You might have noticed a lot of spam recently when myself & Orla planned a spontaneous trip to the wonderful Hollywood Horse & Pony Trekking Center. There is no better way to change the scenery for the horses with a nice relaxing trail ride through the Wicklow mountains & of course the unforgettable river!
Our visit to the Hollywood Trekking centre we have to say was definately something we both needed, something to take our minds off the constant schooling we do at home. It was not just a change of scenery, but it also gave the horses an adventure. We rode in a group ride out of approx 9, it really put the horses behavior to the test, with both of us being pleasantly surprised with there good manners. This time last year we would of been quite skeptical of taking off anywhere in the sense that they even managed to act up going for a walk on the beach!
We do have to mention that Hollywood Horse & Trekking normally don’t allow you to bring your own horse on this trek, this is totally understandable. They suggest you book in on one of their horses, this way if something happens, their horses are trained not to run away or take off also the horses know their way around the trails. The footing for this time of year is quite unpredictable, the centre itself were quite cautious of our horses not being used to the ground worrying about them picking up stone bruises, but we avoided any such injuries, thank god!!
”Ray & the entire team were just phenomenal“
They did to our amazement leave the best part until last, THE RIVER. Omg it was amazing. It was 100% both a highlight for myself & Orla, bar Dante threatening to lie down by pawing away at the water, not to mention the young girl who led us through the river she was the best! We decided with this information to compile a go to guide on how to prepare for a horse trek, & some Essential travel tips when going!
- Plan your visit – Before you set of to your selected location, be sure to pop it into Google maps. Get yourself used to the route you have to take, a lot of these places are smack bang in the middle of nowhere, so preparation is key. I can only imagine it being quite nerve wrecking towing your horse into the unknown, planning your route prior will eliminate any nasty turns or the odd reversing down those back country roads! We recommend have your co-pilot do the navigating to the driver to take less pressure off, letting them focus on the road! A lot of places are extremely good when it comes to finding them, if you are in trouble don’t hesitate to give the venue a call, most people are extremely helpful.
- Preparing Yourself – During the winter months, the last thing you want is to pick up a nasty cold or flu, not only will it set you back a few days, but getting over it & getting your energy levels back up afterwards is not ideal. Gloves, neck scarves, layers upon layers they are all a must. Dont forget you may be sitting up on your horse thinking your not doing an awful lot but infact you are doing a lot more than you think, try keeping your jacket on, keeping your chest & ears covered if you can. Nobody likes riding with numb hands or numb feet! If you are setting off on long rides with your horse, I always pack a spare pair of clothes to change into for the way home, a fresh pair of fluffy socks being a must & a clean warm jumper. I would also recommend bring some sort of snack for the way home, you dont realise how hungry you actually are until you start munching away, keep your energy levels up & keep hydrated with a bottle of water!
- Prepare Your Horse – One of the most dreaded things when going travelling with your horse, the packing before hand and the cleaning up afterwards. You dont realise how much they need until your struggling to pack it all into the car. Normally the night before or the morning off, I set everything aside ready & waiting to be loaded into the car. Having the coolers/rugs & travel boots ready for the morning saves you running around and rushing which only leaves you in a panic & in turn gives you the fear that you have forgotten something. If you are hacking I would recommend not bringing or wearing your horses fancy boots, they more than likely will end up ruined or in our case you’l end up trekking through rivers and mucky fields, I have personally set a side a pair of front & hind boots especially for field work/trekking. This way it doesn’t make me feel so bad about them being covered head to toe in muck.
We would highly recommend this trek for a group of equestrian lovers, you don’t need years of riding experience to do it either, that’s how well trained their horses are. If you are stuck for a family activity to do, or something different for the non horsey people in your life, we defiantly couldn’t recommend this place enough. It is €40 well spend not to mention you get some amazing Insta moments!
With the above being said, we have to mention that it took us quite a few days to find a suitable location to bring our horses. We found it quite difficult to pin point an equestrian venue/centre that allowed us to bring our own horses. A lot of places where down to insurance reasons, which is 100% understandable, but a lot of places just had a strict policy and a stern No the minute we asked.
Keep an eye on the blog for our list of venues to visit, a few hidden gems that you may not have known about, of course compiled with the help of you our readers!
See you in the comments below, and be sure to check out a short clip from our adventures to Hollywood Horse & Pony Trekking be sure to check out their Instagram page also!
Until Next Time,