From strimming to swimming — a colourful weekend in the life of the club

So you thought a riding club was for riding? Well, of course it is, but that doesn’t stop us doing other things as well.

Mary Finneran’s Friday evening classes were over-booked and hugely popular. With one flatwork session followed by two jumping lessons, Mary focussed entirely on the rider, pinpointing small details which, if mastered at a basic level, will allow us to get everything right as the stakes get higher. The weather played along and it was a most enjoyable evening at Glenleary. There’s one more Friday remaining in the series. If you want to participate, book early with Erica.

Saturday saw a lovely example of the “meitheal”, the old Irish tradition of undertaking a task as a community. When has strimming grass, clipping hedges, weeding shrubberies and redding sheds ever been as enjoyable? A sizeable army of riding club and pony club members attacked Mick and Suzanne’s property in Glenswilly on Saturday afternoon and achieved in a few hours what a single family might despair of for a season. The sound of a beautifully orchestrated quartet of strimmers echoed around the remote valley, with a rustic tractor engine and well-tuned electric hedge clippers providing the chorus. Okay, maybe the line of the hedge wasn’t plumb perfect and the odd shrub might have been weeded out with the grass and rushes, but hopefully the overall effect was positive and it was certainly a lot of fun doing it. The tea to finish up with was a treat and seeing Mick again was great.

Sunday saw yet another stand off between weather and riding club but this time the riders weren’t giving in. The daytrip to Carrickfinn went ahead despite a threatening forecast. Mounting in the dying moments of the dry morning, within minutes the Magnificent Six were riding resolutely through torrential rain along the airport fence and on across to the grey inshore beach at Annagry. But try as it might, there was nothing the weather could do to diminish the pleasure of riding in such a unique expanse of strand and sandune. With the rain finally blowing off, the synchronised canter up the spectacular white strand was executed like a cavalry drill. The return trip across whin-spotted heath was marginally less orderly as the wind got up the horses’ tails.

Back at camp, Paddy had Lizzie untacked and comfortably in her trailer in time to sneak a pre-prandial swim in the bracing waters of the North Atlantic before sprinting back to catch the first burgers coming off Nadine and Damien’s grill. The barbeque crowned a great expedition and it was good to finally thwart the weather Gods. Let that be a lesson to them in case they think we’re going to take things lying down next season.

Pictured below: A Carrickfinn view of our club’s diverse life. More in the Gallery.