Mount Juliet Irish Sport Horses, Ireland
Riding the stately grounds of Mount Juliet Estate in Ireland, I could imagine myself in a period film. I was on a civilized ride, meandering along the sixteen miles of bridle paths on the estate grounds. My guide Eleanor suggested that we ride our horses into the river for a bit of craic (Irish for fun). Eleanor’s horse made a funny sneer as he pawed at the water, and we both laughed.
I starred up at the old stone bridge, decorated with bright pink flowers and thought about this pretty place where I was privileged to ride. Up until the 1980’s, not too long ago, Mount Juliet was a private residence, complete with a staff of around 100. Today the estate is open to avid golfers and riders like me, who want to experience a piece of the past. If you are able to try fly fishing with Billy the Gilly, an older character with a wealth of tales, you’ll hear stories of the estate’s bygone days, when Billy danced at elegant parties and the estate was run just so. Riders can take a gentle hack or train on the challenging cross country course.
On my adventure, Eleanor led me out of the water and along the banks of the River Nore on Harold, a strong Irish Sport Horse. Eleanor grew up riding in nearby Tipperary County and is quite proud of the Irish mounts and of the facilities at Mount Juliet. We trotted and cantered by the curious foals at Ballylinch Stud, where horses have been bred since the early 1900’s. The elegant, grey estate house rose up, perched on a hill across from us. I was a world away from my life in the states, happy to be riding through Ireland’s regal past.