Top-class equestrian centres abound in Laois and neighbouring counties, the landscape is ideal for trekking, and experienced instructors are available to guide enthusiasts, whether they be experienced riders or just eager novices. There is also the option of touring the county for a week in a horse drawn caravan. The Curragh race course is also nearby.
The Curragh Racecourse
The Curragh Racecourse is the headquarters of Flat Racing in Ireland, hosting all five Classic Races and up to thirteen other quality racedays. Tickets from €18. Contact: Curragh Racecourse, Co. Kildare, Ireland.
t: ++ 353 (0) 45 441 205 f: ++ 353 (0) 45 441 442 email: email@example.com web: www.curragh.ie
Fossey Mountain Springs
A whole new equestrian experience in Laois -western-style riding at Fossey Mountain, Timahoe.
Run by Michael and Ester Lacumbre, who promise a taste of the real Wild West, the trekking will take place over different trails on attractive hilly and wooded landscape. Take a 1,2,3,4 hour offroad trail ride or a lesson in the arena for less experienced riders. Prices: Adults and children €20/hour. Contact:057 86-36527 086 1581469.
Portlaoise Equestrian Centre
Since it was opened in 1992, Portlaoise Equestrian Centre has provided a focus for the growing demand for a range of equestrian activities, from showjumping to dressage and cross-country to tuition.
There are 60 horses at the 40-acre complex which boasts a 16,000 sq ft indoor jumping arena, a 45,000 sq ft outdoor sand arena, and a non-competition cross- country jumping course.
Qualified instructors provide tuition six days a week while Sundays are often taken up with competitions. Portlaoise Equestrian Centre is home to the Triogue Pony Club, a club which is steadily building a fine reputation for itself on the pony club circuit.
Also located at the centre is Portlaoise Saddlery and Feeds, where there is a range of equipment to suit everyone from the beginner to the professional, as well as both horse and dog feeds. Prices: Adults, €30/hour, Children €25/hour, web: www.portlaoiseec.com Contact 057 86-60880.
Slieve Bloom Trail Equestrian Centre, Borris-in-Ossory
Breathtaking views of the Slieve Blooms await those who go horse trekking on the Slieve Bloom Trail with Deirdre Cash.
Based at Clononeen, Borris-in-Ossory, Deirdre has ten horses for trekking, and riders will proceed from the yard on a quiet,back-road to the Slieve Blooms at Coolrain.
The AIRE approved centre also offers riding lessons at its outdoor sand arena, and on the cross-country course. There will also be showjumping and eventing clinics with international showjumpers and event riders. Season april 15 - sept 15.Book Contact 0505-41298 deirdre 086 8032601.
Kilvahan Horse Drawn Caravans
Tired of driving around, seeing your car interior more than the great outdoors? Kilvahan Horse Drawn Caravans is probably exactly what you ’re looking for. Run by Henry and Paula Fingleton from their magnificent Georgian farmstead at Kilvahan, it offers a holiday with a difference.
First you spend a night at the well-appointed house with its old world lounge and open turf fire, be introduced to your horse and learn about looking after him, harnessing and driving.
The route for the week ahead, taking holidaymakers through Laois ’s quiet country roads with 12 designated stopover points, be they pubs or rustic farmhouses, will be planned. The horses are experienced animals from Dublin coal-yards and are suitable for novices - so first-timers need have no fears.
Kilvahan Horse Drawn Caravans is an award-winning, family-run company which prides itself on quality,friendliness and efficiency. Contact 057 86-27048.
Annaharvey offers super facilities for horseriding enthusiasts, experienced or otherwise.
The breakfast ride-out, which involves an hour on the horse in the morning followed by a late breakfast at the guest house, is an especially appealing option.
There is a steak ride-out too, where an hour in the saddle is rewarded with a steak dinner.
Between horses and ponies, there are 25 animals at Annaharvey Farm and riders are supervised by two fully qualified instructors.
Serious horsemen and women will enjoy the cross-country ride- outs over fences, a programme which is split into three levels of difficulty. Prices: Adults, €25/hour Children, €8/hour trekking rides available 1 hour duration. web: www.annaharveyfarm.ie open 11am - 9 pm each day and all year round except Christmas. Contact 0506-43544.
Ballyhyland Equestrian Centre and Cross Country
Adults: €15 /hour, Children: €10/hour opening times 10am - 8pm. open all year round except Christmas week. Contact Etta Hayes phone: 057 86 27200 mobile: 086 8057886.
Ballyhyland, Stradbally, Co. Laois
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