Welcome to our news and results section.
Here you will find News and Information, Ride Reports, Photos and Results from the many activities ILDRA are involved with.
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ILDRA (Irish Long Distance Riding Association) headed to the West of the country to the hidden gem of Knockmany Forest Park near Augher on the 19th of August. Pleasure rides and Competitive Trail Rides were on offer on the day for the riders. A drizzly start to the day soon warmed up to what became quite humid riding conditions.
The attending veterinary on the day was Quirine Tettelaar, MVetMed, MRCVS. Quirine is new to the sport of endurance and she did a brilliant job of checking all of the CTR horses before and after the completion of their respective rides. Many of the riders attending the Knockmany Forest Park ride were putting in some conditioning and fitness training before the St. Patrick’s Coast Endurance Ride on the 1st of September. Offering some of the most stunning views of the County Down landscape, this ride offers something for everyone, both pleasure and endurance riders! Be sure to get your ride entry in for what is Ireland’s premier endurance ride soon. Please note that all entries to St. Patrick’s Coast, including pleasure rides, must be made in advance online at: www.event-pal.com/onlineEntries/
A steep climb to the summit of Knockmany awaited the riders along past the meandering rivers of the mixed woodland. Knockmany summit is the site of a chambered cairn of an ancient passage grave. It is a site of great historic value, as the chamber is decorated with one of the best examples of passage tomb artwork in the North of Ireland. The descent through the forest offers breath-taking views across the rolling landscape of County Fermanagh and County Monaghan. Rich blackberries and towering trees surrounded the riders through the final few miles towards the car park. Congratulations go to all of the CTR riders who all successfully completed a 20-mile endurance ride.
The changing weather conditions and variable climate of Northern Ireland means that endurance riders must be prepared to adapt their riding style and speed to ensure that their horses can cope with the riding conditions over the testing terrain in order to successfully complete their distances and vettings. This is a vital aspect of endurance riding, understanding how your horse copes under different conditions and is a key part of ensuring you have a fit, sound horse who can cope with his required work. The fitness work offered by partaking in endurance or pleasure riding is a sound basis to build upon for other disciplines within the sport of horse riding.
Many thanks go to the forestry service for allowing access to Knockmany Forest Park and to the ride organisers of the Conly family for marking and running the ride on the day. The next ride will be at St. Patrick’s Coast at Downpatrick Racecourse on the 1st of September. Please see the designated Facebook page for St. Patrick’s Coast Endurance Ride, the website of www.stpatrickscoast.com or the ride organiser of David Cunningham for further information.
32km (20 miles): Helen McFarland on J St Jake, Morgan Skillen on Just C’Mall, Jocelyn Willis on Sam, Karina McVeigh on Cheyenne.
ILDRA (Irish Long Distance Riding Association) returned to the magnificent Shane’s Castle Estate for the second time this year on the 15th of July 2018. Offering a range of CTR distances and pleasure ride route options, there was something on offer for every rider on the day. The drastic change in weather conditions from the blazing sunshine of late to a rainy riding day did not deter the keen riders and certainly didn’t ‘dampen’ the enjoyment of the day.
Young pheasants and fields of sheep and lambs were some of the sights which awaited the riders. For those who chose to include the longer Randalstown Forest Park loop, a few elusive herds of deer could be spotted as well as keen eyes seeing the varieties of birds of prey visible through the woods towards the forest park’s car park.
The attending veterinarian on the day was David Nealon, MRCVS. David was not only kept busy by checking the regular CTR riders but also introducing two new riders and horses into the world of endurance and the vetting process. Michael Fulton on “Fletcher” and Ann-Marie Donnelly on “Robbie” both successfully completed a vetted 10-mile pleasure ride gaining an insight into the vetting process, ride conditions and speeds required to complete a competitive trail ride. Both horses showed promise at competing in endurance rides with sound trot-ups and heart rates, despite being novices in the sport. “Fletcher” is a young horse at 4 years old and has not yet settled on a discipline whereas “Robbie” is a regular in the showjumping world and working hunter classes picking up numerous prizes. Congratulations go to both riders.
Several CTR riders completed a range of ride distances up to 30 miles, with all riders successfully completing their respective distances, congratulations go to all of these riders. Many of ILDRA’s CTR riders have begun to focus their training attention on the annual St. Patrick’s Coast Endurance Ride hosted from the Downpatrick Racecourse on Saturday the 1st of September. A truly spectacular ride taking in the stunning County Down landscape across miles of open fields and the vast sands of Tyrella beach backdropped by the breath-taking Mourne Mountains. Described as Ireland’s premier endurance ride, having been ridden by riders from all of the United Kingdom and Ireland it is a must do. Featuring a range of distances from pleasure rides to competitive trail rides and endurance races it has something on offer for everyone and is a date to save. Please note that entries for St. Patrick’s Coast must be made in advance online, for further details see ILDRA’s website.
Many thanks go to the ride organisers of Neil and Tasha Anderson, David McAdoo and Gwen Jaswal for running and organising the ride on the day. Thanks also go to the O’Neill family and estate staff for allowing access to Shane’s Castle and to the forestry service for allowing access to Randalstown Forest Park.
ILDRA’s next Ulster Branch ride is at Millyard Equestrian Centre near Anahilt, Hillsborough on the 29th of July 2018. Offering pleasure rides and the optional extra to have a go on Millyard’s cross country course. For further information contact the ride organiser, Emma Hayes. Further ride details are available on www.enduranceridingireland.com or through ILDRA’s facebook page
40km (25 miles): Jocelyn Willis on Sam, Jane Hobson on Glenoran Steps, Tasha Anderson on Just C’mall.
48km (30 miles): Karina McVeigh on Cheyenne.
ILDRA (Irish Long Distance Riding Association) headed to the Mourne Mountains for their latest CTR on the 10th of June 2018. Beginning at Tollymore Forest Park, several CTR and pleasure riders enjoyed the spectacular mountainous views of the County Down landscape and coastline here, whilst other riders completing longer CTR distances ventured out of Tollymore Forest Park along bridleways to the summit of Slievenaslat.
The longer ride distances across two venues introduces the need for a mobile crew car to meet the riders at designated locations, namely road crossings to provide assistance and also to offer water and cooling sloshes to both horse and rider. The longer distances of endurance rides would likely be unachievable without a mobile crew and an endurance rider’s crew is a vital aspect of the sport.
Veterinary duties were performed on the day by Michael Duggan, BVSc, MRCVS. Given the longer distances being completed on the day, Michael was kept busy as longer distances of over 40 miles require a mid-ride vet check to ensure that the horse is fit to continue over the distance and allow for a rest period for both horse and rider. Helen McFarland on ‘J St Jake’ successfully completed a 50-mile CTR. Congratulations to Helen for completing this ride on one of ILDRA’s more mountainous rides. The Gold Shamrock award in endurance is achieved by the successful completion of two 50-mile CTRs by both horse and rider. It is a prestigious and highly coveted qualification and is the aspiration of many endurance riders.
Many thanks go to the Forestry Service for allowing access to the forest park and to the ride organisers of the Ulster Branch Committee for marking and running the ride on the day. ILDRA heads to Woodburn Forest Park on the 22nd of June for the next Ulster branch ride. Please note that this ride is on a Friday and is an evening ride starting at 4pm which offers Pleasure Rides only. This ride is also ILDRA’s annual BBQ, please note that you must bring your own meat for cooking. For further details please contact the ride organisers, Ruth Lyness and Karina McVeigh, or through ILDRA’s facebook page or website www.enduranceridingireland.com.
16km (10 miles): Dermott MacGuinness on Shinook.
32km (20 miles): Mary Thompson on Horseware Iguazu.
40km (25 miles): Jocelyn Willis on Sam, Karina McVeigh on Cheyenne.
80km (50 miles): Helen McFarland on J St Jake.
Suncream was the order of the day for the ILDRA’s (Irish Long Distance Riding Association) ride at the stunning location of Baronscourt on the 27th of May 2018. Several CTR and pleasure riders came out to enjoy the brilliant weather of the bank holiday weekend and the amazing scenery of the countryside of the Baronscourt estate in County Tyrone.
Rampant colours of rhododendrons, little goslings and late-blooming bluebells were some of the sights on offer, alongside views of the magnificent Baronscourt house. The three vast lakes of the estate offered some cool and shelter to the riders and their horses as they passed along through the woodland area here.
Veterinary duties were performed on the day by Michael Duggan, BVSc, MRCVS, who diligently checked all CTR horses for their respective distances. Some new horses and new faces had joined ILDRA for completing their first CTRs. Both Mary Thompson and Tom MacGuinness, who have both competed internationally for Ireland at FEI level, with Tom recently winning a 120km** FEI ride in Spain on his horse ‘Sasha’, brought new horses to Baronscourt for a CTR of ‘Horseware Iguazu’ and ‘Horseware Positano’. Lorraine MacGuinness also completed her first CTR with ILDRA on ‘Matutina’, undoubtedly catching the endurance bug.
Many thanks to Lord Abercorn and the Baronscourt Estate staff for allowing access to the wonderful estate. Also, thanks to the ride organisers of Kathy and Kirsten Conly for marking the venue and running the ride on the day.
ILDRA heads to the Mourne Mountains for the next Ulster Branch ride on the 10th of June, offering Competitive Rides, Pony Club and Pleasure Rides suitable for all. Please note that this ride starts at Tollymore Forest Park and parking will be at this venue. For those wishing to complete longer distances at this ride, there will be route options to take in Castlewellan Forest Park on horseback as well as Tollymore. A reminder to CTR and Pony Club riders to enter online or via post with the ride organiser, Kirsten Conly. Further ride details are available on www.enduranceridingireland.com or through ILDRA’s facebook page.
19km (12 miles): Tom MacGuinness on Horseware Iguazu, Mary Thompson on Horseware Positano, Dermott MacGuiness on Shinook
38km (23 miles): Jocelyn Willis on Sam, Jane Hobson on Glenoran Steps, Lorraine MacGuinness on Matutina
64km (40 miles): Helen McFarland on J St Jake, Tasha Anderson on Just C’Mall
ILDRA (Irish Long Distance Riding Association) headed to the west of the country on the 29th of April to the stunning National Trust property of Florencecourt estate with several riders enjoying pleasure rides and CTRs (Competitive Trail Rides) throughout the day. Florencecourt has recently gained fame standing in as the filming location of Limmerige House in the new BBC television programme of the Woman in White.
Shaded woodland trails, mountainous viewpoints and tranquil river crossings were the order of the day. Even an elusive red squirrel was spotted! The stunning Fermanagh landscape was gloriously bathed in sunlight offering a touch of warmth and an opportunity to shed the winter riding coats.
Veterinary duties were diligently performed on the day by David Nealon, MRCVS, with all horses successfully passing their respective vettings. Shamrock qualifications were plentiful on the day with both Jane Hobson’s horse ‘Glenoran Steps’ and Mary Thompson’s horse ‘Matutina’ gaining their Bronze Shamrock Qualifications. The next ‘step’ on the endurance ladder is the completion of a 48km Silver Qualifier ride, successfully achieved on the day by Jacob Morrow’s horse ‘Kentucky Ten’. Congratulations go to all our CTR riders and those achieving their Shamrock Qualifications.
Congratulations must also go to Helen McFarland and her horse ‘J St Jake’, both Helen and Jake are an iconic and inspirational combination in the sport of endurance riding in Ireland for many other competitors. Jake has been competing in endurance with ILDRA since 2002 and is in his 17th consecutive season of endurance. Both Helen and Jake are highly experienced in the sport of endurance, with Jake having completed over 8,800km in competitive endurance rides. Jake shows no signs of slowing down at 23 years old and is sure to have many more endurance seasons ahead of him.
Many thanks to the National Trust for allowing access to Florencecourt estate and its excellent trails. Thanks also to the ride organisers of Kathy and Kirsten Conly for marking and organising the ride on the day.
ILDRA heads to Woodburn Forest Park on the 13th of May for the next Ulster branch ride. Please note that this ride is on a Saturday and offers Pleasure Rides only. For further details please contact the ride organiser, Helen McFarland, or through ILDRA’s facebook page or website www.enduranceridingireland.com.
16km (10 miles): Dermott MacGuinness on Chinook
32km (20 miles): Mary Thompson on Matutina, Jane Hobson on Glenoran Steps
40km (25 miles): Helen McFarland on J St Jake
48km (30 miles): Karina McVeigh on Cheyenne, Ruth Lyness on Autumn Whisper, Jocelyn Willis on Sam, Jacob Morrow on Kentucky Ten