ILDRA (Irish Long Distance Riding Association) hosted two riding events in May for riders to enjoy. On May 9, riders travelled to the remote and rugged location of Cam Forest near Limavady to explore the forested trails at this venue. With a variety of terrain and slopes, Cam Forest offered excellent opportunities for riders aiming to increase their horse’s fitness for the upcoming season.
ILDRA then headed to Baronscourt near Omagh on May 30 for their first event, including vetted competitive trail rides (CTRs) in the 2021 endurance season. In stark comparison to the unfortunate rain at Cam Forest, the riders attending the Baronscourt event were treated to glorious sunshine and sweltering temperatures! The stunning Baronscourt estate is a much-loved venue given the beautiful riding trails, which take in several wonderful views across the sheltered valley near the foothills of the Sperrins including woodlands, meandering rivers, rampant rhododendrons and lakeside trails. The carpets of bluebells across the estate made for a wonderful backdrop for all-important photos.
Attending pleasure riders at Baronscourt had the opportunity to have their horse vetted by David Nealon (MRCVS) before and after their ride to get an idea of their horse’s fitness over the course. Many pleasure riders were surprised by their horse’s excellent heart rates and showed the potential for several horses to compete in competitive endurance!
Experienced endurance rider Helen McFarland and her newest competitive horse, ‘Chalima de Gueyte’ completed the first stage of the Bronze Shamrock Award, accompanied by the experienced endurance horse ‘She Stoops to Conquer’. Congratulations go to all the competitive riders and vetted pleasure riders.
Thanks go to the forestry service for allowing access to Cam Forest and to the Duke of Abercorn and the Baronscourt Estate staff for allowing access to Baronscourt. Thanks also go to the ride organisers and stewards for marking and running both events and to riders for adhering to COVID-19 protocols. Please check ILDRA’s website or Facebook page for details of upcoming events and to pre-book rides, as no entries will be accepted on the day.
Sunday, May 30
22 miles (35 km) CTR: Helen McFarland, Chalima de Gueyte; She Stoops to Conquer; Bree Rutledge, Clovermount Rhinestone; Susan Hunter, Colour Cascade.
11 miles (18 km) CTR: Lucinda Webb, Cobweb; Nichola Shannon, Echo.