Breeding result of the crossing between a Draught mare and a thoroughbred
stallion. Robust, good-natured, receptive, fast and sure-footed - these
are the most important of the positive characteristics, which make the
Irish Hunter stand out. A really versatile horse which is particularly
well suited for trail riding. Most of the horses at the riding schools
and stables on our continent could copy a great deal from these character
Dernish Isle situated directly opposite the farm can be easily reached
when the tide is out. You ride from the farm down to the beach and then
across the stony and rocky coastline for some kilometres along the mud
-flats. Do not be afraid of the slightly slippery stone path, the horses
are sure-footed and master this course with style. Of course, you could
not expect your school horseback home, to walk on such a ground; it would
probably break every bone. On the way to the island deep tideway's force
you to make a considerable detour. You will probably think you have almost
reached Grange before you can actually cross the mud flats to the island.
By the way: on sandbanks off the island you can often watch seal families
sunbathing there leisurely.
A mountain very close to Sligo. The name refers to its legendary past
because Knocknarea means "execution hill". It is almost 330
metres high. From the top you have a terrific view of Sligo and the coastline
with its bays, beaches and cliffs. When visibility is good the view extends
up to Connemara on the one side and to Donegal in the opposite direction.
It is worthwhile climbing Knocknarea, especially because of Queen Maeve's
Grave, a megalithic burial chamber. A place inter-twined with myth since
Maeve, Queen of Connacht, is generally considered as the first liberator
in Irish legend. Her chase of the Brown Bull of Cooley and the subsequent
bloody wars between Ulster and Connacht supplied the material for one
of the most famous Irish Legends: "The Tain". The stone hill
on Mount Knocknarea, which is said, by archaeologists, to be a burial
place, consists of some 40,000 loosely arranged pieces of rock. So far
the secret of the burial chamber has not been unearthed because it is
feared that an intrusive study would cause the rocks to collapse.
A place in Grange worth seeing. Apart from Barry's it is a good recommendation
for a rest. It is worth seeing because here a traditional corner shop
is combined with an original pub. At Lang.'s you can get everything which
is needed for daily use: meat, cheese, butter, milk, tea, bread, eggs,
vegetables, washing powder, candles, matches and most essential pills
and powders for sore throats, colds, stomach-ache and many other ailments.
Sometime or other a film producer from Hollywood will probably come along
and want to buy the whole shop along with its entire inventory. You can
do your shopping here until the evening hours, and savour a pint on the
side. This is why even the men in Ireland volunteer to go shopping. On
the ceiling hooks are fastened which were used for the drying of meat.
They may be very useful and fashionable in Germany for the dressage rider
but in Ireland - especially for trail riding - leather boots have decisive
disadvantages. Rubber boots are more practical, and above all, tighter
and better suited against moisture. This can be put to the test on most
of the soaking wet fields or on the numerous moors. If required, a bootjack
should be taken on the trail because some stations unfortunately have
not got the right tools available for this liberation exercise.
The dampness in the boots should be combated with newspaper, which you
crumple into the shaft in the evening. In the morning the boots have
usually completely dried out as if by magic. Never put rubber boots in
front of the open fireplace or an oven. Sometimes, they literally melt
away after this favour. With leather boots, too, extreme care is to be
taken when exposing them to open fires and excessive heat.
Anyone, who has problems slipping into the shaft in the morning because
the boot's shaft or the socks are still damp, can make things easier
using special talcum powder or simple body talcum powder. And by the
way, the powder moderates many an unpleasant whiff arising from the boots!
If even this household remedy fails, you can also try your luck with
a bin liner, which is put on like a sock.
Noble crustacean from the sea. Fresh lobster is served for dinner at
the farm upon request at an additional cost. A unique messing about,
a medieval feast. The lobsters from this area are a speciality and are
in international demand. Many of them are exported to France, the country
of gourmets. Nowhere else will you get them so well prepared and so fresh
and tasty, than here at the farm.
A large, idyllically situated lake three kilometres east of Sligo. Twenty
islands, each one more idyllic than the other, mark the picturesque scene.
The poet William Butler Yeats chose Lough Gill and especially the island
Inishfree as his favourite place. Inishfree has been immortalised in
one of his poems. A business-minded Irishman offers trips across the
lakes with his little motorboat. On this trip you will discover more
details about the individual islands. The Sligo Trail takes you past
some beautiful places on the shores of Lough Gill. In addition, the lake
is a popular destination even for the rest day.
Also within the rider's reach: "Parke's Castle" on the northern
shore of the lake, situated on the road from Sligo to Dromahair. On the
Sligo Trail this castle makes it worthwhile to do a little detour. It
has now been renovated to a large extent and is worth seeing. Here you
can find more details about the cultural history of the country and about
the life and customs of the former knights.
hair is less a decoration than a useful aid. Just as the tail
it is used above all to drive the insects away. At Horse Holiday
Farm its cleaning is restricted to brushing. A comb might get
stuck and would rip out more hair than necessary.
Certainly worth seeing, although in some places, they are still scarred
by rubbish and waste. Apparently, many Irish people have not been properly
convinced of the need for environmental protection, although a pleasant
change is slowly evolving and wild dumping grounds are getting less.
The exploitative way in which the moors are utilised and deprived of
their peat also shows a lack of thought. Numerous peat fires and open
fireplaces are smoking away. The pungent smell hanging over villages
and even whole areas is unmistakable. This idyll has its price. The cosy
fire in the open fireplace cannot be enjoyed without regrets. Since only
little wood and little coal are available in Ireland, peat is nowadays
still the only inexpensive raw material, which can be used for heating.
On the other hand, the trail passages over the moors are some of the
most impressive parts of the holiday. Swaying ground under the hooves.
Soaking wet brown-green endlessness all around. No sound except for the
whistling of the wind. Only a few birds find their way into this area.
The impressions imparted to the rider can hardly be put into words. The
feeling produced by the vista of the sparse vegetation is overwhelming.
Nevertheless, the vegetation is characterised by numerous surprising
peculiarities. Some of the plants are found only here.
It is a problem and sometimes an adventure for the rider if the route
is obstructed by potholes so that your way is blocked. In these cases
calm and level headedness, along with riding skills are certainly required.
The horses sense the difficulty and suddenly refuse to go on. Not even
biscuits or friendly persuasion will help you to move forward. Sometimes
this means dismounting and leading the horse firmly, but sensitively
across the difficult obstacle. In other situations, the rider should
remain in his seat and direct his horse across pallets, narrow paths
and unsafe ground when it is not possible to be sure that the green on
the right and left of the pathway is without dangerous pot holes. Potholes
cause great problems for all trail riders. For skilled and courageous
people they offer challenge and adventure for panicking and anxious people
without self-confidence they can, no doubt, be dangerous. However, confidence
is given by the fact that up to now the horses have always found a way
out of all these pot holes obstructing the way during a trail - no matter
how deep and dangerous they may have looked. It just looks a lot more
dramatic than it actually is. Riders who have passed the test can tell
you a thing or two about it all. Most of the reports belong into the
category: rider's yarns.
Mounting and dismounting
At the stables, the horse should be taken to the sand paddock where the
rider should swing himself into the saddle using a mounting aid if necessary.
Note: in the stable walkway the horses can easily slip or skid and for
the rider it is definitely more pleasant to land gently in the sand than
on hard concrete. This way, you also avoid twisting your ankle as you
Small, nice seaside resort a few kilometres north of the farm. At the
weekend there is always something going on in Mullaghmore, bands are
playing in the bars and pubs or there are music sessions. The bars of
the Beach Hotel and the Pier Hotel are popular meeting points.
Mullaghmore beach, just less than three kilometres long, is well sheltered
and entices you to go swimming. In the meantime, it has been more or
less closed for riders. People on the beach are not too pleased about
groups of riders going right through the middle of their playing children's
From Mullaghmore you can be taken across to the island of Inishmurray
where an early 6th century Christian monastic settlement with dwellings
called beehive cells, can be visited. The crossing takes more than an
hour. The boat should be chartered a few days in advance.
Unpleasant [and completely uncalled for] response of your own flesh to
unfamiliar strain. Mostly it appears in places where you would hardly
expect to have muscles at all. Untrained riders are afflicted by it after
one or two days of longer rides or during the trails. It is not dramatic
but is extremely annoying because your freedom of movement is restricted.
Except for heat [sauna] and a little massage there is no remedy for this
- unless you prepare yourself at home for these strains beforehand. Gymnastics
and stretching are good exercises. One riding lesson per week is hardly
sufficient for preparation.