Last weekend, we took advantage of the continuing good weather, popped Misty and Newbie into the horsebox and headed to Fermoyle Beach. While there wasn’t glorious sun, it was warm and calm and we virtually had the beach to ourselves.
Fermoyle Beach, Co Kerry, Ireland.
Now I know you’re looking at the photo and thinking, there’s an awful lot of footprints for an almost deserted beach, but it is also the main thoroughfare for the local cattle to transfer from one field to another!
At one point there is a promontory dividing Fermoyle beach from the inlet to Cloghane and the rocks come all the way up to a low cliff. You can see it here shown at high tide on a google maps image.
Fermoyle and Cloghane
Newbie and I headed off in front and picked out a very circuitous route that avoided most of the rocks and boulders. Ger and Misty followed on (Ger tends to be more of a passenger than a rider but he and Misty get along very well!).
Fermoyle Beach, Co Kerry….last of the rocky bit!
We continued down the beach (the tide was waaay out) for a bit before turning for home.
Now Misty and Ger were in the lead and here’s my puzzle. Ger had dropped the reins completely and was letting Misty find the way. She followed our original hoof prints in reverse and took the exact circuitous route, almost hoofprint for hoofprint, back to Fermoyle beach…..How did she do that?. Was it visual? Did she smell the hoofprints? Or was it from memory? Whichever it was, we were both pretty amazed.
Ger and Misty
In mid September I had the pleasure of visiting Oakfield Farm in Dorset, England, to give a clicker training workshop. Nick Foot has been producing Icelandic horses here for a number of years and they are truly a wonderful breed.
For those of you who are not familiar with “Iceys” they are really pony sized, being anywhere from 12 to over 14 hands high (122-148cm) and originate in Iceland (as the name suggests!) Their size belies their strength! They come in an array of colours. Icelandics are the only horse found in Iceland which allows no importation of horses, and if they leave the country (even for competition), they are not permitted to return.
As well as the usual three gaits that ‘normal’ horses have i.e.,walk, trot and canter/gallop, they have two additional gaits. The ‘tolt’ is a fast, ground-covering four beat gait and the ‘pace’ is a very rapid smooth gait.
When I saw Brynja, who was a sturdy little mare but only something over 13 hands…I did ask…Are you sure?. My own thoroughbred is 16.2hh approx and I looked at this little creature with a degree of wariness. I need not have worried!!!!
Riding an Icey in tolt was described to me as being akin to a fast spin in a small sports-car and how true that is. Its a wonderful sensation, fast, smooth and low to the ground. We had a lovely ride from the farm through lanes and tracks over the gorgeous Dorset countryside and I came back with a grin from ear to ear!!