Yesterday Lucy and I went to Markree Riding Stables in Collooney, Co. Sligo. It’s only about ten minutes down the road from us and it’s set on the grounds of Markree Castle (which has recently be sold – but that’s another story). We were welcomed by Caroline, who owns the stables along with her husband Rocky.
Lucy was riding Arrow and I was riding Bruce, who I used to ride when I had lessons at Markree. Getting up on the horse is a bit of a struggle, I always think there should be a crane to lift me up into the saddle, but luckily there was a step so it wasn’t too bad – even for someone as short as me. Trying to get the stirrups even was quite a challenge, I ended up hanging over Bruce’s head and we hadn’t even moved! To get back into the swing of things we stayed in the arena for a little while, I even managed a little canter – well I didn’t but Bruce did – so I was delighted about that.
When we felt comfortable on our horses we went out on a trek with the lovely Clare looking after us. It was a lovely day for it and great to be out in the fresh air. We went along quiet lanes around by the castle, we met up with a ‘traffic jam’ – cows! It’s a great way to explore Sligo and you don’t have to be a rider to go on a trek, beginners are welcome.
The cows were very interested in the horses, they must have thought they were strange-looking cows. The horses didn’t pay them any attention at all. They are very laid back, calm horses, which is just as well because I must have been quite tense as I got cramp in my toes a couple of times!
It was a lovely relaxing trek. The perfect way to re-charge the old batteries, which was much-needed as it’s been a really busy few weeks. We managed a good few trots as well, I had the misfortune of being behind Lucy’s horse for a while – let’s just say there was a wind problem…but Lucy will tell you more 😉
On the way back to the stables the horses got a chance to cool down in the river. Thanks to Niamh who took this photo. Bruce wasn’t too keen on the water so he just dipped his feet. I got off Bruce to take some photos – big mistake – I think my legs had turned to jelly. I sort of wobbled along and it was even worse when I tried to run! It was fun trying to get back on Bruce again too, thanks for the leg up Niamh!
Sincere thanks to Caroline, Clare, Bruce, Arrow and all the lads, lassies and horses at Markree Riding Stables for a really wonderful day – and I can still walk today so that’s a bonus! This is part of the Wild Atlantic Wayfarer project in conjunction with Lookwest and the Hawk’s Well Theatre.