Ireland Day 2

April 17, 2014

Guest Blog: Genevieve Arens

It was a bright, yet brisk morning today when we woke to prepare for our first ride on the ponies. We mucked, fed and watered them quickly before dispersing to our respective rides for tacking. I tacked up Freddie, a 13.2 fleabitten grey pony with a really sweet disposition who loves to rub on his handler that looks like Pepper but rides very laid back. Aiden tacked up a chunky white pony named Batman, he’s so fat that he needed a different girth from the one the owners provided, I attribute this to our host’s amazing food. Jill tacked up Fizz, a little feisty chestnut pony that rides a lot like Krista’s old pony Osh Kosh. Emma rode an ex-event pony named Bambi and Abby started on Tucker, a pretty bay/black pony with a really funky racing saddle.

Ponies switched around quite a bit, Jill ended up playing beautifully on Batman while Aiden was strong enough to keep Tucker going and tolerate his formidable saddle. Abby rode Fizz’s jiggy gait and fit him remarkably well for his 11.3 hand size. Eliza worked through some kinks on JC who was less forward than Dusty at home but really petite and about the size of Fizz. I rode on Freddie who was the tallest of the bunch at 13.2 (I think we are doing it wrong in the states, I like these little ponies :D). Freddie is super laid back and fun to ride, so the practice was really more about ponies and riders meshing than it was for practice or for training. After about two hours of coaching and talking we were all making our running vaults, getting hand offs, bending, and playing mug shuffle clean (and at speed).

I can’t stress enough how gorgeous the scenery is around here, the fields are beautifully manicured with clean hedges and rolling hills. It’s stunning!

After we rode everyone got changed and we ventured off to the Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens. The park is wonderfully maintained and we ran across many proud momma’s and friendly foals. The place was filled with flowers and elaborate natural rock structures. After spending at least an hour venturing around the stud we toured the horse museum, which showed us the history of thoroughbreds and racing in Ireland. (Also had a crazy full sized skeleton of the most famous racehorse in Ireland).

Next we went to a Tack Superstore and Café’ which was like three Dover stores combined and filled with pony sized tack (amazing if you have a small pony in the US). There was even a section of racing equipment and racing saddles, much like the one that Aiden was riding in on Tucker. After spending about an hour indulging our consumerism we headed back to the host’s house to care for the ponies, change, and go to an Irish Pub for dinner. It was a lot like an old diner with vines growing up along the side of it and gorgeous wood paneling lining the walls. There is a dining area, a bar for drinks and then a separate ‘bar’ (with a different entrance) from the dining area. Mark’s parents joined us and we coincidentally ran into Aiden and Abby’s parents (without them knowing where we were located, let alone when we were going to be there). The food was delightful like a fine restaurant with bigger portions and the company was absolutely wonderful.

Let me take a moment to comment on how wonderful the host family has been to us, preparing meals, making sure that we are comfortable and treating us like family.

Krista told me not to keep writing because she wants to go to bed now.

This was a perfect day and a wonderful experience for all of us. I’ll make Krista let me write more later. 😀

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