Monday, February 1, 2016

That one time

I rode in Ireland.  So I took a huge trip last April and then promptly took an unplanned break from blogging and then never shared it with you guys.  Soooooo many adventures happened, not the least of which was riding a couple horses.  My jump trainer here spent some time in Ireland years back (circa 2000ish) and when she heard I was going gave me the name of the brothers she rode with.
So much fun

*fast forward to driving to Phoenix with her a few weeks ago.  She didn't realize that I would actually go find said brothers who have a farm in Northern Ireland.  She hadn't actually talked to them in years and had to find their e-mails via google.  She was a little worried considering they are quintessential Irish guys who throw you up on anything and say, 'go jump!'  I told her no worries, they were just like eventing racetrackers.  She laughed, agreed, and I think finally stopped feeling guilty for possibly throwing me to the wolves.

Back to my point.  I conversed with them via e-mail and then text and finally a phone call the morning we headed over.  We had spent the night near the Giant's Causeway and their farm was about a 2 hour drive south.  Backing up though check out these pictures from the northern coast.
Just us surprising local folk with our matching red hair and American accents

Can I just look at this all day?

Hellz yeah I walked over that (rope) bridge (Carrick a rede)

Giant's Causeway
I took so many pictures.  Anyways back to riding.  We arrived at the farm, I just had on jeans as I didn't want to be presumptuous, but yeah I had helmet, breeches, and half chaps waiting in the car.  This was the one place I somehow failed at taking pictures, don't hate me.  One of them was riding in the outdoor ring and promptly hopped off to show us around.  The barn was huge, full of stalls and tack rooms and indoor arena and an upstairs office/kitchen/lounge.  There were a bunch of working student type girls tacking horses and grooming and cleaning.  After some introductions and chit chat he asked if I wanted to ride.  I resisted the urge to jump up and down and clap my hands, but did dash to car to change in the back seat.  When I walked back into the barn all suited up Trevor's eyes about fell out of his head, he said something about how I could have used the bathroom to change, my husband just shook his head.  I was legged up onto a cute bay gelding, he was a good boy albeit dead to the leg.
Smiles for days
 I jumped him around a bit while he coached one of the girls.  I felt rather uncoordinated as he was a kick ride,which I hadn't done in a while.  Eugene (my husband, I always call him hubby here, but his name is Eugene) mentioned that I was used to something a little hotter, aka she gallops at the track.  Once I had sufficiently proven myself I got to get on another horse.  She was so cute!  Her name Juniper and I wanted to take her home.
Hay and bedding storage at one end of the ring

Neat perforated metal walls, blocked rain/wind but let in light
 He told me to ride around and get a feel.  I had to promptly put her to work as she was a spook, but she was light on my aids and willing to listen.  He had me go over some little things and I fell in love a bit more.
Mini brick wall

I think these jumps are 3' or 3'3"
 Then he said I could do the bigger jumps.  They felt small, but then when I was back on my own two feet I realized they were actually decent sized.  Well she jumped around like a champ and I couldn't stop smiling.  When I got off he informed me that he was very pleased to see her go around so well as he was the only one who rode her since she liked to stand on her hind legs no less than two weeks ago.  Alrighty.  She had just done well at a show the weekend before and guess I was her first ride back.  Thank goodness Eugene is used to me riding assorted horses.
Juniper's adorable face
 Then we went upstairs for tea and called Steph on video chat at 7am Idaho time.  She was flabbergasted and we all had a good laugh.
Inside one of their two lorries

And outside
 We settled into the worn leather sofas and traded stories for over an hour.  They really hit it off with the hubby wanting to hear all about American racehorse training.  We could have just stayed the whole day!
Arena is on the backside of these stalls

Not too bad

Happily munching away on hay

Bridle wall

Saddle wall
 Sadly the hubby kindof failed at getting very many pictures of me riding, no worries though it was still amazing.
Check me out waiting for the jump
 We talked about several celebrity status eventers.  They have supplied horses to many people in the US and even rode on the Irish olympic eventing team at one point.  Here is a link to their facebook page: Smith Brother's Eventing
Gallop track around the cross country course

Bank complex

Water jump
Overall it was so worth the drive and time.  Eugene and I both had a blast.


  1. Wow what an incredible experience! Thanks for sharing about it!

  2. such a cool opportunity - and great pictures too!! how awesome for your jump trainer to be able to hook you up like that!!! (also i love the matching red hair pic :)

  3. What a cool experience!! I've always wanted to go to Ireland. Such a cool place.

  4. That is super cool. Ireland is amazing and I LOVED doing that rope bridge.

  5. So cool! Always useful to have a horsey hubby in a place like that. :-)

  6. How cool! What an amazing experience!

  7. Wow, great views and awesome horse time! Fabulous.

  8. Wow! Amazing experience, thanks for sharing it!

  9. Squeee I cannot wait to read any other thoughts and tidbits you wish to share about your time in Ireland. I miss the equine life in Ireland ever day!!!!

  10. I wish I was there. I would have taken all the pictures.