Category Archives: Excursions

New evidence from Bundoran emerges…

The infamous “spoons”, documented by Nadine on Saturday night. See the Gallery for the rest of her collection.

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A short trip to a different world

As a club we may not excel at dressage, showjumping or any of the conventional riding club disciplines but our weekend excursion to Bundoran proved yet again that we are world beaters when it comes to the fine art of enjoying ourselves.

Louise and Libby delayed the start of the action but Fenway arrived sporting a brand new set of shoes while Tutu’s jeep maintained its cool and delivered its cargo safely at the destination. Both horses were whipped off the trailer and tacked up in record time before the impatient cavalcade departed the stable yard and the equestrian action began.

The route down to Tullan strand was dotted with sporty surfers and the horses’ eyes were out on sticks as they absorbed the unfamiliar activity. It was Pauric who got the biggest shock though when he spotted a strange free-standing wetsuit lurking at the bottom of the track to the beach. He overcame the fright manfully and was ready for lift-off as Blackie joined the genteel charge down the strand. Despite freshness and enthusiasm, the 4-leggeds soon found themselves labouring in the soft Bundoran sand.

Our human satnav, Derek, negotiated the steep route up into the sandunes and led the troupe a merry dance up hill and down sandy dale, leaving a wake of sweaty and snorting breathlessness as both horses and riders battled unseasonal heat and seasonal lack of fitness. Narrow tunnels and gulleys almost got the better of some broader partnerships. Everybody arrived in tact on the highest peak to marvel briefly at the spectacular view before our guide blithely suggested we plunge over the precipice. “No” said our chairman and his loyal followers agreed. Discretion being the better part of valour…

Wistfully turning to look back at the peak, curiosity finally got the better of Damien and he succombed to the challenge. In a scene straight from a classic western, the little people looked on from afar while their heroes rode their horses head first down the sandy escarpment. They returned triumphant and the party continued on its merry way.

Horses and riders were equally warm and sweaty as they hit the surf for a paddle before heading back to Stracomer for a quick spin around the cross country course. Horses were hosed down, fed and set right before the humans enjoyed similar luxury when the entourage arrived at its overnight quarters. The elixir of life was provided by Our Man From Burt, ensuring that key members of the party were well warmed up before heading out for dinner at 7pm. A rioutous evening ensued.

Specialist insurance policies are surely available for participants in “the spoons”, a savage and uncivilised sport where quick reactions and sheer brute strength in equal measure will inevitably win the day. Victories were hard won and victims were many. Everybody miraculously survived to tell the tale!

A chillier Sunday morning got underway with a classic fry-up, setting us all straight for another memorable adventure in the sandy hinterland of Bundoran. The sun came out as the party returned to the beach, skirting surfers to enjoy the breaks. Afterwards our immensely hospitable hosts provided a welcome barbeque lunch to send us safely on our homeward journey. Tired and exhilirated in equal measure, the horses were loaded and the holiday drew to a close as lorries and trailers pulled out one by one.

A huge thank you to Damien and Nadine for organising the whole expedition. The simplicity of the whole weekend was its great charm. We don’t need much to keep us happy. Thanks to Magda for taking such lovely photos and to our hosts, Stracomer Stables, for first class livery and unmatchable navigational skills.

Pictured below: In the surf on Tullan strand. More photos in the Gallery.

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Weekend prospects

Two slightly conflicting views on the weather for this weekend. I think we’d happily settle for either, given our recent luck with weekends away!

Weather Bundoran 

Bundoran 2013

Despite the weather our club’s annual trip away was a very enjoyable weekend filled with adventurous routes through unknown territory though the sand dunes, beach rides, cross country, good food and great craic.

This year’s choice of venue at Stracomer Stables ensured we were not going to be beaten by the weather. As the weekend approached numbers were dwindling but we still had a keen group of eight riders: Damien, Nadine, Marina, Enda, Leo, Paddy, Francis, Maura and three spectators, Mick Carroll, Audrey and Tanya. Keary and Ann managed to join us for the Sunday.

On arrival at Stracomer Stables we were given a warm welcome with plenty of hot tea and biscuits while Jodie, Stracomer’s youngest assistant, made sure all the horses were settled and happy in their 5 star accommodation. When all the troops FINALLY arrived (Francis & Maura!!), we set off on a windy expedition on Tullaghan strand. Surf boards, steep ascents and descents kept all horses and riders on their toes. On our return Leo took time to enjoy the spectacular views of Bundoran’s finest peaks from the car park!!! When all horses were tucked up in their stables, riders headed back to their accommodation to make themselves presentable for what turned out to be a very enjoyable evening in Maddens Bridge Bar in the town. The evening continued back at the house with side-splitting laughter and a few civilised games of cards!

After a good night’s sleep Leo was on autopilot as himself and Mick cooked up a hearty breakfast for everyone to get us prepared for more sand dunes, beach canters and cross country challenges. After a final cup of tea and more banter, tired horses and riders headed off on the very manageable journey home.

A big thanks to Stracomer Stables for having us and we hope this is only the first of many more trips to come. Role on 2014!!

Pictured below: Well-earned relaxation after a windswept ride on the strand. More photos in the Gallery.

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A stalwart supporter’s report on Stradbally 2013

Audrey has penned an excellent account of her emotions and experiences as Libby and Fenway’s chef d’Equipe. In her own words……

The Morning After…….Stradbally!

Oh boy! What a fabulous weekend I had. The words ‘You just needed to be there’ spring to mind as I try to express the fabulous time that I had. I enjoyed every minute from the moment Libby and Fenway pulled in at Moorefield till we got back. Of course it was no surprise when you have such lovely travelling companions. They gave me no trouble whatsoever and would highly recommend them. I know by Lbby’s kind words before we went that my gesture to accompany them was appreciated but believe you me I was the lucky one. Can you imagine… no travelling expenses,no stress, fabulous weather and lounge about all day watching horses. What more could you ask for!!. The only shadow on the whole weekend was I missed not having Tanya and Al. As I watched the classes that might have suited them I couldn’t help but wonder where they would have been in the final line up. Of course they would have always been first in my eyes! Needless to say I got the same thrill and proud feeling with Fenway and Libby’s achievements. They were a credit to themselves and the Club. To qualify for the Working Hunter Final out of 78 entries was something to be proud of. Just a very unlucky pole down (Fenway being cautious of the ground and rightly so, as there were a few nasty falls due to the hard and very slippy going) stopped them from getting into the showing phase where I’m sure they would have definitely come away with another ribbon.

And finally……. I would like to thank 3 guys before I go. To Ed and Gary …. thanks guys for cleaning my room for the weekend. I had bought a proper camp bed thinking of my old bones, but, as soon as I had popped out my tent I realised that either my head of my feet would be very cold during the night. To Cecil for feeding and keeping an eye on the stock at home.

Back to reality now so must go. Thanks again Libby and Fenway.

Audrey

Very tempting trail riding weekend with Springmount RC in Connemara

On the weekend of 11 November, our friends in Springmount Riding Club in Galway are running a trail riding weekend in Connemara. There are several variations on the package and they all sound great. What a pity it’s such a long journey and that it clashes with our league final!

Springmount Trail Ride Nov 9-11

Travel to Tattersalls

Lack of interest has led the Pony Club to shelve their plans to run a bus to the cross country day at Tattersalls on Saturday 2 June. Don’t despair though — luckily for us, Roisin McGee’s family are running a 30-seater bus to the event and  you can book with them instead. The cost is €10 a head and the pick-up is in Letterkenny.

Contact Roisin on 087 918 0008, if you’d like to book a seat.

Magical Carrickfinn worth the two-year wait

The weather came good when we needed it this year and 10 members enjoyed a memorable camping trip in magical Carrickfinn. Most of them are still nursing sore ribs, injured from excessive laughter on a long and lingering Saturday night by a mighty campfire.

Spectacular surroundings, great weather, wonderful riding, good eating and priceless company. Thank you SO much, Damien and Nadine.

Pictured below: Carrickfinn in pictures. Plenty more to follow.

Tattersalls opportunity

East Donegal Pony Club are organising a group visit to Tattersalls on Saturday 2 June, the exciting cross country day in this international eventing fixture. Luckily for all of us, the trip is open to non-pony-club-members. Here’s the deal:

Ticket prices will be no more than €12.00 for an adult or €5.00 for kids aged 13–17. Kids under 12 enter for free. Tatts have said that they will give us a reduced price for a group – possibly a 2-for-1 offer – so I can’t give you a final quote yet. Coach prices vary according to numbers but will be no more than €18.00 per person. The trip is open to non-club members, so if you have friends or family you want to bring let them know, but priority will be given to our own members and their families. Please let Rachel (086 161 7087) or Stella (085 828 4306) know if you are interested and roughly how many of each age group would be with you.