Horseback Riding in Ireland

Aille Cross Country Trail

Overview

Ride cross-country from one farm to another with opportunities to jump a variety of natural and man made obstacles. The horses are all excellent hunters experienced following hounds with the Galway Blazers. During hunting season you may, if you wish, hunt up to three times during the week. The trail’s varied terrain includes the Slieve Aughty Mountains, large tracts of forestry, rolling hills and green fields set off by a latticework of lacy stone walls, and small country roads.

The base for this ride is about an hour’s drive from Shannon Airport. Accommodations are at the Loughrea Hotel and Spa, or a local B&B. Program: Begins any Monday, with optional hunting on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday during hunting season (mid October to mid February). The ride provides cross-country jumping and trail riding for riders with advanced abilities. Ride cross-country through the surrounding area and jump a variety of cross-country courses. There are inclines, drops and double stone walls at Knock Ash, and fallen tree trunks on the forest ride to Killnadema where the landscape is laced with single walls. It is walls and more walls which make this landscape so distinctive. There are also superb event courses, which give your guides the opportunity to increase your confidence and ability in controlled conditions.

Riders have the option of hotel or B&B accommodations.

Hotel lodging during the week is at the Loughrea Hotel & Spa. Contemporary and, at times, quirky in design, all guest rooms feature creature comforts such as luxurious bedding, high-speed internet, gorgeous en-suite bathrooms and either lake or countryside views. Hairdryers and tea and coffee making facilities are available in each room.

Riders choosing the B&B option will be staying at the Fairhill House in Loughrea run by Ann Donnellan. This is a modern two-story guesthouse with 5 bedrooms, all have en-suite bathrooms.

A hearty Irish breakfast is served each morning at either the hotel or the guesthouses. Picnic-style lunches are provided at the Aille Cross. Dinners are taken at a variety of local restaurants.

  • Overview:
    The Aille Cross Equestrian Centre maintains a large variety of horses year round, including the largest herd of Connemara ponies anywhere in the world. These Irish horses and Connemara ponies, each being of the highest quality, are known worldwide for their fantastic jumping ability, gentleness, intelligence and stamina. There is a horse to suit every rider’s needs whether a beginner jumper or someone with years of experience. Quality English tack is utilized.
  • Horse Breeds:
    Irish Hunter, Connemara
  • Trip Pace:
    moderate to fast, with jumping
  • Tack:
    English
  • Weight limit:
    250 lbs

Loughrea

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Riders are collected from their accommodations approximately at 10:30 AM and transferred to the Aille Cross. The morning is spent getting to know the horses and country. Ride through the forest to Killnadema where riders have the opportunity to jump small obstacles, while the guide assesses their ability. While there is plenty of jumping available for those who want to, it must be stressed that all obstacles can be avoided.

Day 2

Today, fox hunt with the Galway Blazers. For those not hunting, cross-country riding to Knock Ash, site of an ancient ring fort. After a simple picnic lunch jump on the farmland surrounding the Aille Cross.

Day 3

Begin riding at Dartfield Horse Museum and Park. There are 350 acres of rolling parkland with a superb cross-country course for riders to jump. Visit the museum after lunch. The afternoon is spent riding and jumping on the farmland surrounding the museum.

Day 4

Once again those wishing to participate may fox hunt with the Galway Blazers. Those not hunting ride to Killnadema where there are natural obstacles and stone walls to jump. After lunch enjoy a hack through a large area of forestry with plenty of opportunity for fast gallops along woodland tracks.

Day 5

Today return to the event course at Dartfield. This course has many professionally designed jumps for all levels of riders. It includes some of the best water complexes in Ireland. Those not wishing to jump can ride through the farmland around the museum and beyond into the surrounding area.

Day 6

During hunting season (late October through February), riders may choose to join Willie and spend the day hunting with the Galway Blazers. For those not hunting this is a great day to attend the meet and watch the hounds move off. Those who want to ride but don’t want to hunt spend the day riding in the countryside around Aille Cross. Riders will be surprised at how much their confidence and ability has increased during the week.

Day 7

Depart after breakfast.

Itinerary Addendum

This itinerary is flexible and changes may occur at the guide's discretion due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

Every Monday, October to the end of April. Hunts available mid-October through February.

Pricing & Options

  • Base Price
  • $1,595
  • Pricing Variation
  • $1,750
  • Single Supplement
  • $80For the week in guesthouse accommodations. $135 for the week in Hotel accommodations.

Pricing & Options

  • Base Price
  • $1,595
  • Pricing Variation
  • $1,750
  • Single Supplement
  • $80For the week in guesthouse accommodations. $135 for the week in Hotel accommodations.
Additional Pricing Information:
For those who wish to hunt, the visitor's cap of 150 Euro is extra and payable to the Hunt Treasurer at the Meet. Prices are based on the dollar/pound exchange and are subject to change. Ride price is set, guaranteed, and final at the time deposit is paid.


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Contact Biggi Hayes

The Clew Bay ride is a great way to experience authentic Ireland on horseback. The host, Padraic, is incredibly warm and extremely knowledgeable about both the area and his horses. He is great at tailoring the ride to suit your riding level and comfort. On the trail I saw the beautiful rolling green hills Ireland is famous for, dotted with countless sheep and centuries old structures. There were also stunning views of Clew Bay and plenty of cantering on the beach. Westport is an incredibly charming town with lots of great places to eat and really friendly people. The Lurgan House bed & breakfast is very comfortable after a long day in the saddle.

Millard, May 2019