Horseback Riding Vacations at the Horse Holiday Farm

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The Riders-ABC 
Dand E and F

Dandy brush
Also called horse brush. What looks like a cosmetic utensil and is used by many riders to make their horse look shiny and well is a necessity. On the one hand, the brushing and grooming with currycomb and dandy brush gives the horses a beneficial massage, which first of all serves for better circulation, and on the other hand, all grains of sand and dirt particles which may turn into real rasps under the girth or saddle are removed. It should also be mentioned that cleaning and brushing are the first pleasant ways of making contact between rider and horse. A bit of fondling and agreeable brushing is perceived as pleasant by a horse too.

Dinner is served! The time for evening meal is, just as the time for breakfast, one of the sacred and unalterable cornerstones of a stay at Horse Holiday Farm. The substantial breakfast is usually served from 9 to 10 a.m. In the evening, all riders should be back for dinner by 7.00 p.m. The time required for grooming and stabling the horses should be planned for and taken into account. Do not groom your horses when feeding them. The trail stations expect the riders to be back for 7.00 p.m. although nobody will complain if, especially after longer rides, or an involuntary detour, someone arrives a little later.

A delicate and yet a fundamental subject. Horses are by nature apt to seize; power. In their herd they fight and establish dominance and which horse has got which position in the order of rank. This is basically the same as with humans. The horse must know who is the boss. This is the precondition for it to obey you and to do, and actually to do only, what you ask it to do. In precarious and dangerous situations dominance is there fore the most important prerequisite in mastering the problem of safety. You as the rider must never allow any doubts to arise as to your claim to leadership. Remember you do it and that it draws conclusions from these observations. Just the way you approach it in the field and how you ask it to follow you to the sable allows the animal to draw important conclusions. Also be prepared for the fact that it might want to try out very quickly how consequently you react to one or the other bad habits. Again; do not allow any doubts to arise as to the fact, that you as the rider, are the only one to have the say. Anyone who approaches his animal apprehensively has already lost in principle. In case of good-natured and insensitive animals this will usually have no consequences but every animal behaves differently according to its mood and condition. To create dominance does not
mean, however, to brandish the whip firmly and furiously or to use physical force, but it means that along with love and care, you should give the animal to understand your capability of physical dominance, and clearly that you are of
consequence. This is not so easy because - between ourselves - we have actually no chance again the horse; it is head and shoulders above us as far as strength, speed and mass are concerned. But we must never let the horse feel this. As a rider the only advantage you have over the horse is that you have your mental strength to set against this overwhelming physical strength. In this respect every rider is to behave like the tamer of beasts in the circus. With small hints and clear gestures copied from the disputes of the horses among each other, we can set ourselves up towards the animals the more powerful "leader" and the horse will accept our claim to power. On the ground you can already make the horse obey using just reins or halter, a wave of the hand of whip, make the horse leave your immediate circle, send its head to the side or direct it backwards occasionally. This is an elementary submissive exercise. Principle; the horse should make room for you, should retreat from you. This is copied from the behaviour in the field where the weaker animal always gives way to the stronger one.

The eldest of the two lads from the house. He is keen on videos and an expert at riding. He regularly collects prizes with his horses at the various competitions in the area.

The most northern county of the Republic with the most original and contrasting countryside of all Ireland; a rugged coastline with steep, precipitous cliffs, fjord-like bays and miles of lonely beaches, barren mountains with vast moors, only populated by thousands of sheep, lovely long valleys and charming lakes. Geologically the countryside belongs to the Scottish Highlands. Touristically Donegal could, after its present slumber, easily challenge Kerry and Connemara one day. For trail riders it is therefore, rightly claimed as an eldorado for their trips of discovery. The Donegal Trail leads through the southern part of the county and offers a representative cross section. Each day is made outstanding by a new impression.
Donegal - this is also the town, which could be called the gateway to the county of the same name. The hustle and bustle, which is comparatively abundant here, creates an attraction for the people from the near and far surrounding area. They occasionally shop here when looking for something special; and it is also an attraction for tourists. Donegal is the centre for tweed, which is woven by home workers and appreciated all over the world. The centre of the town of Donegal is the Diamond, an almost square place. In the middle of it; the Four Masters Memorial. The seven-metres-high obelisk is a memorial of the four Fathers of the local Franciscan Monastery who, in the l7th century, wrote the most important work about the former Irish Church history; "The Annals of the Four Masters". This is where the major roads from Sligo, Londonderry and from West Donegal meet. Until the l7th century Donegal used to be the residence of the O'Donnells, one of the old Ulster houses. The name comes from the Gaelic "Dun na n Gall" which means 'castle of strangers'. Behind the central square there is Donegal Castle, a castle originally built in the l5th century which was repeatedly changed and converted during the course of history.

The most unpleasant form of the inevitable precipitation. For people wearing glasses it causes impairment beyond description. If it lasts several hours its penetration is hard to predict, therefore, a coat of waxed cotton is the safest and most lasting protection.

A tiny village on the main road between Grange and Sligo. Worth seeing are the churchyard, with a high cross from the l0th century, and the grave of the Irish poet William Butler Yeats who grew up in this area and immortalised the atmosphere of this countryside in his work. The grave looks quite modern and has been provided with a plain stone. The epitaph, however, is impressive. Yeats himself wrote it for us riders; "Cast a cold eye on life, on death. Horseman, pass by"

An extensive area of dunes is visible from the farm. During the trail some passages lure you through the dunes. If you ride through them you will feel like Winnetou and Old Shatterhand on a track. A fantastic experience the horses are sufficiently agile and tread-safe to pass up and down unharmed, even with pleasure. Danger lurks at the breaking edges and there are numerous rabbit warrens where the horses - especially during trot or gallop - can strain their ankles. And it is said that some horses, as soon as, they are left in peace here for a few moments, make an attempt to roll in the pleasant sand together with their rider, saddle and luggage …………..

Ear (play)
The rider can learn from the movements of the ears to whom or what his horse pays attention. Like radar antennae they are permanently in motion and directed towards what seems to be the most important thing to them. If it is the rider all the better …….. you are in control of the situation. If your horse's ears are clearly laid back, almost touching the neck
you can be sure that is not happy about something. Laid-back ears are a clear threatening gesture among the horses.

Ellen's Pub
Original pub in Magherow about 25 kilometres away from the farm. With the horse it can be reached only via the Sligo Trail The thatched cottage is the meeting point of the farmers from the surrounding area. The interior and the atmosphere are special. Recommended by different travel guidebooks. Ellen's is on the programme of many back packers who wait for the music night together with the locals and with a pint of Guinness in front of them.

A sense organ which exhibits a surprising capability when considering the horse. Horses have a much larger field of vision than we humans do. Your horse can "see " you sitting in the saddle, for instance, without having to swing round its head. Sudden movements [for instance, putting on or taking off a coat] may frighten it and cause real panic reactions.

Especially plastic bags or bin liners flapping in the wind and other not clearly identifiable objects at the side of the road are registered by the horse and gazed at with an anxious look. In order to precisely fix on a potential danger the horse
must move its head in that direction. So, if your horse ever becomes nervous or anxious, do not forget that it might have perceived something, which you have not noticed so far.

An indispensable shock absorber and buffer between saddle and horseback. The felt is to be placed on top of the blanket. Always check thoroughly, to ensure that it serves as a protection. During saddling-up, pull the felt up a little at the front of the saddle so as to relieve the tension. The felt must always be kept meticulously clean. During trail rides the felt should be laid on in such a way that the saddlebags could rest on it.

Should actually close a paddock or field in a way that the animals within cannot get out. Therefore, it is not useful to tie your horse to it with a rope. You can definitely expect it to tear this fence down as soon as you have turned your back and will run past you together with the lot. This also applies to gates that are not good for tethering either.

Regular quarters of all horses at Horse Holiday Farm. In the morning the rider must fetch his horse from the field and in the evening he has to take it back there. As an incentive to be picked up from the field the horses are given a bucket of food in their box and in the evening, before being taken back to the field or after a ride they are fed again.

A pest of the harmless kind. On windless days when they appear in large numbers they may make the horses a little nervous. More of a nuisance; gnats, tiny midges and horseflies. There is no effective and especially no lasting protection against them. Insect repellent sprays usually help just for a short time, and even the vinegar solution sprayed on the horse's neck and breast in an emergency will lose its effect after a short time.

Before you start in the morning and at the end of the day feeding is called for. This goes for animals, just as for humans. Whether it is on the farm or on a trail, the horses know this. They expect it. After a days work, especially after long and great strain, they are sometimes very, very hungry and consequently greedy. Watch out for the rivalry among the animals! If possible, they should all receive their fodder at the same time so that they don't get envious. Also be careful at the trail station whose feeder might good naturedly busy himself with the fodder bucket in the shed next door. In such situations even calm and well-behaved horses may turn into beasts. Avoid all circumstances that may cause your horse to try to push through a door with you still in the saddle.
It goes without saying that every rider allows his horse the time it needs to empty its bucket or trough. Grooming, cleaning the feet and anything else that needs doing to the animals must wait in the meantime. Do not groom your horse whilst it is feeding. During feeding we keep the horse on the halter for more safety. Each animal takes its own rhythm. Watch out if one happens to kick against the others trough….

The Horse Holiday Farm is Bord Fáilte (Irish Tourist Board) approved and
a member of A.I.R.E., the Association of Irish Riding Establishments.

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