THE Irish Long Distance Riding Association (ILDRA) headed to the west of the country for their first ride at the sprawling Florencecourt Estate on April 14.
A wintry chill was in the air with hints of rain, although many riders made their way around the trails before the rains began.
Both CTR (Competitive Trail Rides) and Pleasure riders enjoyed the varied trails at Florencecourt, which meander through streams and over quaint wooden bridges of the Claddagh River. The riders then made their way towards the mountainous section of the trails of Benaughlin Mountain before descending along the Cuilcagh Way, which offers superb views across County Fermanagh and County Monaghan.
The attending veterinary officer on the day was David Nealon MRCVS, with all horses passing their respective endurance distances.
An endurance rider, Hannah Catterall introduced her new horse ‘Hugo’, to his first ever pleasure ride and even tried out a vetting.
Experienced FEI endurance rider Martin McNamara on ‘Finbar’ completed a 40km CTR showing excellent talent and successfully gaining ‘Finbar’ his Bronze Shamrock award in endurance, the first of the graded system of endurance qualifications within ILDRA.
Helen McFarland and Tasha Anderson on ‘J St Jake’ and ‘She Stoops to Conquer’ both completed longer distance rides of 40 miles in preparation for further upcoming competitions. The annual Home Internationals and Celtic Challenge for 2019 is hosted by Wales at the Red Dragon Festival of Endurance. With levels of competition suitable for riders of all levels and aspiration, ILDRA strongly encourages everyone to come and try their hand at endurance.
Thanks must go to the ride organisers, Kirsten and Kathy Conly, for marking and organising the ride on the day. Thanks also go to the National Trust and the Forestry Service for allowing access to the Florencecourt Estate.
ILDRA’s next ride is on April 28 at the beautiful Shane’s Castle Estate offering CTRs up to 50 miles and Pleasure Rides around the sprawling estate. A reminder to all CTR riders to enter online or via post, for further information contact the ride organiser, Neil Anderson, or through ILDRA’s website or facebook page.
40 miles (64km): Helen McFarland, J St Jake; Tasha Anderson, She Stoops to Conquer.
30 miles (48km): Emma Hayes, Yasser Arafat; Karina McVeigh, Cheyenne.
25 miles (40km): Martin McNamara, Finbar.
10 miles (16km): Dermott MacGuinness, Shinook.