Category Archives: Irish Equestrian Venues & Pursuits
1. Don’t drag your purchases around with you.
I didn’t know for years that there is actually a cloak room area in the main hall where you can leave your purchases and collect them when you are leaving, all for a small fee. For years I was the plank walking around, wide as I am high with shopping, sweating buckets with bag handles cutting the circulation off from my fingers while other shoppers bashed into me. The other upside to the cloak room is that once free from your earlier purchases, you forget how much you already bought and can go do it all again. Your welcome!
This time last year, a friend and I were keen for an adventure on horseback so we headed down to Mount Juliet Estate in Thomastown in Co. Kilkenny for a cross country ride out. I had been to Mount Juliet before for a side saddle hack organised by the side saddle association and I was keen to head back to try out the equestrian facilities astride.
My Christmas present to myself this year was a trip to the Ultimate Dressage Experience. This equestrian pursuit is the brainchild of dressage rider Sandra Blake Farrell and is based at Dollanstown in Kilcock Co. Kildare. The Ultimate Dressage Experience invites riders to have a lesson on a school master dressage horse and enjoy the feel of more advanced dressage movements. I booked the experience with my friend Dani and was delighted to learn that I would be riding St. Emilion II, Sandra’s grand prix Hanoverian gelding while Dani would be on board Polish warmblood Biala Perla. Having seen St. Emilion II in action in competition with Sandra I was a little worried that I may not be able to ride him effectively. I was also worried that my petite little legs might not be long enough for the dressage saddle!
A teenager that looks like a Spooks or Kingsland stall threw up on them.
A child with a face plastered in chocolate or ice cream.
A child crying because they want ice cream.
A pony with a cracking jump.
A child jumping higher on a 12.2 pony than you would ever have the balls to attempt on a horse.
A bored looking non horsey dad.
An inappropriately dressed groom (bonus point if they are getting asked to leave the ring at the time).
Stewards deep in discussion.
A lady wearing tweed and pearls.
A man carrying a bale of hay on his back.
Someone bawling crying because they won.
Someone bawling crying because they lost
Someone bawling because they fell off.
A horse and rider getting gated.
A near miss at a fence.
A shopaholic carrying more than four different shopping bags.
Someone frantically washing a horse that is meant to be grey.
Someone lunging a horse in the warm up ring.
An international rider signing an autograph.
A photographer taking a picture of a photographer.
A horse bouncing about while getting presented with a rosette and prize.
Someone trying and failing at haggling with a seller.
Someone who clearly spent too long at the long bar.
A lady dressed in side saddle attire (bonus point if they are not on or with a horse).
A lady who cannot walk in her heels.
Someone in a tweed mini skirt or short shorts.
People in a long toilet queue looking agitated.
A lady in a hat the size of a satellite dish.
A grumpy child having their hair done by an adult.
A rug addict excitedly buying and then trying to carry several bargain priced rugs.
Someone trying stuff on in the middle of a shop.
Ever thought ‘no one ever wins those competitions on Facebook’? I used to think that too. I was wrong. People win – I won! Most recently I won a fantastic prize of a two day trip to Crossogue Equestrian near Thurles in Co. Tipperary in Ireland. My trip included two nights stay, meals and four lessons. Having ridden at Crossogue many years ago I was delighted to get an opportunity to head back and even more delighted when my friend Dani decided to book in to come with me.
It was Paddys Day, it was not p*ssing rain, I was off work. There was only one thing for it, road trip time. Given the proximity of Abbeyfield Farm to the yard it was the perfect place to go for some cross country schooling. I’d been at the yard before but only while hunting so had no idea what the course looks like when you are not going full tilt in a group. I contacted Abbeyfield Farm a few days beforehand and arranged to go over for a spin.
It was one in the afternoon on a weekend in January. After three hours standing I felt like I was on a boat. The wind rocked me from side to side and the rain battered my back. The water had begun to seep through the seams of my hard working coat and my wax hat. My ski gloves had given up the ghost and hung from my hands like wet sponges. I was mentally singing the praises of my waterproof trousers and grateful that I had a spare ski jacket in the boot of a jeep. I was not on a boat nor on a ski slope. I was in an arena at the yard. This is Winter. This is Ireland. Read the rest of this entry
When a new facility opens up practically on your doorstep I figure it would be madness not to call over for a visit. So, with that in mind, we set off last week for an adventure to the newly opened Lullymore Equestrian Centre where the main attraction was the large all weather outdoor cross country arena which looked on Facebook like a rather awesome equestrian playground.