Horseback Riding Vacations at the Horse Holiday Farm

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VIP Jackson Magazine
Juni 2005

Dreaming About...
Horseback Riding Through Ireland

by Chrissy Cheshire



 

 

 

While visiting with a friend one day, I was told about a horseback riding trip in the northem part of Ireland. After hearing about his adventure and how much fun was had, I knew it had to be my first Dream Endeavor! The idea of being able to ride a horse every day and stay at a cozy Bed and Breakfast every niht sounded rather appealing to me, and I thought it would be something VIP readers would enjoy reading about.I started “Dreaming About...“ in hopes that these trips might inspire my fellow Jacksonians to try exciting new endeavors they might have never thought of before. . .starting with Horse Holiday Farm in Sligo, Ireland!
Everyone I talked to in preparing for my trip to Ireland told me how absolutely beautiful it is. So, I knew I was going somewhere with lush scenery, but I had no idea how spectacular until I arrived there. Never before have 1 been to an area where 1 thought not a single one of the pictures I have ever seen of it did it justice. . .until now.
Pulling into the gate at Horse Holiday Farm, there is a feeling of undisturbed relaxation. Tilman and Colette Anhold, proprietors of this well-run B&B and riding stable, go out of their way to make sure guests are comfortable and happy from the moment you arrive. The farmhouse is on a hill overlooking an island inhabited by sheep and horses that graze on the vibrant green fields surrounding a few weathered stone buildings. The breeze off of the water makes the trees continually sway, capturing an essence of Ireland that everyone who goes there hopes to encounter. The guest rooms are homey and pleasant, and the ambiance of the whole place made me fee! like I actually belonged there.
I am not one to hop up out of a comfortable bed in the morning, but the smell of the traditional Irish breakfast waiting on me downstairs definitely got me up and going! After a tasty meal, life is as laid back as you want it to be at the Farm. You can head to the stables to saddle up your assigned horse of the week and venture out on a trail anytime you feel like it. The stable hands do an excellent job of matching you with one of the farm‘s 97 horses. Most of these horses are Irish Hunters that all seemed very well-mannered and sure-footed.
Soon, it was time to embark on the desired trail of the day. You either can choose to stay at Horse Holiday Farm and go Riding by the Sea or hit die longer routes to other B&B‘s by way of the Sligo or Donegal Trail. Riding by the Sea is about a two to five hour ride each day through the miles of Sligo County that inspired the famous poet W.B. Yeats. Everything is mapped out for you to make your way along sandy beaches, up mountains, around histonc castles and waterfalls, and even roam around the island if you time the tide correctly. I was fortunate enough to experience Riding by the Sea with three hilarious British ladies named Gabby, Polly, and Sarah.. .seriously! It was an incredible day of exploring the countryside and beaches. Galloping along die Atlantic Ocean was absolutely exhilara ring! The feeling of power and speed 1 got from being on the horse combined with the surroundings of Ireland made this my favorite part of the trip! After a full day of riding, Horse Holiday Farm has a van that takes everyone to a nearby pub or restaurant for dinner. This gives you a chance to eat a nice meal and see the local villages. One thing is for sure, they no longer have a shortage of potatoes in Ireland! Ireland‘s favorite vegetable is served with just about anything you can imagine.
Two saddle bags, a map with directions, and a key to die gates are all you are given before you are sent on your way down Sligo or Donegal Trail. You might want to train a little before theses trails because a solid amount of time is spent on the horse everyday. You can go from four to seven days on these trails. There is always a pub or two on the way to stop in and grab a bite to eat and converse with the Irishmen that frequent them (one might even say daily!). The trip is full of picturesque lakes, waterfalls, mountains, animals, and Ireland‘s famous stone buildings and fences. The adventure comes in die unexpected happenings that life throws at us on these daily outings, which makes die whole endeavor so unique. Everyone in Jackson could go on this trip and each have a different tale to tell. I think I only had to jump off my horse to save someone else‘s leg once while we were out there! Also, since they are self guided, you get to take care of your horse each afternoon upon reaching your destination point, and again in the morning before leaving. There was definitely a relationship that developed between me and my horse, JoJoe. lt was a little like, “I know that I know more than you, so I´ll make all the decisions here“. . .so, I let him! I ended up having the pleasure of travelling with two ladies from the state of Washington that taught me more than I ever imagined I would come away with and made everything that happened so much more enjoyable. I think no matter where you are in the world, it truly is who you share your experiences with that really matters!
I had a blast chatting with the people I met while riding through the countryside, and I decided that when Tilman and Colette Anhold designed this adventure that maybe this is what was meant to be experienced here. The profound idea of a group setting out an a self-guided expedition that causes them to work together and become closer while enjoying beautiful scenery seems brilliant to me. Even if you want to visit Ireland and only stay for a couple of days to split up your travelling, it is well worth the good time for family, friends, or individuals. For more information on this Dream Endeavor see Horse Holiday Farm at www.horse-holidayfarm.com. Special thanks goes out to Fleet Feet Sports and Tuesday night coins for helping sponsor this Dream Endeavor‘
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