| My two horse-owning sisters
and I had always been intrigued by those ads in the horse magazines
for equestrian vacations. Finally
having come to the conclusion that life is too short to postpone those
activities one really wants to experience, we booked a week in Ireland
with Cross Country International.
Our three non-horsey husbands politely declined our invitations
to come along, so off we flew for our adventure in the south western
corner of County Kerry.
Based on pre-trip
questionnaires as to size and riding ability, we were matched up
with a horse and a group of ten riders and tow guides for a week.
Our first glimpse of our horses was a bit disconcerting.
From a huge truck that held twenty-one tracked -up horses,
by the side of a road in the pouring rain, came out twelve steeds.
At first glance,
most of these horses were from what I would call beautiful.
Many were large Irish draft cross-breads, shaggy fetlocks
and all. While I was
not impressed by their looks, my initial misgivings quickly changed
to great admiration for the animals.
These tough will cared for horses knew their job and did
it well. They were
in top condition and carried us four hours a day at a fairly fast
pace over every type of terrain imaginable.
They routinely performed tasks you and I would never ask
our horses here to do; for example, several times a day there were
fifteen minute trots (I timed them) over paved country roads.
And throughout the day our guides piping Irish voice would
cheerily call out for us to secure our belongings for "a little
canter" - and off we would go-over rocks and through mud and enormous
puddles, at a pace we would call a gallop!
The Large, well-shod feet of these sure-footed horses served
them well and I observed no stumbles or slips.
Two mornings were spent on wide ocean beaches and the many
full-out gallops were experienced on the hard-packed sand and into
the surf were exhilarating and thrilling, to say the least.
The horses seemed to enjoy this as much as we did, and did
not sweat or even breathe hard from the exertion.
Both horses and
riders were will maintained but not pampered.
A typical day would start, after a hearty breakfast, at 10.30a.m.
when our horses were presented to us, ready to go.
Then we would ride as a group for two hours, stop for a picnic
lunch and ride on for another two hours.
There were no rest stops, other than Kodak moments.
Our horses were taken away from us in the late afternoon
and we were transported to our bed and breakfast.
We then had the evening free to explore the nearby town.
Two of the towns were small seaside resorts but three nights
were spent in Killarney, a tourist heaven of shopping, restaurants
and pubs with traditional Irish music.
Our riding group,
besides us three sisters consisted of four other Americans-two girls
just graduated from college and a couple from Connecticut.
In addition, there was a couple from Germany, a young man
from Holland and our two charming Irish guides.
All the guests were experienced horse people, and we enjoyed
getting to know them and their mounts.
perfect, right? If
there was a downside to this trip, it was the weather.
We had expected some precipitation, but even the guides were
a bit taken aback when it rained steadily for three of the six riding
days! However, it was
not cold (60-65 degrees) and we all had water-proof clothing that
kept us comfortable. Ireland
is such a beautiful country?
The rural and seascape vistas we were treated to daily were
spectacular, whether viewed
through blowing mist, a downpour or brilliant sunshine.
Would we do it again?
was the perfect vacation for the avid trail rider who wants to experience
a foreign country while doing what she loves best.
00353 64 66 31686
Fax: 00353 64 66 34119
Telephone: 011 353 64 66 31686
Fax: 011 353 64 66 34119
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