Why I Love . . . Horse riding

For Aoife Caffrey, horse-riding provides the perfect antidote to the stresses of daily life

I have always loved horses and was lucky enough to grow up in the countryside which meant that, once I learned how to ride proficiently, I was allowed to get my very own horse.

As a teenager, I hacked on the country roads and rode cross-country. There were so many incredible courses nearby to ride. After graduating from university I worked in London and Berlin for almost 10 years. Sadly, in those big cities horse riding facilities are both difficult to get to via public transport and very expensive.

Now, having moved back to Ireland, I understand how lucky we are to have such wonderful stables in close proximity to most areas. My passion is horse riding as you get to enjoy an exciting, fast-paced sport whilst out in the fresh country air.

Horses are the most wonderful animals and so much of riding is about your mutual respect and connection to them. Despite their size, they are kind and therapeutic to be around. When you ride you’ve got to be very focused so it’s a great distraction from the stresses of work or personal woes.

READ MORE

It isn't practical for me to have my own horse at the moment so I love going to Ross Equestrian Centre on the shores of Lough Sheelin in Co Cavan and doing jumping lessons there with my coach Ellinor Murdy.

Each lesson is varied as there is so much to learn and improve on even if you are an experienced rider. I go once to twice a week and alternate between group lessons and private lessons. For me, it’s important to do it as regularly as I can, as it lifts my spirit and is very grounding.

As well as the enjoyment you get from being with horses and in nature, it improves your fitness as all of your muscles are put to work. It can be technical and some lessons are hard work so the thrill of jumping a clear round is incredibly rewarding.