ILDRA - Home of Endurance Riding in Ireland

Next Ride Notice

Slaney Valley - Sun Feb 1 2015 - Leinster Branch

The next - Leinster Branch ride featuring 40km CTR, PR will be held at Slaney Valley, Glen of Imaal, Co. Wicklow on Sun Feb 1 2015 - Full details available here and watch this space for last minute notices and changes.

Tollymore Forest Park - Sun Feb 8 2015 - Ulster Branch

The next - Ulster Branch ride featuring CTR, PR & PC will be held at Tollymore Forest Park, Bryansford Road, Newcastle, Co.Down on Sun Feb 8 2015 - Full details available here and watch this space for last minute notices and changes.


January is often enough of an endurance test in itself, without adding horses, however riders who recently dug themselves out of bed on a cold morning with a poor weather forecast were pleasantly surprised to find a mild and sunny day awaiting them at Knockmany Forest in Co.Tyrone. Organisers, Kathy Conly and Kirsten Conly-Devlin 'discovered' this little gem of a wood in a remote area just outside the historic town of Augher a few years back and endurance riders have been flocking [...]



New Year's Endurance Ride

Endurance riders in Ulster blew away the cobwebs with a brisk New Year's ride round Castlewellan Forest on Sun 6th January. Organiser David Cunningham was kept busy as over 50 riders took to the 13km  trail on a variety of mounts from Shetlands to Shires, with a few Draughts and Arabs as well. Endurance riding in Ireland, organised by the Irish Long Distance Riding Association, under the auspices of Horse Sport Ireland, is a very family friendly [...]


2014 - the top rides

Home International, Celtic Challenge, Pony Club Championships and WEG

Not our day but the spirit of competition alive and well.

This year the Home Internationals and Celtic Challenge were held in Yetholm in Scotland on the 16th and 17th of August. Last year (2013) the Irish team won the Home International at Barbery Castle, England. We were determined to defend this title and put a strong team forward.

The Home International and Celtic Challenge are competitions run on an annual basis with each of the four countries, Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales, taking turns to host the event. This year it was Scotland’s turn and a very professional job they did. SERC are to be commended on their hosting of the event throughout.

The event is made up of teams of riders of different ages and levels of experience from juniors and 40km rides to the challenging 2 day 160km rides for the most experienced and fittest of riders and horses.

Sadly victory evaded the Irish team but some very impressive individual performances were produced by horses and riders.

World Equestrian Games - WEG

Congratulations to both Helen McFarland and Tom MacGuinness who both qualified for the World Equestrian Games held in Normandy at the end of August. Unfortunately, along with nearly 80% of the entrants they both failed the vet at different stages, Helen with only 1 short loop to go, but the achievement of qualifying and the experience of competing at this prestigious event for both riders and crews was both enjoyable and a big learning curve.

Congratulations to both riders on qualifying, no easy task on its own, and their crews.

Pony Club Championships

What a great summer Pony Club Endurance had and huge congratulations to the 6 Area 17 riders who went to the championships and did so well.

 After  qualifying at the St. Patrick's Coast ride in April a team of 6 riders traveled to Cholmondeley Castle in Cheshire to compete at the Pony Club Endurance Championships, the first riders to represent the area at this event.

Morgan Skillen on Mayo (Mid Antrim) won the individual competition with Kathryn Weir on Shannon’s Delight (Iveagh) coming second and Kirstin Thom on Cloonlee Red River (Mid Antrim) coming third.

Kathryn and Kirstin were also on the winning team along with Tara Findley on Cindy (East Down). 

 Morgan was part of the team coming in fourth place along with Olivia Hughes on Hockley Suzie (East Down) and Emma Greer on Abbey Star (Iveagh).

Very well done to ALL of them and thanks to Kerry Burch who acted as team Chef d’Equipe in my absence.

Who are ILDRA? and what is Endurance Riding?

ILDRA (Irish Long Distance Riding Association) is the governing body for Endurance Riding in Ireland and is affiliated to Horse Sport Ireland (HSI).

It organises a series of rides throughout Ireland. Most rides involve a Pleasure Ride for members and non-members, normally of about 8 miles, and a series of CTRs (Competitive Trail Rides) over a number of distances starting from 20 miles for members. Some events also feature ERs (Endurance Races) - these normally start at 50 miles and are for experiences horses and riders only.

So what is Endurance Riding - Perhaps it is useful to say what Endurance Riding isn't. It isn't a long pony trek, ambling through lanes, it isn't for the faint hearted, and it isn't for the rider who doesn't actually enjoy being in the saddle for long.

So what is it? It is a unique competitive challenge and a supreme sport for learning about equine fitness. Veterinary checks before and after competitive rides - and in the middle too for longer distances - ensures the best possible care is taken of your horse. Any problems can be picked up earlier rather than later.

You, the rider, learn more about the way your horse functions, with the importance of regulating your riding to suit conditions which will affect the way your horse behaves and how he presents to the vet Key factors include:

  • The terrain: is it hilly or flat, sandy or hard ground?
  • The weather: is it cold, wet, foggy, or hot and sunny?
  • The route: does it look to be difficult to follow on the map, or a more simple circular course?


Next Events

Sun Feb 1 2015
Slaney Valley

Sun Feb 8 2015
Tollymore Forest Park

Sun Feb 22 2015
Gosford Forest Park

Sun Mar 8 2015
Fossey Mountain

Sun Mar 15 2015