Today was 6 hours of peaceful bliss that resonated the clippity clop of horses on sand, cobblestone, marsh, and grass. The day started on the beach, sand flinging about in the air as the horses pounded the earth with their wide-hooved drumbeats. The sky started off ominous, but no rain did we anticipate today since the farthest mountains were visible through the mist since the early morning.
After the bout on the beach, the journey began across roads made for cars, passing by residential homes. Children came out of their homes to wave us as we passed by along our journey. An even more unexpected observer happen-chanced on our journey. For thirty minutes, my shoulder became the comfortable pillow to a delicate ladybug. I may have lost two horseshoes in two days, but I think that all the “voodoo” had been made up for with my lucky ladybug.
Time melted away, and before we knew it, we were exclusively riding on untouched land that seemed as though a cottonball bag of sheep had been spilled upon the greenery around. Voodoo would look at the white “baaaahing” critters and think to himself, “What ugly horses!” and carry on along knowing that if I wasn’t not too scared, neither should he be.
The trail took us along the tracks built exclusively for horses during the time of the Great Famine (1845-1852). Due to the potato blight that was the principle cause of the Great Famine, ~1 million people died, and more than 1 million fled the country, reducing the Ireland by at least 25% its original size. The pathway was eerily beautiful, with rows of neatly stacked stones on either side and perfect rows of wild flowers blooming purple blossoms as though perfectly arranged by an invisible gardener.
The trail continued onward up the mountains and passed tributaries. Finally after riding for 4 hours, we took a break, and Voodoo more than obliged the offer. While he enjoyed his bucket of oats, I savoured a tasty cheese sandwich, shortbread, apple, and tea. Poor Voodoo had to lift me back up after that delicious picnic lunch and carry onwards through more grassy terrain and then through slippery bog. In a canter that represented all the freedom I feel human and horse possess, we passed below Muckish Mountain. The final two hours of today’s journey required crossing three rivers by means of ancient fords. As we passed, the road arrived between two rocky mountain tops that looked like identical twin mountains of Mordor. In fact, I could have sworn that I saw Sam helping Frodo on his way up, but then again, it could have been the emerald glint of the Irish landscape messing with my eyes…
After passing “the mountains of Mordor”, we cantered through a fairyless forest into the town of Errarooey that quaintly that overlooks a magnificent beach that I was so coveting to canter over but was advised against doing so due to the beach’s uneven sand. Upon arriving at our overnight stables in Errarooey, and the horses were fed. I kissed my dear Voodoo a goodnight and sadly had to leave him without any treats-somewhere along the way my sugar cubes fell out of my pocket! Not to worry- plenty more sugar lumps to snatch from the kitchen in the morning before I pick Voodoo back up to tallyho!