Having racked my brains to see where us side saddle riders could ‘invade’ next, I suddenly realised the answer lay very close, less than two miles away from my parents house- Borris House in Co. Carlow.
It’s nice to go to stately homes as I feel that the setting really lends itself to the whole side saddle experience. Borris House is the ancestral home to the MacMurrough Kavanagh family, and I knew one of the family members from our time in the pony club as children. Mr Morgan Kavanagh readily gave his permission so with the baby on my hip, off I went and started organising again. Borris House was different to Mount Juliet in that there is no equestrian centre on site so there was no possibility of hire horses, everyone had to have their own gear, habits, saddles and horses this time around! We had the run of a square mile of land with hundreds of acres of forestry to explore so I drove my dad’s jeep around the trails first so that we wouldn’t get lost on the day. The intact walled estate has been the ancestral home of the Mac Murrough Kavanagh family, the high kings of Leinster, for the past five hundred years. I knew it would be the perfect backdrop for our next hack.
Tex and I led out another eight ladies in full side saddle attire across the estate riding on cross country tracks through the woods and fields. The sun was beaming down and I thought I was going to melt in my habit, which felt absolutely sewn on to me! Hubby in the meantime was minding baby Charlotte 🙂 The wooded areas provided welcome shade from the sun and a splash through the river was glorious too. Tex splashed so much that everyone else had to dive for cover.
We enjoyed the company of a member of the Spanish Side Saddle Association on the day. Andrea Muro Nebreda who was over in Ireland working for Susan Oakes, joined us on Susan’s Connemara stallion Coral Misty’s Comic,
while Susan rode on her impressive grey stallion SIEC Atlas with whom she is in training to break the side saddle high jump world record.
The other riders were Sarah Conway (who is HOYS bound after winning the Ladies Hunter Class at Tattersalls), Niamh Drea, Aine Dagg, Sarah Moran, Lorna Keogh and Jennifer Maher Mulcahy.