beach means that horses can be trained in a straight line, which is of benefit to horses with joint problems or those who are recovering from injury.
  2. Horses that pull hard on a track benefit from pace work up the beach, relaxing them so they don't pull so hard.
  3. The sandy surface is of benefit to horses who have felt the ill effects and wear and tear of continual training and running on hard tracks.
  4. Wading in the water cools the legs and joints, assisting with recovery from injury but also being a great way to finish a training session.
  5. The beach can help freshen a horse up after a race - particularly when the horse is able to be led without a rider from another horse, and can walk in the salt water.
  6. Temperamental horses seem to benefit from walking in the water because the lapping of the waves appears to settle them.
  7. Light beach work for about nine days after a race makes it possible to back a horse up for another race sooner than track work may have allowed.
  8. Those horses who prefer to race on slower tracks, and many mares, relish the soft going on the sand.
  9. Older horses seem to benefit from the soft surface of the beach and the effects of the salt water.
  10. There is the ability to swim the horses on a lead in the deeper water and take the weight off tired or injured limbs.
  11. Beach work  offers a beneficial alternative to track work, and the variety it provides prevents horses becoming bored with their training.