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THE BASICS

All rides take place within County Galway, a large western county in the Republic of Ireland. The Connemara and Coast Trails begin and end west of Galway City in the wildly rugged area known as the Connemara. The winter riding program is based at Aille Cross Equestrian Centre and Dartfield Horse Museum and Park near the village of Loughrea, east of Galway City. The terrain in the Connemara region is all at once mountainous, rocky, boggy and wooded and features some of the most spectacular beaches in Ireland. The area around Loughrea is dotted with rolling hillsides and gorgeous lakes and miles of farms bisected by the famous stonewalls which make foxhunting such a popular sport here.

THE HORSES
First-timers will likely be astonished at the quality of horses and ponies used during both the summer trail rides and the winter foxhunting and cross country jumping. Willie Leahy is the world’s foremost breeder of Connemara Ponies, a breed recognized for its surefootedness and athletic ability. Connemara ponies are popular choices for show jumping, eventing and cross country riding both in Europe and America.

Mr. Leahy also owns and trains a large number of Irish Draught crosses, known popularly as Irish Hunters or Irish Sport Horses. These horses are prized for their disposition, way of going and jumping ability and are widely considered to be amongst the best in the world at three-day eventing and foxhunting. 

RIDING LEVELS
Connemara and Coast Trails
The Connemara and Coast Trails are suitable for the novice through advanced equestrienne, and Willie Leahy and his staff pride themselves on properly matching horses to riders. A NOVICE is defined as a rider comfortable posting at the trot as well as able to canter and gallop in 2 point position in controlled situations. An average day will feature 5-6 hours riding with a long picnic lunch in the afternoon. Please keep in mind that while western saddles are provided upon advance request, these are not western horses.  The horses are primarily foxhunters and are trained accordingly.

Aille Cross Equestrian Centre
The minimum level of competency for cross country jumping would be the ability to maintain a secure seat at all gaits and over small obstacles.  For foxhunting, riders must  be secure over fences and comfortable galloping across open country in a large group of horses.

ACCOMMODATIONS
All prices (hotels and B&Bs) are based on 2 persons sharing.  Please advise when booking whether you prefer a double, twin or single room.  Single rooms are not always available. 

Connemara and Coast Trails
The hotels are 3- and 4-star Irish country hotels and inns. Each is unique from the others, but all are charming and guests will always have a private “ensuite” bathroom in the rooms. Unlike the United States, Irish b&bs tend to be in newer homes, and, while many do have private baths, we cannot guarantee that you will have a private bathroom in every b&b.

Hotels Used On the Trails
Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, Clifden  www.abbeyglen.ie (Connemara Trail only)
Carna Bay Hotel, Carna www.carnabay.com (Coast Trail only)
Hotel Meyrick, Eyre Square, Galway www.hotelmeyrick.ie/hotelmeyrick
Peacocke's Hotel, Maam Cross www.peacockes.ie/
Screebe House, Camus www.screebehouse.ie (Coast Trail only)
Sweeney’s House, Oughterard www.sweeneys-hotel.com
Zetland House Hotel, Cashel  www.zetland.com  (Coast Trail only)
Corrib Hotel, Oughterard www.corribhotel.com
Corrib Great Southern Hotel, Galway www.corribgreatsouthernhotel.com
Lake Hotel, Oughterard

Aille Cross Equestrian Centre
There are several choices of accommodation: B&B, Loughrea Hotel and Spa, or self-catering house rentals. See www.loughreahotelandspa.com.  Many of the rooms in the B&Bs have private facilities, but, again, there is no guarantee. Houses are available for rent in conjunction with a riding only package.

TRANSPORT DURING THE WEEK
Connemara and Coast: Included in all packages.
Aille Cross: Included in all packages.

 

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FOR INFORMATION AND TO BOOK YOUR IRISH RIDING ADVENTURE, CONTACT:

irishridingadventures@yahoo.com
336-312-5996