OMG The Munny Trail, It is AMAZING!!! If anyone is interested in going away on a horse holiday I highly recommend this place, glamping with your horse like who can resist. Not only is it great fun, but it is so affordable with regards to pricing. Not to mention the people who own and look after the place are lovely, so warm and welcoming.
To give you a brief explanation on what it is, it is an equestrian trail ride across a farm situated on the borders of Co. Carlow and Co Wicklow in a place called Coolkenno. Riders bring their own horses (no horses are rented out unfortunately). There are two trail rides for you to take, the Yellow & Red, both being approx 2 hours with the red trail being slightly longer! There are optional jumps on both trails including the likes of ditches, streams, walls, drop fences, a trakhener, coffins, fly fences, a hogsback, brush fences, fallen logs the variety goes on & on! You can come down for a day trip with your horse, or you can choose the option of staying overnight where you stay in a mongolian yurt tent or log cabin. Each tents sleeps up to 4 people & full bedding is provided (they are fabulous).
With the above being said, let me go through our weekend, what I brought & how Dante took in this brand new experience!
Departing The Yard & Arriving at The Munny Trail
Well to say we all over packed was an understatement. Saturday morning a group of 5 of us were all frantically getting our horses ready, trying to pack up stuff for ourselves & our four legged friends, this alone was not easy. I had maybe 3, if not 4 lists of things I needed to bring, and to be honest I ended up panic packing for myself the night before & pretty much bringing my entire tack box for Dante, just in case!!
What I recommend on bringing:
- Fly Spray (you will get eaten alive by horse flies in the summer months!!)
- Wet gear, you can never depend on Irish weather
- A back protector, better safe than sorry!
- Food for the BBQ – each yurt has its own BBQ area!
- A torch
- Your Horse’s feed & Haylage.
- Sweatscaper and sponge
- Bucket for Water
- Cash to pay on arrival, no CC machines!
- Your tack, helmet & of course a bit of alcohol to sing your way through the evening!
Dante was lucky enough to travel with the amazing Kildare Horse Transport. He was so well looked after, they loaded him up for me and made sure he was well settled before departing the yard, himself & two other horses travelled together. Safe to say the 8 horse lorry was well needed for the amount of luggage the 3 horses had with them!!
It takes 40/50 minutes to get to The Munny Trail from Kildare, I arrived 5-10 minutes before Dante, so I had a good bit of time to settle myself in, unload my bits & pick out a stable for him, (All included in the price!)
Once everyone arrived, Belinda the lovely lady who ownes the property gave us such a lovely warm welcome, She ran through everything & gave us a tour of all the amenities on offer including the shower room, the shared kitchen area which we all had full use off, there was also a fridge that we were able to use (great to keep the wine cold, very important!!) We were all then showed to our yurt, our accommodation for the night like OMG, I want to live in a yurt!! They are amazing. In each yurt, there are 2 single beds & 1 double bed with each yurt also having a stove.
Once all the horses arrived, the guys from KHT were so good with unloading, well they done it for us which was a huge help. They were a great help for the trip & I would highly recommend them. We put the horse into their stable/field and let them settle in while we all got ourselves together and decided what our plan for the day was going to be!
The Yellow Trail
We though it was best to do the shorter trail on the first day, just to give the horses time to settle in & get used to their surroundings. So we all tacked up & got ourselves ready for our first adventure!! Within the group their were 5 horses in total, 3 older horses & two babies. The 3 older horses, which were well used to being out, being in open fields and used to doing a good bit of XC, we let them go off ahead while myself & the other young horse stuck together. Keeping the young horses in a sane mind frame and relaxed seemed to be key to this this trail ride, that and well we didn’t want to hold back the group!
So we set of on our travels, bearing in mind that we didn’t exactly follow the track correctly, but sure look it was all part of the adventure. Dante had draw reins on, it gave me an extra bit of security & to be honest I was absolutely petrified he would run off on me again, like that time at the beach.
For the first 15- 20 minutes we walked, Dante really began to relax and began trusting me, he was also quite a good lead to the other horse, if she was hesitant walking in front he would go first, guide her in and then she would slip back in the lead. The two youngsters worked really well together which for two young horses, it doesn’t tend to happen often!
As we picked up our paces, upon entering the forest, there were jumps laid out on the track, we began trotting, and with Dante in the lead I got brave. It came to a stage where I just went for it and began jumping the fences on the track, so glad with the neck strap I had on Dante, as he jumped everything as if it was a meter high fence. I was delighted with myself, & with Dante, not one bad moment he had through the trail. He was so brave!!
As we continued on past the forest, we entered field after field & eventually we came back on ourselves and ended up back where we began. There was a corn field off the beaten track & well I am not sure if we were supposed to go into it, but we did!
It was without a doubt the highlight to the trip. It was like a thrill of doing something you definitely weren’t supposed to be doing!! Cantering through a cornfield, who can resist!!
We were about 2 hours into the ride, and we were beginning to think we were starting to get lost. Me & directions are not the best combination!! We found ourselves back in another field we had already been in, but with our new found bravery we tackled the combination of jumps that we had overtaken before, unaware we did jump them backwards, but again with Dante in the lead, he was fantastic, I was shouting and screaming like a mad thing on him, holding onto my neck strap for dear life afraid he wasn’t going to jump but my god was I wrong, he was in his element!! I really should of never doubted him to begin with.
The sweat was rolling off us all at this stage, & we though it was best to head for home & get ourselves and our horses ready for our early morning ride on the red trail the next day! Well that was the plan, but ordering Pizza & trying our best to drink every drop of alcohol we brought gave us a bit of a set back the following morning!
The Red Trail
With very sore heads after a night full of prosecco, we struggled to get ourselves together on time to go early as we had planned. Two from the group got themselves up bright & early while myself & two others struggled very much, the joys of going to bed at 4am.
After a lot of pointless walking around trying to get ourselves together we finally got tacked up, had a bit of breakfast & to our surprise were greeted by Belinda in the kitchen to be told that her husband had gotten up early to re-sign post the Red trail!! If that’s not 5 star service I don’t know what is, he spend the guts of two hours putting up signs so we wouldn’t get lost on the track (again!)
As we set our sails on The Red Trail, with the day before being such a success for the two young horses, we decided it was best to put them in front again, as it gave them great confidence. The red route is a lot different to the yellow. Entering the red route, you go through a gate into a forest, Dante was in the lead, but to my surprise he hesitated to walk in, I am not sure if he was freaked out by the puddles or if it was the fact he had to walk into a confined forest area, but we had an older horse with us, so instead of making a fuss I walked him away and let him follow the older horse through, rewarding him when he did. I have learned that it’s sometimes wiser not to start the argument, especially when it was only 5 minutes into the ride.
As we continued on the red route, the horses were quite relaxed, the riders not so much. We were in bits, so we done a lot of walking to begin with!!
There were a lot of hills on the red route, one field in particular that seems to wake us all up a good bit. We found a turned over sheep, I swear to god I thought the thing was having a baby, but I think the poor guy had been stuck on its back for a while, so we got down or should I say fall down off the horse to rescue it! From here we all seemed to get a new lease of life, well we had to because as we left the field with the sheep our only option was to jump out over a log!
Jumping into the next field, you cross a road & again have to jump into another field, so I will mention that on the red route, you do come across two if not three jumps that you have to jump to continue on down the tack.
As we jumped into the second field, it was a lovely big flat field, so we went for a canter/gallop around, and the horses were great. Again, surprised at Dante, who came back to me when I asked and never rushed off either when the other horses were in front. So again I was delighted with his progress. After we cantered around the field, we came up to the next part of the trail, the forest. Except this time you had to jump into the forest over a massive tyre jump. There is an option to get down and open a gate, but I think at this stage we were all thrilled by the challenge. Dear god I nearly got jumped out over Dante’s ears, with no hesitated from him going over the jump into the forest, he cleared it giving it an extra ten foot in height!!
Once we were all in the forest, as you turn around the corner there was a track to follow, so with the older horse in front, the two youngsters behind we picked up canter & followed the route. Unknown to us, there were a lot of bends & jumps along this track, and with this being the first time the two young horses followed in a canter I was surprised we all were alive when we finally came to a stop!!
Dante was trying to play catch up with the horse in front, so trying to stop him was quite difficult. A lot of jumps & ditches kept coming up all of a sudden the best thing I could do was hold on and keep going!! I lost a stirrup also so trying to hold on and shout ahead to tell the horse in front to stop was great craic or should I say terrifying but it was all a learning curve, not everything is going to be easy!
After this, we took it back a notch. There was a schooling field on next so with the two young horses, instead of jumping them we walked them around and gave them a breather, keeping in mind that we were coming to the end of the trail, so they were all getting tired!
Finishing off the red route, you end up doing the forest from the yellow route backwards, we took our time doing this. Dante began to get quite wound up when cantering over fences, from the incident beforehand I don’t think he really settled when it came to adding in the jumps, cantering and following other horses. Not bad behaviour, but more of a sense that he didn’t really know how to act when he wasn’t in lead, it made him rely on me that bit more, in telling him what to do.
Overall his behaviour was great, we both learned an awful lot! I will also mention that their is a stream on the Red Trail. I didn’t get to do it as you have to drop down into it from a bank, but Dante tried to jump down into it from the top of a ditch like I mean 10 foot up of the ground & I nearly wet myself!! Bit of a fail moment but I didn’t want to hurt myself & well I am afraid of heights!! (thats the excuse I am using!)
As we arrived back to the stables, we were all wrecked, and still slightly hungover!! We hosed down the horses and popped them back into their stables to relax while we waited on our transport to arrive. As we waited for our transport we popped into the kitchen area had a few cups of tea & some chocolate cake, courtesy of Belinda to eat. It really was a great end to a fantastic weekend!!
The 3 horses got picked up by KHT (Kildare Horse Transport), and again a fantastic service. They loaded up the horses for us, as we filled up the remainder of the lorry with our luggage & we set sail back home to our yard!
I highly recommend this place, it is a fantastic facility not just for young horses, all levels are catered for. For Dante & I it was a huge confidence boost for both of us, we really had to rely on each other, and with him staying overnight it’s weird to say but we seemed to off bonded a lot more! I certainly learned a lot within the two days there. My confidence in him has really grown, this was my first time ever jumping out in a field with him, or doing any type of XC jumping with him, and he was in his element.
As for the place itself, I have never been anywhere like it! Being my first horse holiday, they really have everything that you need, Belinda & Lorcan are fantastic, making sure everything was in order for us. As for Lorcan going out Sunday morning to re-sign the red route for us, it was nothing short of a five star service!
I will definitely be back before the winter comes in, if not for a day trip, hopefully for another night away!
Check out the video below, for some footage of Dante throughout the weekend!
(excuse the quality, i totally forgot i was wearing it!)