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Ever since I was a little kid, I have dreamed about what it would be like to gallop across the countryside in far off places like Ireland and England. Since then I have become nothing short of a horse crazy adult and during our travels I have done what I could to get in the saddle.
I miss the horse world back home and every time I come across a horse during our travels it almost moves me to tears from the passion I have for them.
Ireland wasn’t always on the plan, it sort of pushed it’s way into our itinerary when we had two weeks become available before our travels in Africa. It is a place I have tried to visit 3 times before, each time failing from natural disasters to airline problems, but the time had finally come and I knew I would get some saddle time here.
Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Ireland (Travel Guide)
There is an infinite number of places to ride horses in Ireland, from the coast to the hills, to the mountains and to old castle grounds. Each offering you the opportunity to see a quieter off beat side of Ireland. For me, it didn’t matter where I rode, just that I got the privilege to sit astride an Irish mount and gallop through the countryside.
Dingle horse riding did me one better. We started our ride by riding to the top of the hill that overlooks the small fishing village of Dingle. The views from this perspective were beyond beautiful and it gave us a chance to see a different side of the popular village. Once at the top, we gathered together for some photos before I set off with the group leaders for a gallop to the very top of the hill.
This experience is only possible if you have riding experience and by that I don’t mean you’ve sat on a horse before in your life. I mean you know how to ride and you know how to ride well. Plus you are comfortable in an English saddle and able to gallop in two-point for an extended period of time while maintaining you balance.
The 3 of us in the advanced group set off up the hill in a full out gallop. At first I hesitated while my horse, Leah, leaned forward and assured me to just let her gallop. I am not someone that likes to get on a strange horse and take off galloping through the hills. I have had my share of spills and thrills with young horses, so I can tend to be cautious, although I am a very skilled and advanced rider.
The experience was liberating for me and exactly what I needed. To take a bit of edge off and just feel what it was like to gallop on a horse again. I leaned forward and gave my mare free rein as we neared the center point of the hill gallop, she responded by finding another gear and pricking her ears forward at the increase in speed.
Reaching the top came fast and before I knew it we were calmly walking our horses down the hill to rejoin the group. For the advanced group, our ride didn’t stop there, we left the beginner group who headed towards the yard, for a road trot through the village and onto a secluded beach just outside of town.
Here we galloped our horses along the beach and played in the ocean. Each horse loving their chance to have a free gallop followed by a chance to splash and play in the water. There are hardly words to describe the experience when it is something you have dreamed of doing your whole life. to put it softly, if was nothing short of perfect and met all my expectations. I cannot wait to return to Ireland for a multi-day trek and more time in the saddle.
Want to go Horseback Riding in Ireland?
I can recommend Dingle Horse Riding located right on the edge of Dingle village. The facilities are well-kept and the horses are beautifully cared for. The girls explained to me that they receive thorough care and are monitored year-round for fitness and health. The horses go out once per day to keep them fresh and loving their jobs, as opposed to doing multiple trail rides each day.
The staff does a great job of evaluating riders and matching them with a suitable horse. You can’t pull the wool over their eyes, regardless of what you put on your form about your riding skill, they will put you up on a horse for a trial ride in the arena and make their own decision about what you are suited for.
All riders are provided with boots and helmets. Gloves and chaps are available at request to advanced riders. It’s important that you pay attention to the quality of the facility and care of the animals when participating in animal related tourism. I can vouch that this facility maintains a high level of care and concern for their horses.
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