We GUARANTEE you won't find the same horse riding holiday at a lower price through any other source... and if you do, we promise to refund the difference!
from £1,350 or €1,510
NON RIDERS welcome please ask.
Included – Includes 6 days of guided rides, accommodation and full board, plus transfer to and from Galway City at set times for international clients.
Excluded – Getting there, tips & drinks
3 – 9 August
17 – 23 August
31 August – 6 September
14 – 20 September
International guests should fly to Dublin or Shannon
International guests can be met in Galway city and we include a return pick up. From Dublin or Shannon, there are good bus links directly to Galway or we can arrange a private transfer. Otherwise it’s just a drive to Loughrea.
All our horse riding holidays& adventures are price guaranteed giving our clients piece of mind. We will refund the difference should you find the same horse riding holiday elsewhere at a lower price.
The west coast of Ireland and in particular Connemara is of course one of the most beautiful places in the world. Still unspoilt with stunning mountains, empty beaches and woodlands too, Willie Leahy and his team have been running trails here for decades and get you right off the beaten track. This is an outstanding trail ride. We are great fan’s of Connemara’s; Zara’s kids have grown up with some fantastic ones and Jill has ridden a Connie in the RDS and owned and ridden her own as a young adult. His name was Rosenaharley Lauris and he was and still is her all-time favourite horse to date. Willie has a great array of Connemara ponies and you’ll be impressed at how perfect they are for the job.
Six days or more of exciting and relaxing holidays, where, after you spending four to six hours a day on horseback, you are accommodated in luxurious hotels or B&Bs while the horses graze freely in a nearby field.
Guided by this friendly centaur, you cross the wild green hills, the rust coloured bogs through which only an experienced man like Willie knows his way. Among castle and manor ruins and along mountain paths, your will cross and settle for lunch in the most picturesque of spots.
Your luggage is brought by car from accommodation to accommodation, while the your catering needs are met enroute by the Connemara Trail’s dynamic team.
The Trails are not confined to horse lovers. On demand, many activities such as river fishing and deep-sea fishing, golf, cycling, mountain climbing or walking the little deserted roads, swimming etc. can be organised. Non-riders will meet their riding Partners every evening to share their daily experience in the hotel pub.
At the end of this adventure, the Atlantic coast beckons and you reach it : you feel a fresh and salty breeze, while you gallop along the white sand of these endless beaches: pure magic!
The west of Ireland off the beaten track like this is unique and both international and local guests love this adventure.
Horses –Good quality Connemara ponies, Connemara Crosses, Cobs & Irish Drafts & Irish Draft Crosses 14hh to 16hh. They all have a great attitude, forward going and happy in their work.
Level of Riding & Pace – Good Novice plus. The riding includes the odd gallop and the horses are well behaved and forward going. Of course it is a trail ride and due to the terrain this is not a fast ride and there is lots of walking, climbing and trotting too.
Tack – English Style.
Weight Restriction – 17.3 stones / 2420lbs / 110kgs
Group Size – Maximum 15 riders.
There are a mix of historic hotels, house hotels, hotels and B&B’s all chosen for their location, charm and warm welcomes.
You will stay in lovely personally selected B&B’s on this ride. If you want to upgrade and stay in hotel accommodation you can do so for a small upgrade fee, just ask us.
The food from start to finish is outstanding, fresh, local produce is served often and as much as possible. You can look forward to hearty Irish breakfasts with tasty local sausages, lunch is picnic style in beautiful stop off points, and evening meals are a showcase of the best food Connemara has to offer, local lamb, beef and seafood.
Of course the Guinness is exceptional here and plenty of chances to test it out…
Please Ask About
You can take a cross country holiday at Willie’s base Dartfield just outside Loughrea, ask us about this.
Connemara Trail – Itinerary by Day
The riders meet at the Meyrick Hotel (formerly the Great Southern Hotel), Eyre Square, in the heart of Galway at 10am. Here you are introduced to your guide and the back up team who are on hand to move luggage, bring the picnic and help with the horses.
There is a short drive, out of the city (approx. 30 min) to the start point of the ride, at Oughterard. Here you will have your first sight of the horse or pony which is to become your companion for the week. The horses and ponies are assigned to the riders, according to the rider’s ability, weight, height etc. After tacking up the ride departs and heads straight into the mountains for a long ride that will finish at Maam Cross, the site of the famous October horse fair.
The trail takes the riders past the ruins of cottages abandoned since the famine, in the 1840’s, which decimated the Irish population. As the trail winds its way through the spectacular scenery the view is magnificent, spanning the horizon is the vast expanse of Lough Corrib, the largest lake in southern Ireland.
After lunch the ride continues through the mountains, traversing the bogs and rocks and wading through streams. Way below the trail is the ‘Quiet Man Bridge’, made famous by the John Wayne movie. The day ends with the first of many canters along the abandoned Galway to Clifden railway line. At the end of the day the horses are turned loose into a lakeside pasture while the riders travel to their accommodation.
Having spent the night at the lakeside pasture at Maam Cross the horses are refreshed and ready to begin the ride from Maam Cross to Ballinafad. The first stage of the ride goes through Willie’s land at Maam Cross, where a path takes the riders alongside the beautiful Lough Sindle and past the remains of a long forgotten lime kiln, hidden in a grove of hazel trees.
Some of the trees in the area are ancient, yet they remain tiny, bent by the harsh Atlantic winds that batter this area during the winter. Lunch is eaten on a small village green, while the horses graze.
After lunch it is back into the saddle for the final stage of the days ride, through silent woodlands and through the beautiful Inagh Valley. On a clear day riders can see right over the spectacular Connemara landscape to the coast at Rosmuc. The day ends with another canter along the old Galway to Clifden railway line, before the horses are turned out in a pasture at Ballinafad, before the riders return to their accommodation.
The horses are rounded up and saddled before the ride leaves Ballinafad.
This morning the horses wade through a wide mountain stream before heading up into a short stretch of mountain above the ancient Ballinafad cemetery.
The riders then go through the grounds of Ballinahinch Castle, enjoying a long canter through the woodland beforehand. The castle was once the home of an Indian Prince and also Richard Martin who founded the humane society for the protection of animals.
There is a long canter along the old railway line. The grassy track is great fun for a long canter. The horses are set free on the edge of bogland close to Clifden while the riders eat lunch.
Then it is back into the saddle for the afternoon ride which goes along a grassy track close to Clifden and then heads inland over the Roundstone Bog, site of the landing of the historic flight of Alcock and Brown, who piloted the first transatlantic biplane and the site of the Marconi wireless station. Then we follow the coast to the seaside pasture where the horses will spend the next few nights. The riders then head to their accommodation in Clifden where they will spend the next few nights.
This is a full day spent on the fabulous Mannin Bay beach. There is mile after mile of sandy beach where riders can gallop and jump over the small stone walls and sandy banks.
This is an unforgettable day. Riders are welcome to swim their mount in the clear water of the ocean. It is a unique and very special experience as the horse begins to swim under you. The horses dry off and rest in a beach side pasture while the riders eat a picnic lunch on over the beach over looking the ocean. Then it is back into the saddle for another ride along the beach to discover more of the wonders of this coastline.
The ride begins at the sea and ends at Toombeola, inland over the mountains.
The ride follows the coastline, passing small farmsteads, where generations of small farmers have lived and worked. The coastline is beautiful, the water often the colour of a tropical sea. The ride continues into Errisbeg mountain along an old grassy track before our lunch stop, which is eaten in the mountains, overlooking the pasture where the horses eat. Then they are saddled for the ride that takes us high into Errisbeg mountain high above the seaside village of Roundstone. Watch out for the leprechauns that are known to inhabit this area. Below is the stunning scenery of Dogs Bay, which curves out into the Atlantic Ocean. The horses spend the night in a pasture at Toombeola while the riders travel back to Loughrea for the night.
You will spend Saturday night again in Loughrea from where you will depart after breakfast on Sunday morning.
The riders will be collected from the Hotel / Guesthouse in the morning and brought to Dartfield, Willie’s purpose built Equestrian and Heritage Centre. After a warm welcome with hot Port or Whiskey we will tack up the horses and enjoy trekking through the 350 acres estate. The ride goes through woodland and across fields and there is the option to jump in our Cross Country Course which already hosted an international 3 Star event. Lunch will be in our Cafe here at Dartfield and you have the chance to visit the only Museum in Ireland dedicated to Irish horses / ponies and Dog Breeds and browse our Tack and Gift Shop.
The afternoon is again spent riding here at Dartfield, going out hacking and jumping before it is time to say good bye.
Breakfast & departure.
Zara’s Planet Horse Riding Holidays Guarantee:
If you are having trouble finding exactly the right horse riding holiday for you from our horse riding holiday collection, please contact us directly using the form below and tell us in your own words what you would like to do and we will use our extensive knowledge to make sure we find that perfect horse riding holiday.