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Here you will find News and Information, Ride Reports, Photos and Results from the many activities ILDRA are involved with.
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At a meeting of the ILDRA board of directors last night, Peter O'Carroll resigned as both Chairman and Director and the directors convened an EGM of the company for Saturday 24th November. The meeting will take place at CityNorth Hotel, Gormanstown, Co. Meath at 2pm.
18 Oct 2018
ILDRA (Irish Long Distance Riding Association) returned for a second time this year to the magnificent Fermanagh estate of Florencecourt in the West of the country on the 23rd of September. Following on from Storm Ali and its change in the weather patterns, an autumnal feel hinted in the air with the ancient trees of Florencecourt bearing a spectrum of ombré colours. A few drizzly showers passed throughout the day, however spirits on the day were not dampened.
Several pleasure riders turned up to enjoy the sprawling and endless trails offered by this venue. A vast array of riders and horses turned up of all ages to enjoy the safe off-road hacking offered here and at so many of ILDRA’s rides. Venturing through the woodland areas of the estate, riders passed over the idyllic Claddagh River by quaint wooden bridges and by splashing through streams. Climbing Benaughlin Mountain up towards Cuilcagh Way offered riders views of the impressive mountainous backdrop surrounding the estate.
A climb led up to a viewpoint offering stunning views across the Fermanagh and Monaghan landscape. A descent through the forest trails of the mountains led to the famous Irish Yew Tree, this tree was one of the last survivors taken from the Cuilcagh Mountain. From this one tree, thousands of Irish Yew Trees have descended worldwide, as Irish Yew Trees are only propagated through cuttings. Fleeting glimpses of the magnificent country house of the Florencecourt Estate were visible through the mixed woodland as riders once again passed by the Claddagh River before passing alongside the natural spring well known as Lady Well.
Like all ILDRA rides, whether you are a keen pleasure rider or an avid endurance rider, all of the venues visited by Ulster Branch are some of the hidden gems of off-road riding in Northern Ireland. These rides give equestrians the opportunity to enjoy safe riding in beautiful locations spending quality time with their horses and friends.
Many thanks go to the organisers Kirsten and Kathy Conly for marking and running the ride on the day. Thanks also go to the National Trust and the Forestry Service for allowing access to the Florencecourt Estate. ILDRA still has several rides left for the 2018 season throughout October and November including Knockmany Forest Park, Gosford Forest Park and Delamont County Park. For further information on dates and locations, please see ILDRA’s facebook page or visit the website at www.enduranceridingireland.com
I am pleased to inform you that we have addressed ILDRA matters with the upcoming St Patrick's Coast Ride.
A new structure is now in place fully recognising the autonomy of St Patrick's Coast Ride with the support of ILDRA.
We would like to extend our gratitude to the St Patrick's Coast Ride Committee for their cooperation.
We wish them and everyone participating in this showcase ride and event every best wish for the day.
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.