Cross Country and Tuition in the Golden Vale riding holiday in Ireland - Far and Ride
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Cross Country and Tuition in the Golden Vale, Ireland


There is so much fun to be had here and so much to learn! The level of tuition is wonderful and the place is well managed by Sue and Dan, aided by their secretary Tess who is helpful, fun and great at her job.

Holly & Emma: Far&Ride, Read review
This was a great holiday with lovely scenery and very helpful people who treat you as one of the family. The experience was energetic, educational and self gratifying. The variation of horses was good as it tested your overall skills and developed you in areas that needed it. This is an intense riding package.

Sophie V and Gary P.
Fantastic opportunity to improve XC skills, well-schooled, forward-going horses and friendly, knowledgeable instructors. It was exhausting but brilliant! Would love to go back. Instruction excellent, but so relaxed that you could really challenge yourself with technical fences on horses that know what they are doing.

Paula A.
From start to finish some of the best instruction and horses I have ever ridden. I was very happy with the horse I rode - all the instructors are very good. My best memory is the cross country course. I am not sure this holiday could be improved!

Steven L


Type of horses:

Various but mainly Irish Sport Horse and Connemara Ponies.

Nature of horses:

Well bred, excellently schooled and fresh (these horses are safe but not stale from too long in a school environment).

Height of horses:

12 - 17hh

Weight limit:


Tack type:




Current Conditions:
Partly Cloudy, 5 C

Fri - Showers Late. High: 6 Low: 3
Sat - Rain/Wind. High: 9 Low: 7
Sun - Rain/Wind. High: 11 Low: 6
Mon - Rain/Wind. High: 12 Low: 9
Tue - Rain/Wind. High: 14 Low: 11

Full Forecast at Yahoo! Weather

(provided by The Weather Channel)

Ride Description

This fabulous riding centre, situated just next door to the picturesque village of Adare, offers everything you need for the perfect Irish riding experience. The estate comprises of 120 acres of lush green countryside featuring a cross-country course to suit all levels of rider. The facilities here are outstanding - there are both indoor and outdoor schools which are particularly spacious and well taken care of, the stables are tidy and organised with a variety of top class horses and the level of tuition on offer is outstanding. This destination is perfectly situated to provide an all round wonderful trip, the area being exceptionally lovely and the locals affable and charming. It is also one of very few destinations which will happily host unaccompanied children, providing them with a safe and fun environment in which to improve their riding and have a memorable time.

The centre has been managed by Sue and Dan since 1992 and both are highly accomplished riders. Dan has brought many young horses up to National Level, training several point to point winners, and is renowned for his ability to pick out great quality horses to match the rider. Dan's pupils go on to have great riding success and his love of riding is shared by the entire family, his passion passing down to his daughters who are all successful riders in their own right. His lessons are usually booked up - the sign of a brilliant coach! Sue is a skilled competitor and BHS level II instructor, as well as an EFI level II coach. She has over 20 years of professional experience, in a number of riding disciplines, and helps riders to relax and enjoy their horseback experiences whilst also improving their techniques. Sue is great encouragement for beginners of all ages and acts as a mother and confidante to the younger guests.

Without a doubt, the cross-country course here is one of the greatest you will find and an absolute pleasure to ride. At each point there is a choice between large jumps, small jumps or no jump which means that groups of friends, families or simply guests of different abilities can ride out together if they'd like, each taking the option which best suits them. There is such variety in the obstacles that even highly experienced eventers will enjoy this course, with the less experienced able to simply enjoy cantering through the countryside, a real pleasure in its own right. The two arenas on the estate are ideal settings for the great lessons given here, with the indoor school having been recently renovated to feature new kickboards and new flooring which is wonderful to ride on. Both schools are spacious and excellent venues for tuition and events of all kinds. There are also some pleasant hacking opportunities in the area, though the estate is so spacious that you never really need to leave!

There is a number of horses here and your instructor will find you the ideal equine partner. They are mostly Irish Sport Horses with some Connemara ponies and other breeds and you can be assured that they are all superb quality - Dan doesn't take them on if they aren't! If you take a liking to a particular horse (very easily done here, though you may like more than one!) then chances are that you can buy it. The horses here are bought young and carefully handled before being put out to pasture to grow up. They are then diligently schooled by Dan, Sue and the other highly skilled staff before beginning their time as a mount for regulars and holiday guests alike. The centre doesn't like to keep horses too long, ensuring that they do not become "stale" and that they can go on to other stages in their life. This means that all the horses here, although very safe and trustworthy, maintain some enthusiasm for their work and keep their friendly nature.

Located just 5 minutes drive from Adare in County Limerick, the surroundings of this riding centre provide an excellent backdrop for your riding holiday. Adare is a quaint little village with many attractive little cafés, shops, pubs and restaurants and features lovely thatched roofed cottages. There are a variety of sights to be seen here or one can simply enjoy this charming place at their leisure, popping into a pub to chat with the locals, taking a walk through the rich countryside or enjoying one of the many other available activities listed below. There is a choice of accommodation to suit all guests, those looking for more luxury being able to stay in the wonderful local hotel which is in the prime position for adventuring around Adare and the Irish landscapes beyond. There is something here to suit almost any kind of rider and you are guaranteed to have fun - lone travellers will make friends fast, groups will enjoy the experience of riding out together and children will have the time of their lives.

See Programmes.


Food & Accommodation

There are various accommodation options here - guests can stay in a luxurious Hotel, or unaccompanied children can stay in the lodge with the centre managers and their family.

The Hotel is a wonderful option for guests looking for a luxurious and comfortable place to retire to after a day of riding. There are plenty of other restaurants, pubs and bars in Adare should you wish to eat out in different places and there are a variety of small gift shops.

The centre's joint managers and senior instructors, Sue and Dan, live in the lodge with their three daughters. They have four extra bedrooms open to guests, as well as a seperate lounge area, and offer these spaces to unaccompanied youths and children on the riding programmes. They are willing to take unaccompanied children from the age of 8 and up and it is a fabulous way for youngsters to spend the summer. Up to 10 children can be accommodated at a time and they are treated as part of the family with Sue acting as mother and mentor. Food is wholesome and tasty with snacks and drinks available for guests to help themselves to and the estate is safe with plenty of space for children to play without getting lost.

We would advise that adults hire a car if possible - the area surrounding the lodge is really beautiful and offers many sights and places of interest to visit. Staff at the centre will happily give you lifts when possible and can arrange trustworthy taxis for you but there's nothing like having the freedom of your own four wheels. This is a particularly a good idea if you are staying in Adare as it means you can drive to and from the riding centre at your own leisure, popping back to Adare for a tasty Irish lunch and a pint of Guinness when desired.

Food depends on what accommodation option you take but will be delicious whichever option you go for.

The Lodge - staying with the family here means nourishing and tasty family meals, such as pasta and casseroles. Lunch is cooked and left out for guests to help themselves to and the cupboards are always stocked with fruit and cookies.

In all cases, special diets can be catered for.



This area has much to offer - cycling and hiking through the lush green countryside is a must for nature enthusiasts (don't forget your camera and binoculars) as well as riders.

There are two top class golf courses within five minutes of the centre, one being at Adare Manor which is in itself worth a look - this 18th Century manor house is located on the banks of the River Maigue and is set on an 840 acre estate. It is an architectural masterpiece with stunning gardens and interesting ruins, such as those of the Franciscan Abbey, founded in 1464. The golf course here has been venue to the Irish Open in 2007 and 2008.

For those interested in history there are various places to see - Adare features the Trinitarian Abbey established in 1230 (and renovated in 1811 to become the Catholic Parish Church), the Augustinian Priory which was founded in 1316 and wonderful thatched roof cottages which have now become shops and restaurants. Bunratty Castle, a famous 15th century tower house, is situated nearby and features an extensive folk park. This park has reconstructions of historical buildings and cottages, giving guests a real feel of the 19th century. The castle is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in the whole of Ireland and it even offers medieval banquets in the evenings.

A wide range of fishing is available in the area and if you speak to Tess (the centre's secretary), she can advise you on where you can go for this. There are fishermen who will take you out and provide you with the necessary tackle and there is even professional coaching available nearby. Flyfishing in the nearby river is a treat for the true fisherman or woman.

There is a whole host of other options for guests to this beautiful part of the world - go-karting, dolphin watching, sight-seeing, shopping and of course drinking Guinness and eating authentic Irish food. Take some time to enjoy the company of the locals who are friendly and welcoming.


Further Details

Languages: English

Health requirements: Fit and healthy

Age limit: None within reason

Tuition: Yes

Included: Depends on the package but riding and training, as well as hot drinks are included in all.

Not included: Accommodation, meals, flights, transfers from and to airport, extra activities.


Travel Information

Fly into Shannon Airport with transfer to Riding Centre or Adare accommodation. Transfer (return) is 150 Euros per person.

Guests can also fly into Cork.

Airport: Shannon



Adult Training Programme

The daily schedule offers a wonderful combination of riding and the afternoon has options to suit. Although each day follows the same routine, guests will never be bored here as there are so many facilities and horses and each day will bring a different lesson and something new to be learned. It's a wonderful trip to combine a fun and enjoyable holiday with the experience to vastly improve your riding skills.


Arrive at the stables in time for a quick tea or coffee, before grooming and tacking up your horses.


The morning begins with an arena lesson combining flatwork and jumping. This could be taken either in the large top quality indoor school with mirrors to view your own position, or in the huge outdoor school which provides plenty of space for practice. On the first day, this hour also acts as an assessment lesson, allowing your instructor to see your capabilities and to find the perfect horse and level of tuition to suit.


A hack out in the countryside is the perfect way to unwind after your lesson. The trail may include a cross-country instructional lesson over the 120 acre parkland cross country course (should you wish). The course offers many natural obstacles of varying difficulty which allow all levels of rider to enjoy the course. There are large jumps for the more experienced guest, smaller jumps to suit the inexperienced, rusty or nervous and of course the option of no jumping for those just wanting to ride out with the group and enjoy the scenery and horses.


Break for lunch. The Dunraven Arms Hotel offers a packed lunch service to those who require it or, for those who have hired a car or booked a taxi, it is a 5 minute drive into Adare where there are a number of lovely pubs and restaurants to spend a lunchtime. 


Time to head back to the centre for an enjoyable afternoon ride! For the afternoons, the group has a choice between a gentle hack, show jumping, more cross-country work or some dressage. This flexibility means that no day is ever the same and that guests can either focus on one particular discipline or can improve their all round riding.


A stable management session will see you refresh your skills on the ground, in the tack room and in the stable. For those who would rather take the afternoon off to explore the area, then this can also be arranged.


Finish for the day. For most, it's time to take off those jodhpurs, enjoy a hot shower and relax before dinner. For the energetic types, the afternoon can be spent experiencing more of the area or trying out some other activities.

Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: Beginner - Advanced
Type of ride: Training.
Total riding time: As detailed by programme
Departure dates: All year round
Pricing: 2015:

The price for this programme is 529 per person for the week. This does not include accommodation or meals but pays for the top class intensive tuition, with British Horse Society and Equestrian Federation of Ireland qualified instructors, you will receive as well as all the invaluable skills you will learn throughout your stay.

Car hire is recommended.

Price does not include flights or travel insurance.

Children's Pony Camp (with English)

This is a wonderful holiday for unaccompanied children (8+) where they are not only kept safe but will also have the time of their lives. Staying in the family home, they will sleep in bunk rooms with children of similar ages, where they will have the chance to make many new friends (including Sue and Dan's own daughters). Sue treats the children as part of the family, acting as their mentor and friend and also taking them swimming and to the cinema some evenings. The housekeeper here keeps the children in order and they are sure to enjoy the food as well as the company. Breakfast brings many food options and children are invited to help themselves. Lunch is yummy and filling, often pizza, pasta, soup or sandwiches. Fruit and snacks are always available in the kitchen and special diets can be catered for.

Children are not only taught riding but also horse care and stable management. They are encouraged and expected to get involved in grooming and tacking up their horse, cleaning tack and other general yard duties. If they don't feel like riding some days, for whatever reason, there is bound to be something else for them to do or to get involved in.

As Sunday riding is only in the mornings, the afternoon can be spent swimming or perhaps in the local shopping mall (accompanied by Sue or another friendly and trustworthy member of staff). This is also a great option for Friday and Saturday nights. Sometimes Sundays can even be spent visiting local horse shows, allowing the children to see the joys of competition.

Typical Daily Schedule:

8:30am: Breakfast

9:00am: Catch the ponies with a supervisor before grooming and tacking up. Riding lessons will include a mixture of dressage, flatwork and jumping.

11:30am: English lessons focusing on developing grammar and conversation skills.

1:00pm: Time for lunch back at the lodge!

2:15pm: Back to the stables for an afternoon hack or some fun pony games.

4:00pm: Evening stable duties - grooming, feeding and taking the ponies back to the field.

6:00pm: Dinner at the lodge.

Accommodation: Accommodation is in the family home (the Lodge). Children sleep in bunk beds, sharing the rooms with other children guests.
Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: Beginner - Advanced
Type of ride: Based
Total riding time: Usually 3 - 4 hours per day, sometimes more.
Departure dates: All year round
Pricing: 2015:

The price per child, per week: 837

This includes transfers from and to Shannon Airport, accommodation, riding and all meals. Evening riding also included Mon - Thurs, time dependent on day.

Price does not include flights or travel insurance.