RDA riders enjoy day out at Castle Leslie

On the trek at Castle Leslie
On the trek at Castle Leslie

Castle Leslie was the setting for a wonderful day out for seven RDA riders from Enniskillen, Banbridge and Moira, Lurgan and Moy RDA groups at the start of June.

Accompanied by over twenty five volunteers, they rode through the beautiful grounds, passing close to the renowned castle itself. Luckily the resident ghost was not to be seen, which was maybe just as well.

Time for a splash in the lake at Castle Leslie

Time for a splash in the lake at Castle Leslie

The bluebells were still in bloom through the forest paths, which while mucky underfoot, gave riders new sensations of riding over rough ground. As usual, the lake was the highlight of the day - the riders were able to go right into the water and luckily it was only the volunteers who got soaked.

Organisers wish to thank the Castle Leslie staff who made everyone so welcome, especially the yard trainees who accompanied the group on the trek and managed to keep a herd of cattle at bay.

It was a wonderful opportunity for the riders to experience the “great outdoors” and, with such a wonderful setting, it is hoped that they will have many happy memories of the day out.

After a picnic lunch, the riders left laden with rosettes, malteasers and the new RDA Endeavour awards to reward them for their achievement.

Many thanks to all those involved, the RDA Instructors and volunteers, the Castle Leslie staff and RDA photographer, Henry Doggart.

Last week, RDA NI returned to Mount Pleasant Trekking centre at Castlewellan Forest Park. The venue had been frequented by RDA riders at the annual residential holiday over several years.

Five riders had the opportunity to ride through the forest; however the volunteers had forgotten just how hilly the track actually is. Nevertheless, this was a good opportunity for the riders to learn about riding up and down hills and how leaning correctly makes things easier for the horses and ponies.

Having to “duck” under overhanging branches involved vigilance all around and were just some of the experiences that you don’t often come across in the indoor riding schools.

Heavy overnight rain enabled Kim, from Whinney Hill group, to spot a large frog hiding in the grass. All in all, it was another lovely outing, and thanks to all the volunteers who helped towards giving the riders a memorable day out.