The Short Answer
Yes, horses, horse riding, breeding and racing occupy a place at the very heart of Irish history.
The Straight from the Horse's Mouth Answer
Down through the centuries, horses have carried warriors into battle, pulled the ploughs of the country's farmers in the fields as well as the carriages of nobility in the streets of Ireland's cities. Even today, horses remain a vital part of country as a popular interest among visitors. Whether you choose a fully-equipped equestrian holiday at one of the many comfortable resorts in Ireland, such as Castle Leslie, where riders stay at the lodge and take lessons, ride trails and participate in jumping competitions; or you wish to make horse riding just one activity of many in your overall Irish vacation, you'll find a diverse range of activities to make your visit complete. Ride trails by the sea and along the beach for a taste of freedom that you'll won't soon forget, walk through the dense forests and climb the hills on horseback, and enjoy a brisk run through wide open fields that border quiet country roads. Well equipped equestrian centres are located throughout Ireland, offering cross country riding, indoor arenas, and a wide assortment of equipment and instruction programs for riders of all levels of experience. For a break from riding that keeps your focus on horses, stop at the National Stud, just outside Kildare, and enjoy an inside look at the traditions and practices of the breeding industry. Acres of land and hundreds of horses - foals, mares and stallions, await your visit. You might also want to take a tour using the popular horse drawn wagon caravans, a unique way to tour the countryside at a leisurely pace while being gently guided by your equine escorts.
Tips for Horse Riding Enthusiasts in Ireland
- If horse riding is to be a major part of your visit to Ireland, consider the time of year when planning your holiday. Horse riding can be even more enjoyable in spring or fall, and scheduling during those times can help you to save money and avoid crowds.
- Pack carefully, choosing clothing and shoes suitable for riding and the season. Don't forget appropriate gloves!
- Get in shape. If you have been physically inactive for months and you arrive to a strenuous schedule of riding, you might spend the rest of your holiday sore and uncomfortable. Limber up and prepare for the exertion of riding, and plan some time into your trip for relaxation as well.
- Be sure that you have the proper insurance coverage, in case of accident.