All’s Well That Ends Well   Leave a comment

The next day, Friday, tried to be that one obligatory blah day that even the best vacations often get, but it finished up marvelously in spite of itself. Started off luv’ly, a late sleep with the now-standard vivid dreams. I was thrilled to see the faery gardens flooded with brilliant sunshine, especially after last night’s magical FM ritual, but alas, it didn’t even last until I’d finished my first cup of coffee, and that was the last we saw of it the entire day.

Even without the internet to distract me it took me an hour to drink my coffee, have breakfast and do my obligatory morning puttering (which seems to be a necessity even when I’m not at the farm.)

David wanted to go the Folk Museum in Ballinamore, but I really wanted to get my ride in before the weekend crowds, or at least get it scheduled, so we got ourselves together and headed off to find the Hayden Equestrian Center in Barnacoola, one of the places mentioned on the many convenient brochures left for us in the cottage. I had tried to call, but our phones didn’t work in Ireland (yes, AT&T and I have had Words about THAT fiasco) and there was no reply to the text I sent, but I wasn’t sure if it had gone through. Next step- just go there, right?

Half an hour and lovely drive later (albeit down the now-familiar-but-still-terrifying tiny tiny country roads) our GPS guided us smartly- smugly even- to the stable. We passed a school on the way, which still blows my mind. There were houses scattered along all the roads, we really never saw anywhere in Ireland that was devoid of humans, but it didn’t seem NEARLY enough for a school, and you couldn’t get a mom van let alone a school bus down that freakin’ road. What do they do, parachute them in? Everyone drives? Kids – gulp – WALK to school? From miles around? Through fields? Surely children aren’t allowed to walk on those roads where the speed limit is 80k and the visibility 6 feet if you’re lucky?

It’s an unsolved mystery, as is Hayden Equestrian Center. The facility looked lovely from outside the big, firmly-closed iron gates. I got out to see if there was a bell or intercom, which there wasn’t, but as I poked about the gates woke up and slowly creaked open for us.

So you’d assume that someone saw us and let is in, right?

The barnyard was deserted, and there was no sign of anyone at the house near the gates. I got out and was immediately accosted by two tiny aggressive furiously yapping dogs. The white woolly one desperately wanted to bite me and kept bumping my leg with his nose, while the Jack Russell-y one contented himself with yelling madly from four feet away. A sign said ‘Office’ so I followed it, leaping and making futile screeches at the dogs, but it was locked and no one responded to my knocks.

I made vague gestures to David which were meant to say, “No answer, I’m going to look around” and which he pretended to understand.

I note that he didn’t get out and rescue me from the dogs. Just want to put that out there.

Call into the equipment shed. No answer. Nor at the very nice indoor arena. Half a dozen or more heart-stoppingly beautiful faces looked at me from a pen in the barn area, mostly of the white Connemara-ish variety, but they gave me no information on how I could climb aboard one of them.

Finally I got sadly back in the car, shaking my pants free from the wretched dogs, and we set off on plan B (or is it C?), the Moorland Equestrian Center, putatively half an hour away.

Or so we thought.

The GPS dumped us in the middle of Drumshanbo, where there was clearly no Equestrian Center, and pretended it was okay. We tried to call, but again our phones were of zero use. So we parked and thought we’d have some lunch and ask the locals for directions, but after we’d walked a block there was a big sign with an arrow. Excited (well, I was excited) we got back in the car and followed the arrow, but there were no more signs or arrows or anything vaguely resembling an Equestrian Center, other than a very gross and off-putting stockyard that looked like the last lap for any animal unfortunate enough to end up there. David saw a road he thought might be it, but there was no sign and we blipped past it and drove on. And on. And on.

It was gorgeous country we were driving through, but my inner 9 year old who had been SO excited at the prospect of getting on a pony was utterly broken-hearted. But what could we do? We finally admitted defeat and turned around to have that lunch we’d thought about back in Drumshanbo. Maybe at least we could find somewhere with wifi and persuade the Great British Baking Show to download to my Ipad. (That never happened the entire trip.)

At the sandwich shop the waitress told us were ‘about a minute’ away from Moorlands (we were in the middle of a dang town!!), so heartened by this news and some thumping good club sandwiches and chips we set off again, this time on foot, and you know what comes next, right? Sure enough, it was down the road David had thought it was on. The first thing we saw were two fat glossy golden Halflingers in a field of knee-deep emerald green grass. Next thing you know I had a reservation for 5 the next day for a trail ride with walk, trot and a ‘wee canter’, and I was literally as happy as a little girl.

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Not EVERY horse there is a piebald gypsy horse, but an awful lot of them are, including Curly whom I was to meet the next day.

Next we went (finally) to the Folk Museum, which is actually NOT in Ballinamore, but Ireland is casual with directions. The Museum was simply delightful, not just for its displays but because we got the sole attention of tour guide Eugene, who was one of the few folks there who exuded the affable easy charm I was expecting of the Irish people. I’ll refer you to FB for the pics we took of it. Wish we’d taken more than one of Eugene.

Then it was home for tea by the waterfall, a walk around the Faery Woods, dinner by David, and I took a solo walk in the rain after dinner, as it was still full light at 9:30 at night.

And Bob’s yer uncle, we’ve made it to the weekend!

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Posted June 24, 2017 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

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