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Horseback riding in Ireland

Old Jan 30th, 2001, 07:29 AM
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Horseback riding in Ireland

My daughter (10) and I are interested in maybe some horseback riding while in Ireland this summer. But we're novices and have only ridden on Western saddles. Anybody foresee any problems?
Old Jan 30th, 2001, 10:17 AM
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Kathy - About 10 years ago, my mother and I visited Ireland after I graduated from college. On the Dingle penninsula, we took a pony cart (my mom) and horseback (me) ride to some castle, sorry I don't remember which one. Of course the riding was English, and I have done a some riding both English and Western, so that was not a problem. As I recall, we trotted quite a bit, which meant a lot of posting, something that you don't learn riding Western. You might want to take a lesson or two in English riding before you head to Ireland - to be able to ride there would be a wonderful experience. I think that should familiarize you enough to be able to ride semi-comfortably.
Old Jan 30th, 2001, 01:03 PM
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I went horseback riding in the Gap of Dunloe a few years ago and I am a total novice.
It was fun and easy and the sights were beautiful!
Of course, I was a little sore afterwards...
Old Jan 30th, 2001, 01:32 PM
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I am not a horse rider, and I have never been to this place, but someone posted a message about it fairly recently, and it looked pretty cool to me:

Or try a search here on "Markree" here on this forum.

Old Jan 30th, 2001, 03:24 PM
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Kathy, I have 10 years of Western style riding experience and was a little freaked out at the idea of going "English" or in your case "Irish" style riding (we were in Wales).
First of all they will make you wear a riding helmet, something I have never done before, which is a good thing.

Next, if you are familiar with Western Style you know that you are supposed to held the reins in the left hand, leaving the right free for roping cattle or English style you use both hands, and the horses are not used being lead with the reins going ACROSS their necks as in Western style they are more sensitive to the pulling in with one hand and simultanious letting out on the reins with the other.
Another difference is the stirrups, In Western you ride on the balls of your feet, nearly the entire food fits into a wide stirrup, your heels are in towards the horses flanks. In English you keep the thin, metel stirrup along the arch of your foot and your heels are positioned more outward, away from the flanks of the horse.
The saddles for English are much thinner and they don't have horns, but if you are a "horn grabber" like I am, there is an arch that you can gab ahold of during a canter or gallop.
But of course the horse wants you to have both hands on the reins so use the grabbing technique with caution.
I recommend you wear thin pants, or even jodpurs (sp) which I found weird, having only worn jeans to ride, but thinner saddles are much easier to get a feel for in thinner clothing and boots are also recommended for the wire stirrups, (the boot heels give your feet something to latch onto)

No doubt I've made it sound way more complicated then it is, but after riding the European way a few times, I started to prefer it, now even here in California, I go "English" style.

PS I can think of no more fantastic way to see the Irish countryside then from the back of a horse, I am sure you will LOVE it!
Old Jan 30th, 2001, 05:18 PM
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This is Kathy... thanks everyone for your input. I think we may try it at least once.. maybe they'll supply us with older, very patient horses!
Old Jan 31st, 2001, 07:03 AM
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Hi Kathy
We had NO experience with riding but last summer my 10 yr old daughter and I enjoyed a very memorable experience "pony trekking" at O'Connors in Mahareese on the Dingle Peninsula. The family run stable was recommended to us by the owners of the house we rented for the last week in June.
The O'Connors appeared well prepared to accomodate all levels of experience. Another family WITH experience were riding the beach themselves while my daughter and I were essentially "walked" on our ponies along the beach by the guide ( the owner's grown daughter).
The experience and the view of the sea and mountains on that beach are something I can't even describe and do justice to. It was just spectacular.
Get advice of places from people on the forum (first hand ) or ask for a reference where you stay, as we did. I think if you investigate and go you won't regret it. Have a wonderful trip!
Old Jan 31st, 2001, 09:49 AM
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Hi Kathy,

I say go for it! If at all possible try to find a local stable and take a few lessons before you go. As long as your comfortable on a horse (i.e. not too worried about falling off) you should be just fine making the change to an english saddle. The lessons will give you a chance to get comfortable with the different saddle as well as how to post and manage the reins. I've been riding in both Wales and Italy and have loved every minute of it. As a riding teacher, I was impressed with how easy going and unflappable the horses were without being dead to the world.

Have fun, Mary
Old Jan 31st, 2001, 11:00 AM
Christopher Woolson
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I went riding in October 2000 while staying in Ventry, one town over from Dingle on the Dingle Peninsula. Staying within Dingle or Ventry is a good idea and each B&B there should have a business card and information. Our B&B owner even called to make a reservation for us -- neither of us were on a horse before so they took it nice and slow for most of the trip (though we were SORE as anything the next day!)

Christopher Woolson
Old Jan 31st, 2001, 11:14 AM
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Hi Kathy, I probably would not do the horseback riding, but I would love to do a "pony trap or cart". I think that looks very interesting and fun...Lexma, did your mom like the "pony trap"? Thyra: I am sooo jealous, I love horses, you are lucky..
Can not wait to go this summer! Judy

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