ILDRA returns for training rides

ILDRA rides BR Farm
CELEBRATING: Karina McVeigh was delighted to be out with ‘Coco’ at Florence Court to celebrate her birthday. (FW17-527NN)

ILDRA (Irish Long Distance Riding Association) recently held two events run for the purpose of training for endurance riders, at the venues of Shane’s Castle and Florence Court. Both were run under strict protocols to comply with relevant COVID restrictions and guidelines.

Shane’s Castle, located in County Antrim is a much-loved venue by many riders, this ride took place on April 18. Riders enjoyed the training opportunity to begin to build up both horse and rider fitness! With the ride route taking place in the sprawling Shane’s Castle estate, a wide variety of nature could be spotted from grey squirrels to partridges and every rider’s favourite birds – the ever so noisy pheasant!

REFRESHMENTS: Jocelyn Willis and ‘Sam’ take a refreshment break during a ride at the beautiful Florence Court estate. (FW17-526NN)

The second ride took place at Florence Court in County Fermanagh on April 25. Riders and horses enjoyed the welcome sunshine, which made for pleasant riding conditions through the beautiful trails on offer at Florence Court. With riders taking in sights including forested sections, river crossings, mountainous views and quaint bridges, Florence Court offers a wide variety of scenic riding. With a climb towards Cuilcagh Mountain, spectacular views across the countryside of Fermanagh could be seen and the terrain on this part of the trail allowed riders an excellent training opportunity for horse fitness!

Endurance riding is an excellent way to build up your horse’s fitness and stamina for competing in not only competitive endurance rides, but as a training means for other disciplines. With rides taking place over a variety of terrain, as well as introducing horses to new sights, endurance riding helps to strengthen and develop both horses and riders. Many horses of all types and ages adapt well to endurance, with a graded system of competitive rides, from novice through to national and beyond and, through the use of ride veterinary checks, ILDRA ensures that horse welfare and fitness are paramount.

ILDRA extends thanks to the O’Neill family and the Shane’s Castle Estate staff for allowing access to Shane’s Castle and the National Trust for access to Florence Court. Thanks also go to the ride organisers, stewards and helpers for both rides, who ensured the safe running of these events to comply with COVID restrictions.

PADDLE: Bree Rutledge on ‘Jewel’ and Robyn Catterall on ‘Levi’ enjoyed a paddle in the river during a sunny ride at Florence Court. (FW17-525NN)

For details on upcoming ILDRA ride events, please see ILDRA’s website and Facebook page. To enter upcoming ILDRA rides, you must be a current annual member and you must pre-book a timed slot for the specific ride event. No entries will be accepted on the day and adherence to relevant COVID guidelines is mandatory.

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