Cross country riding in Ireland

What does a horse girl do on her vacation? She spends it with horses.

With whom does she spend her vacation? With the friends from the stable, of course.

Does she has to stay home, to take care of her own horse? No, she doesn’t, she leaves the horse in her friends good care.

Then where does she go? To Ireland, for a week of cross country jumping.

a toilet with a view

And here we are!

Me, Lennart and Sabrina. We arrived yesterday, to get a quiet first day to settle in at the lovely hotel. Today we were dressed and ready at 9.00 for the first ride of the day. I got to ride Spirit, a skewbald mare. Lennart got the grey Luigi, and Sabrina the brown Miley. We started riding in the arena, to get to know the horses a bit and to prove to the staff that we could stay on the horse when it jumped. We did and were soon moving out into the fields for a slow start with an introduction to cross country jumping.

Kim on Spirit, Lennart on Luigi

Out in the fields there’s a lot of different fences, we jumped logs, smaller fences, tyres and ended with jumping up and down banks. Everything went great, Spirit really liked jumping and jumped really well. I could really feel her happiness every time I steered her towards a fence.

After this first hour, we directly rode out again, no change in horses. It was a rather big group riding out, 18 riders and horses. As it was such a big group we thought it would be a calmer ride up the mountain. To our surprise we began jumping the logs in the nearby woods. After a couple of logs and a jump up directly followed by a drop, we moved in to the fields and jumped a drop from a bank, some more logs, yet another drop and even more logs. We jumped a rather skinny log and a lot of other fences. As always when having too much fun time flew by and soon the hour was over, but not before we got yet another lap in the woods, riding through the water.

Lennart on Luigi

By now we had been riding for two hours, I think we all figured it was time for a break. When most of the other riders unmounted, we stayed mounted yet again. This time we went up the mountain for a couple of lovely canters and views. We were all starting to feel a bit tired and hungry, and after these first three hours in the saddle we were more than happy to get a lunch break before the next ride. Rarely has a BLT sandwich tasted so good! And just to sit down and relax for a while was lovely.

At two o’clock we were back up in the saddle. This time I got to ride my favourite from the last year - Fionn. Lennart got Romeo. Sabrina got Rua - a suiting name for a chestnut mare, as Rua means red in Irish.

Sabrina and Rua, Lennart and Romeo in the back

This time we got a lesson in cross country jumping out in the fields near the stable. We mainly focused on making the drop, but we also jumped a ditch with a log on top and a skinny log after a bigger drop. A really fun lesson, Fionn is such a nice horse, and he really loves his jumping. I need to start using my legs more and not throw myself over the horse's neck when jumping. I also need to find a good length of the reins for the drop. I don’t want to keep them too short - letting the horse pull me out of the saddle, but not too long either - rendering me with less control over the horse after the drop. As a first day this was perfect. I don’t think I could have survived another ride today, but I wouldn’t have wanted to ride any less either.

me and Fionn after the ride