Following on from a throwaway remark that Kalindi made at the hunt in Laois that ‘a few of us should meet up some time for a hack’, I put my thinking cap on and came up with the idea of approaching Mount Juliet to see if we could have a group side saddle hack there. Jenny and her team were very agreeable to the idea and even made six hire horses available on the condition that I tried them all out with my side saddle beforehand to make sure they were ok. Needless to say, Prince; Dave; Bonnie; Chad; Caesar and Pippin all took to it like proverbial ducks to water, they are fantastic, well schooled and sensible horses!!
On Saturday 26th May, fourteen of us from the Side Saddle Association of Ireland, including Chairperson Georgina Galvin and myself Ciara Ryan (now O’Connell), met at Mount Juliet Equestrian centre to set off on what proved to be a tremendously enjoyable hack around Mount Juliet estate in Co. Kilkenny.
Alison Bennett and Emily Meredith tog out:
Michael Morris helps his wife Susan
Amy Fitzgerald almost ready!
The back drop of the beautiful, stately house ‘Mount Juliet’ added greatly to the total enjoyment of the entire day. We all posed for photos in front of the house and of course, the hip flasks were brought out 😀
(Yes- that’s me!)
The former ancestral home of the McCalmont family, (whose beloved Kilkenny Foxhounds are still kennelled on the grounds of the Estate) is a really special place and now home to a luxury hotel and top class golf course as well as a state of the art Equestrian Centre, stud farm and out door pursuits such as archery, fishing and clay shooting.
Once the photo shoot was over we headed off around the estate…
Tex and I with Jenny Reid
Georgiana Galvin enjoys her ride on Big Dave
The ladies ranged in age from seventy five years young to thirteen years old and included in the company were ladies from a variety of different backgrounds: hunting, racing, showing, riding club, pony club, team chasing, show jumping and eventing fanatics with one thing in common- the love of the beautiful and elegant style of equestrianism that is riding Side Saddle. With a 62 year age range, it just goes to show one is never too old or too young to ride ‘sideways’ when paired with a good horse!
The riders included five complete beginners with an average of two lessons each and one who had never previously sat on a side saddle and still managed before the day was out, to jump a complete round of cross country fence- Esther O’Kane from Donegal!
Jennifer Torrance & Susan Oakes
It was absolutely unbelievable to witness everyone attempting jumping parts of the wonderful solid cross country course! Led by the ring leaders Susan Oakes and Jennifer Torrance, the other ladies to their surprise were delighted to find that jumping aside in good company is actually quite easy on a well-trained, obedient horse!
A huge thank you to Jenny Reid, (manager of the Mount Juliet equestrian centre) and her staff Tara Monahan and Elaine Roche for preparing such fabulous horses and for ensuring the day ran smoothly. .
Photographs were taken by Jennifer O’Sullivan, Harry Reid and Radka Preislerova (Thank you!)
Full list of riders: