Sometimes when you think you have lost passion for a hobby, sometimes the passion comes with a stronger desire to rediscover your connection to that hobby.
I rode a horse for the last time in my sophomore year of college. My mare Erica had to go to a new home; I was miserable knowing that this was our last ride together. My dad thought it would be best for her to go somewhere were she could get the attention she deserved. Since the day I got rid of Erica, I dreamt of being back on a horse.
A year after I lost Erica, I found out that there was a five-week study abroad program offered through my university. I was excited that I might have the chance to study abroad and see a different culture. Before I knew it, I was on my way to Ireland. I had one desire that I wanted to accomplish while I was in Ireland. I wanted to go horseback riding. I spent a few months researching online for the perfect riding stable. I came across the Killarney Riding Stables in Killarney National Park. I shared the information about the stable with two other girls I met at the Ireland orientation. All three of us had passion for horses and riding, so we planned to go riding one of the weekends we had off from school.
I didn’t expect our booked date for riding would arrive so fast. I recall during the early morning hours of my big adventure, I heard rain hitting against my window. I thought that the rain would ruin my riding adventure. I got ready for my day of horseback riding. My two classmates and I waited for the stable owner to come pick us up and take us to the stable. The minute I got out of that Land Rover different emotions and memories began to resurface in me. The smell of the stable made me think of my barn back home where I kept my horse Erica. The mixture of hay, dust, horse, and mildew made me feel comfortable. As I heard the horseshoes hit the concrete, I thought that there was no better.
I got ready to go out on the trail. I found my riding shoes and helmet. When the stable workers brought me my horse, my heart was leaping for joy that I was about to get on the back of a horse. The horse I got to ride was a twelve-year-old Irish Draft mix gelding named Solomon and he was sixteen hands tall. When I got on his back, I thought that I had forgotten how to ride a horse because it had been a few years since I was on a horse. Plus, this was my first time riding English and using an English saddle. Back home, I’m use to riding Western and having a saddle that is bigger and has a horn at the front for ropes. There are many differences between the two styles. I was confused at first and wanted to convert back to Western. The guide had to correct me a couple of times for not riding English; however, I fixed the problem and started to enjoy the ride.
Solomon was a good horse because he was not hard to manage. With the reins, Solomon would listen to me and do as I told him. As we got onto the main trail, I saw the mountains in the distance, native Irish Red Deer, emerald green grass, and the main lake. The air was fresh. It was a mixture of after rain smell and fresh air. Before we knew it a rainstorm started. Our guide asked if we wanted to go back to the stables. Our guide was thrilled to hear that we rejected to the idea of going back. Instead, we went further on the trail and caused mud and water to splash everywhere. I looked down at my hands and they were turning red from the cold and rain. My hair was wet and nasty; eyeliner and mascara were running down my face. At that point, I did not care how I looked because I was having too much fun riding on the back of Solomon. It was pure joy to be riding a horse again.
As we came to next section of the trail, we started to canter again. For a moment, I just closed my eyes. I started to think about being on the back of Solomon and began to listen to the rain hitting my jacket, the stomping of Solomon’s hoofs splashing through the mud, and the wind blowing in my face. At that very moment, I felt freedom from the world and just wanted to enjoy my ride on Solomon. Solomon helped me to rediscover my passion for horseback riding. I never felt as much joy as what I did during the rainstorm cantering down a muddy trail. When I got back to the stable, I discovered that my jeans were soaked and covered with mud and horsehair. My horseback riding experience was extraordinary because not everyone gets the chance to ride horses in Ireland in the enchanting forest of Killarney.
After getting down from Solomon, I started to notice that I was cold like an icicle. Thankfully, I had brought a change of clothes with me. After we changed, we left the stables and got dropped off in front of a pub. We went into the pub to get drinks. I ordered an Irish coffee to warm me up. I was sore and exhausted from my early morning ride. I knew that I looked like I just left the stable, but I did not care what others though about me because I had a grand time riding.
Reflecting on my trail ride in Killarney National Forest, I would have to say that the experience was the highlight of my trip to Ireland. For me, there is nothing more magical than getting on the back of a horse and riding in the enchanting green forest of Killarney. I felt that I was in a dream because of all the beauty that surrounded me: the tall mountains, wildlife, the blue lake, and green vegetation. Ever since my experience in Killarney, I end up falling asleep every night dreaming of my moment riding Solomon. I have rediscovered my passion for riding and look forward to getting back on a horse soon.
Poem to go with this Article
The Pure Joy of Riding
Rain falling down all around you
Mud splashing everywhere
Cantering through these elements on horseback
Feeling free from the world.
Riding through a magical emerald forest
Finding out your jeans are covered in mud.
Discovering you are cold like an icicle
Noticing that you smell like a horse
Not caring how others see you
Feeling overly happy because
this moment is all you dream about now.