Horseback in Ireland

August 31st, 2010 by Kim

  -UK vacation finale! 

Horse Holiday Farm 

This last part of our trip was purely for fun!  We flew from England to Ireland on Wed., July 21 and landed at the Knock airport in pouring rain.  The farm arranged for a taxi driver to meet us there and drive us to the farm in Grange, County Sligo.  What a beautiful place! 

The view from our bedroom window.

Owners Tilman & Colette Anhold run a B&B there on the farm, and when we arrived, our wonderful hostess, Karin, got us settled in our room and got tea for us.  Even though it was monsooning outside all day, we could tell the view of the shore, sea & islands was gorgeous.  And when the sun came up the next morning….WOW!….what a view!  The weather was perfect, cool & sunny, and we got to meet our mounts for our first day of riding. 

A guided group ride through the dunes.

A nice walk across the open field.

We had two beautiful days of riding the beautiful countryside & seashore, making new friends, and eating well.  The horses know all their usual trails, so it’s nearly impossible to get lost.  They also know that when they get down on the wet, hard-packed sand that they get to gallop.  Somehow, I ended up with Butler, whom everyone told me is the fastest horse on the farm.  He’s a Connemara-Thouroughbred cross, and he goes like the wind….terrifyingly exhilarating.  Jeff got a nice Irish Hunter named Carmack.  Of course, we’re used to riding in western saddles, so the whole English tack thing took awhile for us to get used to.  Which we did. 

Riding amid the sheep & cows in the pasture.

We went on a guided ride our first day, to get a feel for the horses and our surroundings, which were spectacular.

Riding across a mountain field.

The farm is right on the seashore, so you’re riding through the fields & dunes, on the sandy shore, and at low tide, across the water to the islands.  Of course, you always first asked Tilman what time the tide would come back in so you could get off the islands in time. 

Riding across the wide expanse of now-bare sand.

On our second riding day, we headed out with our new German friends, Anna & Insa, along the shore to the one island. 

The trail through the sea.

It seemed strange to think that we were actually riding across the sea floor, when it just looked like sandy shore.  In one rocky, seaweedy area, we could actually see a trail through the ‘stuff’ of the sea floor.  We stopped for lunch on the dunes, and Carmack stood like a statue, keeping watch across the water as we ate. 

Carmack standing sentry.

When we headed back to the mainland, the tide was coming back in and the water was a bit deep, but the horses plowed right through it.

Butler looks to see how deep it is.

Whenever you got back from a ride, it was your responsibility to put tack away, hose off your horse & give them their bucket of feed.  Then you took them down to the pasture to turn them out.

On the trail with Anna & Insa.

This system seems to create an atmosphere of comraderie among guests.  They also have a bus come every

Turn out time.

 evening to take everyone to a local restaurant for dinner.  It was a nice time to share the day’s adventures over, invariably, your meat & potatoes.

Jeff & our trusty mounts, Carmack & Butler.

Our remaining two days over the weekend were a bit dreary & wet, but we weren’t about to miss out on riding.  We just put on our raincoats & went riding.  We made it over to the island that our bedroom overlooks, and spent a few hours exploring the hillsides & ruins.

Remains of an old farm.

I do believe the whole of Ireland must have been completely covered in rocks when it’s first inhabitants arrived.  The country is full of old rock walls & buildings.  It’s quite beautiful.

One of many rock wall fences.

On this trip to the little island, we also got to see some seals, sunning themselves on the sand.  But they didn’t hang around long enough for us to get very close.

We were watching the seals & they were watching us.

A rainy ride across the sea floor.

Of course, all good things must come to an end, and Monday morning it was time to say goodbye to our new friends.  I would highly recommend Horse Holiday Farm to anyone wanting to ride the Irish coast.  Then it was off to the airport for our flight home, and so….here we are.

A view from the dunes across to the Atlantic.

One Response to “Horseback in Ireland”

  1. Susan Lea Says:

    Beautiful photos! It sounds absolutely fabulous! What a fun way to end your vacation.