Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Trekking & the Great Western Greenway

I am horribly behind on blogging about Ireland but I still wanted to share a little bit more about our trip. One of the big things I wanted to do while in Ireland was go riding. We ended up having a really difficult time finding the place wher we were going, and we drove around for 2 hours before we finally found it! Once there they matched us up with horses and off we went. Both of my parents went with me. Each of them has some horse experience but they don't normally ride. We set off with the trek leader, then my dad, my mom, and I brought up the rear on an Irish Hunter named Blondie. They kept telling me she was a great trekking horse but that she was young. I asked how old she was and they said 5. To me 5 isn't that young...but oh well.

We were barely out of the gate and all of our horses spooked at nothing something. They all pretty much jumped in place, so no big deal. We continued out through their cross country field before turning on to more of a trail. All of the sudden my mom's horse lunged forward and mine went right after him. They both turned sideways and ran up behind my dad's horse. Thankfully my mom got her's stopped and I got Blondie stopped. It ended up that there was a groupd of riders out jumping cross country and they were behind us on the trail. So nothing to take off about but then again, it must have been terrifying.  At this point I shortened Blondie's reins up, because lets face it, I'm on an unknown horse who has now spooked twice in 10 minutes and I really don't feel like getting dumped. Well she didn't like that and rooted at the reins and tossed her head the rest of the ride. Ugh! Towards the end of our ride the trail turned extremely rocky with big boulders and then mud around them. The horses were stumbling over/around them to get back on the road. I was just praying none of the horse would trip badly.

My impression is that they are much more "rough and ready" in their riding than we are here. I would not have taken my own personal horse down that muddy boulder filled trail, but they seemed to think it was not a problem and it's part of their mapped out trail ride. I also wouldn't have put random strangers on such spooky horses. Thankfully we all made it back to the barn in one piece and I can check of the box, "horseback riding in Ireland."
On the trail riding back

Not sure what Blondi was doing in this photo. My dad got a 22 year old thoroughbred named Jack. He was a total doll the whole time!
Blondie and I
The next day, we headed out early to do a bicyle ride along the Great Western Greenway. Its a bike path between some coast towns in Ireland, and it's build on an old rail road track. I normally don't ride bikes and haven't really ridden since I was young but it did sound like fun. I was hoping that my parents would be sore from riding and that would slow them down, as they are regular bike riders. An hour horse ride was not enough to make them sore but they went slow for me anyway.

 The bike store shuttles you to the end of the 26 mile path and you ride back to the bike shop. The very start of our ride we had to ride on the road. I crashed into a white vinyl fence almost right out of the gate. Thankfully I got a bit more coordinated as the ride went on and was able to relax and enjoy it. We saw some gorgeous scenery and it was a really. I did make it the whole 26 miles, although I walked the last few hills...I was just too tired. I wasn't even too sore the next day. Yah! Here are some photos!






4 comments:

  1. How cool that you got to share that with your parents! That is my impression of Ireland too, though I haven't been there, a good friend of mine in the equine program at SMWC did a semester of study abroad there. She's a western girl with no jumping experience, but, as she tells it, they put her on a horse the first day, slapped it on the rump and sent her over a 4 foot fence. We are a lot more cautious in general over here, I think.

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    1. That's definitely the feeling I got too! It was interesting. :)

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  2. Irish riders are nuts! They will ride anything over/through anything!

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