ILDRA (Irish Long Distance Riding Association) hosted several riding events from July to September at several venues. ILDRA first headed to Craigantlet House Stables on July 31 to host a day of pleasure riding fun. Riders were treated to panoramic views over the Craigantlet Hills and a fabulous view over Belfast. Excellent ground conditions allowed many riders to take in a canter across the rolling green fields.
Thanks go to Craigantlet House Stables, Michelle Boyd and Blakiston Houston Estates for allowing access to this venue and to the ride organisers – the McFarland family – for running and marking the route.
ILDRA then headed to the historic location of Scarvagh House in County Down on August 22 for a day of pleasure rides. Riders enjoyed picturesque views through fields, glimpses of canals and railway tracks, with trails taking in a variety of surfaces, including gallops!
Thanks go to the Buller family for allowing access to this wonderful venue and thanks go to the ride organisers – John Anderson and the Conly family – for running and marking this route.
A very well-supported ride took place on September 12 at Ballydugan, Co. Down with over 100 entries for this event. Starting at Downpatrick Racecourse, this event took in some of the routes used by the St Patrick’s Coast Endurance Ride and offered both pleasure rides and competitive trail rides (CTRs). Attending pleasure riders also had the opportunity to undertake a vetting to test their horse’s fitness.
Riders were treated to a wide variety of riding scenery, including stretches of grassy fields, a gallop track, woodland trails, old windmill ruins and glimpses of the old County Down railway line. With a stunning backdrop of the Mourne Mountains and excellent weather on the day, riders enjoyed the opportunity at this event for some rare off-road riding in Northern Ireland!
Congratulations go to both the vetted pleasure riders and competitive trail riders, who completed a range of distances. Many congratulations to go to Helen McFarland, who completed a 30-mile CTR, with ‘Chalima de Gueyte’, gaining the first part of her Silver Shamrock Qualification with the successful completion of this CTR. A promising endurance career awaits!
Thanks go to the attending veterinary surgeon, David Nealon (MRCVS) for vetting the many horses taking part.
Thanks go to Downpatrick Racecourse for allowing parking facilities and to the many landowners and farmers, who allow the ride to cross their land – without their support, this event would not exist.
A huge thank you must go to the ride organisers (and particularly to David Cunningham), volunteers and road crossing stewards, who dedicated their time both before, during and after the ride to ensure that this event could run smoothly.
Thanks also go to attending riders at these events for adhering to COVID-19 protocols. For upcoming ILDRA rides, please check out ILDRA’s Facebook page or website, all upcoming rides must be pre-entered online. No entries will be accepted on the day.
Sunday, September 12
30 miles (48km):
Helen McFarland, Chalima de Gueyte.
40km (25 miles):
Bree Rutledge, Clovermount Rhinestone; Susan Hunter, Colour Cascade.