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Horses are an integral part of Irish culture. The sight of horses running on a beach is synonymous with a slice of Irish life. In Mayo it is a common and enviable sight. Famous racehorses have been bred here and racecourses such as the Curragh in Co Kildare attract huge crowds.
Folklore is full of legends relating to horses such as the white horse that carried a warrior called Oisin from the story: ‘The Land of Eternal Youth’ (Tir na nOg). To get a taste of the freedom horse riding brings, Mayo is abundant with opportunities to gallop on a sandy beach, trail-ride off the beaten track through farms, mountains and open countryside. Discover views of lakes, forests and mountains from the back of a Connemara Pony or Irish Sport Horse with Ashford Equestrian Centre in the Cong, in South Mayo. The great lakes of Lough Corrib and Lough Mask surround Cong, which is the natural gateway to Connemara. Castles, Ringforts and Abbeys are within riding distance from Cong with beautiful forest surroundings. All levels and ages are catered for with facilities including a large outdoor arena, indoor arena and twenty stables.
Each June the Horse and Pony Fair takes over the streets of Westport on the June Bank Holiday weekend courtesy of Drumindoo Stud, a multi-generational family business which is run by Padraic and Valerie Foy. Their equestrian centre offers the full gamut of experiences for beginners and experts alike under the guidance of attentive instructors. They offer the chance at horse riding, trekking on ponies, beach rides and day-long rides.
Just outside Westport facing the holy mountain is Carrowholly Stables and Trekking centre makes the most of the lovely beaches in the vicinity, offering beach rides and mountain trails along and more.
Iceford Horse Riding Stables near Ballina boast a purpose-built indoor arena and also a rubber surface outdoor arena. They also have a full set of show jumps and a cross country course on site making this a competitive business. Part time livery and schooling is also available.
If you reach Achill Island and wish to trek for a few hours, Calvey’s Pony Trekking and Equestrian Centre take you along beautiful beaches and mountainous roads. To book a short or long trek. Other well-known horse riding centres throughout the county include: Ballyjennings Stables in, Ballinrobe, Carrowmore Stables, in Newport, Claremorris Saddlery and Equestrian Centre, Claremorris, Coolcronan Equestrian Centre, Foxford, Duvillaun Riding Centre, Belmullet , Go Trekking, Westport and Upper Mace Equestrian Centre, Knock.