Friday, August 6, 2010
A river ran through it and so did we
Since the Burren and Limerick, we have travelled through counties Roscommon, Offaly and Tipperary. Everywhere we’ve been, we’ve been given such a brilliant welcome. Great food and the prime spot for the horses to put their feet up. There hasn’t been much grass growing all over Ireland and people are still feeding hay and hard feed all summer long. This must be pretty expensive and it means many horses haven’t got that great summer condition you’d want them to. We rode out with the intern students working at Derek O’Byrne’s Western riding Centre. He and his team were just back from winning several trophies at the championships in Germany. He had several gorgeous stallions there as well, one white apaloosa called Don Juan which was like a picture postcard or straight out of the Silver Brumby.
As soon as Rosie’s hooves hit the grass, she was immediately in the mood for a blow out. In the end it was just a little stroll in the sunshine. Both horses got their opportunity the next day in Birr Equestrian Centre who kindly put us up the following night. Two helpful youngsters said their stables were ready but we could put them out if we wanted ‘in that field, there’s no one else in it’.....famous last words. They then mentioned that the mare in the next field might come to the hedge and say hello. There was in fact no fence between the fields and so off they all went. Then a trek passed through. 4 peaceful ponies on lead rein with tiny children on board. Windy led the herd at full tilt between trekking pony two and three. I was watching on mortified and helpless. Then six or so more horses spotted them and jumped the car tyres that separated them and suddenly there was ten horses on the horizon going flat to the boards over endless fields with Windy at the head. At one point he took on the cross country course. Up the biggest bank and down over two jumps, just for the sheer fun of it. As I texted Susi for help, it turned out she was ringing me from across the fields at the same moment. We met half way to try and extricate our two before a) they got injured or b) before we were kicked off the property for disturbing the peace. Noel Cosgrove, who’s place it is, was in the arena showing ponies to two small children and their parents with a view to maybe selling. I dread to think what happened to that plan after the stampede and the resulting bucking and running amock of the two ponies, one child being briefly run away with!
Again the young helpers there were great; finding us tonnes of hay, a lamp and electricity and generally taking care of everything. And of course loving and admiring Windy and Rosie who are huge in comparison to many of the horses we’ve met, especially the pintos and other colourful western breeds. The next day we had a lovely ride in the arena and along their avenue.
That was quite enough though of sleeping in the lorry and travelling around with the horses, so we made a break for home and went to Susi’s near Goresbridge. The horses had a deep field of grass to play with for their last night together. We rode up to the local woods and it was heaven. Miles of wide grassy tracks in between the trees and the horses flying it.
All too soon after, it was like heart break hotel. We were loading Windy up to return to a field up here. He’s on his own again now, except for the goats who were pleased to see him. He looked at me a little askance as I left, as if to say, where did I go wrong? Know the feeling!