Posts Tagged ‘Equestrian’

Wingfield Hunt, December 3rd, 2011.

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

The Shillelagh and District Hunt held their annual meet at Wingfield, close to Ballythomas and the Gap today. A good turnout on what was a chilly but nevertheless bright day. Lots of jumps and ditches to negotiate, especially between Wingfield and Toberpatrick. The hounds, ably led by huntsman and Master of the Hounds David Nolan were doing their stuff, those in the saddle were having a ball.

Mandy Hayden aboard Cluny, Wingfield Hunt, Dec' 2011.

Huntsman and Master of the Hounds David Nolan, Wingfield Hunt, Dec' 2011.

One of many drains, Wingfield Hunt, Dec' 2011.

They start them young, no fear at the Wingfield Hunt, Dec' 2011.

Life's a ditch, Wingfield Hunt, Dec' 2011.

Heading for the hills, Wingfield Hunt, Dec' 2011.

Cheshire Home Hunt, Shillelagh, Co. Wicklow.

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

The Shillelagh and District Hunt held the 50th annual Cheshire Home Hunt last Saturday. The final meet of the season and one which is always looked forward too, staff and residents of the Ardeen Cheshire Home in Shillelagh, Co Wicklow, enjoyed the buzz and spectacle as the hunt members gathered before setting out. Celebratory stirrup cups were handed around, banter was exchanged, and a group photograph was taken. Then to the sound of a hunting horn and the baying of hounds the large contingent literally headed for the hills.

Ready for the off, Shillelagh and District Hunt members gather outside the Ardeen Cheshire Home.

A real family day out, there was as much interest from those not taking part as those in the saddle. Even the damp weather didn’t put the followers off as they headed to their favourite vantage points above Shillelagh village.

Andy and Tara Kinsella enjoy the annual Cheshire Home Hunt.

Me, I headed to a place called, “The Birney”, I think that is the way you spell it, out the Parkbridge Road and turn right at the first crossroads, then on up the hill to where the lane bisects a forestry. Damp but not cold, it was not long before I heard the hunting horn and the sound of galloping hooves carried by the mist.

Huntsman David Nolan clears a forestry barrier above Shillelagh, Co. Wicklow.

In a flash of reds, blacks, and browns, snorting, steaming, horses, ponies and hounds, shod hooves ringing on tarmac, quips, laughs, and smiles they were gone, off into the forest. What I like about the Shillelagh’s is the sense of community, encompassed in the young riders who are encouraged to take part. They start them young in these parts, and there is no shortage of enthusiasm either, epitomised by father and son team Jasper and Jed Kelly.

Community spirit epitomised by the Shillelagh Hunt, Co. Wicklow.

I enjoyed following the hunt this year. It acts as a focal point for social interaction, gets people out in the air, and grounds one to nature and conservation of the rural landscape and way of life. I even get up on a horse myself now, but whisper it, “you won’t catch me going hunting”, I value my legs and arms too much. An armchair horseman, that’s me.

Huntsman David Nolan leading the hounds, Shillelagh, Co. Wicklow.

Hack Out in the Snow

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Four days snowed in, the lane outside is a sheet of glass. Three times in one year, will definitely be purchasing wheel chains. Meanwhile, to make the most of this early winter wonderland there is nothing like a good ride in the woods.

Mandy astride Dixie, Carrig Wood, Ballythomas Hill, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Plenty of trees down to jump.

Dixie jumping a fallen tree, Carrig Wood, Ballythomas Hill, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Getting rid of the cobwebs.

Dixie and Mandy cantering, Carrig Wood, Ballythomas Hill, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Practicing for the hunt.

Stretching out, Carrig Wood, Ballythomas Hill, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Would you really consider developing a hard rock quarry here?

Heading home, Carrig Wood, Ballythomas Hill, Co. Wexford, Ireland.