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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep. 25, 2003
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    The Mitten
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    1,309

    Default Ireland Riding Vacation

    Has anybody ever taken a riding vacation in Ireland? My mom and I are talking about scheduling one for this spring/summer, but there are SO many options out there and it's hard to determine which companies are reputable and which ones are not.

    What were your experiences? Good? Bad? Recommendations welcome!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 29, 2009
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    661

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    I did probably the most popular one, the Coastal Trail in Connemara with Willie Leahy back in May '87 and loved it. I booked thru Fits Equestrian which was bought out by Equitours many years ago.

    Willie's been offering rides for many years so he has an excellent system, but there are many other options.

    Could things to know: be prepared for the cold wet weather. Ireland's the greenest place on earth for good reason. I'm from South Fla, so I wasn't prepared and frozen my patootie off until my fellow riders took pity and loaned me a wool sweater and gloves.

    Bring either a long raincoat or oilskin coat, water proof hat or cover for your helmet, 4-5 pairs of riding gloves as they take a long time to dry out, wool sweaters, silk long underwear is warm and very thin. Get a pommel pack to attach to the front of your saddle to hold your camera, water bottle, advil, sunglasses, extra gloves, etc A seat cover is nice as you will be spending alot of time in the saddle.

    Make sure you get a lot of riding done in advance and lots and lots of trotting and posting. Whichever ride you do, there is always alot of trotting, so be prepared.

    The scenery is glorious, horses are wonderful, and the people are friendly wherever you go. I also suggest arriving early to spend a few days traveling around - easy to do by car (drive on the left side though and most cars are stick shift). Or spend it afterwards. You can get bus passes as well, but Ireland really is easy to navigate and there is sooo much to see.

    the hotels have heated towel bars and they put hot water bottles in your bed at night!! loved those. I know you're going in the summer, but I was there in May and while it will be warmer, Ireland isn't ever very warm.

    I rented a car before the ride started and visited around the Shannon area, then drove around and saw the Rock of Cashel, some local historic sights, Bunratty Castle, etc I've also done riding tours in Portugal, Hungary, Australia, Canada, and about 12 in the US, but Connemara will probably be my favorite since it was the first one.

    Have a fantastic time. I've always wanted to go back and will someday. Let us know what you decide and how it all goes.
    Last edited by Heart's Journey; Mar. 5, 2012 at 02:17 PM.


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 23, 2005
    Location
    Spotsylvania, VA
    Posts
    12,987

    Default

    I did this
    http://www.irishhorseriding.com/index.php in 2003

    It was a slow ride, mostly sightseeing on horseback. The Connemara rides I believe are faster.
    I wasn't always a Smurf
    Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
    "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
    The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2008
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    1,299

    Default

    So jealous! Nothing to contribute but PLEASE come back and let us know how your trip was and share pictures for those of us who must live vicariously through others



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 23, 1999
    Location
    Cypress, near Houston, Texas
    Posts
    8,474

    Default

    I highly recommend booking one of the rides offered by Equitours. www.equitours.com All those rides are very carefully checked out by the owners of Equitours and so you won't have any nasty surprises.
    Visit Sonesta Farms website at www.sonestafarms.com or our FaceBook page at www.facebook.com/sonestafarms. Also showing & breeding Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2007
    Posts
    638

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    I went last may with my husband and we had a fantastic time! I would go again tomorrow if I could. It was the best trip ever!
    We rented a car and planned our trip ourselves.
    Here are the places we rode:
    http://www.brennanstownrs.ie/
    fun trail ride with beautiful views of the ocean

    http://www.clonshire.com/
    I did an evening jump lesson that was a blast, and then they took my husband and I out on the cross-country course the next day. Sue was very accommodating to my husband's limited experience, and we both had a great ride.
    We stayed at the Dunraven arms, which is great, and one place where you would never feel out of place walking down the posh steps in your riding gear.

    http://www.castleleslie.com/
    I had a super fun cross-country ride while my husband got a massage, then we got back together for afternoon tea in the big house. We didn't stay there, but I would plan to if we go back.

    wanted to go here:
    http://www.ravensdale-equestrian-centre.com/
    but a local recommended a different place, which sucked, so if you are going to be in the area give this one a shot, it looks great.

    I have talked to lots of people who have done the Connemara trail rides etc and loved them, but I wanted to see more of the country and not commit so much time in one place. When we go back, I'm going to try to get us into some foxhunting.

    We planned to stop at the Irish Horse Museum, but we couldn't find it

    Other places we stopped:
    Dublin- trinity college, guinness storehouse, lots of other awesome stuff
    Waterford (don't bother)
    Cahir castle
    Rock of cashel
    Cliffs of Moher
    Galway
    Boyne Valley- Newgrange, and coincidentally, a CCI*** event the weekend we were there at Tattersall's (did I mention it was the best trip ever?)
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2002
    Location
    Maryland
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    3,587

    Default

    Depends what you want to do
    If staying in 1 place is good- Castle Leslie and Clonshire are great
    There is trekking all over the place but I don't know the names of the places that ran the rides I did, just the towns/areas where I was- so no help there
    There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 4, 2010
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    yonder a bit, GA
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    3,375

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    I love clonshire and have been a repeat visitor a few separate times since my first trip ten years ago. Bring your self control... I've nearly bought a horse 3 of my 4 visits!

    I tried riding at ravensdale as well, just last month when I was visiting, but didn't give myself the best planning ahead and instead rode at another barn for a lesson :-) and of course.... The name of that barn has escaped me. Eh, it'll come back!

    I would absolutely love to go on a trekking vacation sometime. Clonshire was/is great for the cross country course and lessons, and is probably fantastic to see during hunt season (the hounds are on property, or were a few years ago of course).

    Have fun! I can't wait to go on another riding vacation, especially to Ireland!
    (A decidedly unhorsey) MrB knocks over a feed bucket at the tack shop and mutters, "Oh crap. I failed the stadium jumping phase."
    (he does listen!)



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 16, 2011
    Posts
    808

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    We are planning on going to Grange this summer. http://www.horse-holiday-farm.com/riding-by-the-sea.htm

    I chose that one because my husband rides but only western on gaited horses. I do not think he would enjoy an Irish Hunter.

    I get to ride out each day and he is to eat a big breakfast, take a nap, and figure out what we are to do each evening and where to have supper.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2004
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    City of delusion in the state of total denial
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    I've had lessons with Clonshire and Brennanstown and highly recommend both.
    "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep."
    - Harry Dresden

    Horse Isle 2: Legend of the Esrohs LifeCycle Breeding and competition MMORPG



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar. 18, 2000
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    Brantford, Ontario
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    Last November, my Dad and I were lucky enough to go ride with Willy Leahy and hunt with the Galway Blazers for a week - it was absolutely incredible! The Leahy's were just wonderful hosts, and I fell in love with the country, the people and the horses.

    Here's a link to the thread I started when we were researching who to try to ride with, and that I then updated again once we got home - http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...date-Nov-24%29

    I adored every moment that we were there, and would go back again in a heart beat. If you get the chance, GO!


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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 15, 2008
    Location
    East Coast
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    369

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    I agree with Hearts Journey and Small Change. Have gone several times with Willy!!! So much fun. Almost brought home a young mare he started while we were there. She started out riderless and loose the first day and by day seven I was riding her! Still kicking myself for not doing it.
    If there are no pets in Heaven then I want to go where they went !!!
    RIP Maybe June 13, 1993-Sept. 23, 2006,Dexter March 11, 1983-Sept. 23, 2009, Joey 1997?- June 21, 2012
    www.equistarfarm.com



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 19, 2007
    Location
    Michigan
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    My brother did the Connemara ride with Willy Leahy and he still talks about it. Just look out, Willy will apparently try to sell you the horse you're on! (My brother seriously thought about it, but besides the import fees he had nowhere to put him over here.)



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul. 19, 2007
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    Michigan
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    Default

    My brother did the Connemara ride with Willy Leahy and he still talks about it. Just look out, Willy will apparently try to sell you the horse you're on! (My brother seriously thought about it, but besides the import fees he had nowhere to put him over here.)



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct. 30, 2008
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    211

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    If you want to really ride, I would highly recommend Flowerhill Equestrian Centre - Oliver and his horses are amazing and it was the trip of a lifetime for my university's equestrian team


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  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar. 18, 2000
    Location
    Brantford, Ontario
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    Willy didn't have to *try* to sell us our favourite horses - we fell in love and would have brought them home if there was any possible way! The nice little sport horse I started out my week with was already sold to a family in Italy, and the gorgeous big mare I ended up head-over-heels in love with and had the pleasure of hunting for 6 1/2 hours on our final day was Willy's second in line field master mount. Dad still kicks himself for not trying to find a way to bring home the big grey he adored.

    Honestly, there was only one horse out of about a dozen that I rode and didn't enjoy - it was a Connie that someone obviously hung on to (hard!) in front of the fences, so you rode in with its ears up your nose, then let go and it flung itself over the fence. It was a lovely type and could jump the moon, but needed some reschooling to get it over the ears-in-nostrils habit that I found very disconcerting. Everything else I rode I would have quite happily put in my own barn!

    Cross my heart, Dad and I loved every single moment we spent with the Leahy's. They were wonderful, wonderful hosts and I can not recommend their riding holidays enough. Here's a direct link to my FB album of our trip (please let me know if I need to change privacy settings). If anyone goes to ride with these lovely people, I will be green (green as a shamrock perhaps!) with envy.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct. 12, 2005
    Location
    Issaquah, WA
    Posts
    678

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    I did a XC lesson at Clonshire and it was fantastic! Their hunters know the course and jump everything in stride. It was a great way to get out, try something new, and have fun.

    Also spent a winter at Crossogue in 2006 and loved it. Leap of Faith lived there as well, so she might have some more insight into how the tourist thing is working there now. Great hunters, great instruction, fun jumps!

    http://www.crossogue-equestrian.ie/

    http://pets.webshots.com/album/567001258iRGbbv



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun. 20, 2008
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    3,912

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    You can't go wrong w/ Willie Leahy and his Inn-to-Inn ride. He was the originator of this type of holiday. The last day now is spent on their cross country course where you can jump as much or as little as you like. you can get more information and other tips from www.horseridingvacations.com - a US booking agent.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug. 10, 1999
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    Ireland & sometimes the US ;)
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    11,073

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    Anyone heading to Clonshire or Willie Leahy's, give me a shout, and perhaps I will come watch or at least go for a pint... or sell you some lovely homebreds....
    co-author of 101 Jumping Exercises & The Rider's Fitness Program; Soon to come: Dead Ringer - a tale of equine mystery and intrique! Former Moderator!



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar. 18, 2000
    Location
    Brantford, Ontario
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    Weatherford - I wish we'd known that when we were there! If we ever go back... From reading your posts over the past several years, you seem like such a lovely, fascinating person!



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