Welcome Back

You know you’re back in Ireland when you’re riding and it feels like you’ve wet yourself…

No, really truly. Keli and I admitted to one another that even if we had wet ourselves, we wouldn’t have known it! Because we were so totally soaked through from the rain that I don’t think it was physically possible for us to get any wetter. Nowhere else has ever thrown water at me in such torrents that I end up having to change my pants at lunchtime!!! Honestly Ireland…you wanna sort that out?!

Tillie and I arrived in Ireland on Thursday at around 1.45pm. My dad very kindly took us to Bristol airport in the morning where we hung around until our flight. There was a brief moment of panic when my bag only just made it in under the weight restrictions (19.9kg in a limit of 20…phew), and, thankfully, an easy pass through security. The flight was also pretty good on the whole. For the most part the skies were pretty clear so we could see all the way down to the teeny tiny houses and cars. So cool! Although, most of it was just sea.

I really enjoy flying, and it was Tillie’s first experience of being on a plane so we were both super excited and loving it. The man behind us however….not so much!DSCF2285
We were met at Cork airport by Sonny and Josh who took us to Sonny’s University flat where we spent Thursday night. His flatmates were all really lovely to us, and made it a relaxed and enjoyable stay for us. We saw a bit of Cork city for the first time (despite driving through it twice over the summer) as Sonny, Tillie and I went for dinner in Cork in the evening. It poured with rain the whole time. Gotta love Ireland!

After spending most of the day on Friday doing next to nothing, Josh arrived at the flat at around 3pm to take the four of us down to County Kerry and Eclipse. The boys came for a couple of days to finish something to do with their fieldwork that they were doing all summer. I didn’t pay attention to that part to be honest.

When we arrived we were greeted with a big hug from Anita and introductions to a couple of other interns who are here at the moment. We sat in the kitchen and chatted to Anita and Adam while they cooked supper, and spent most of the evening just chilling and chatting. I, for one, was just happy to be back. Athos arrived later in the evening and also bestowed massive hugs on both of us. Lovely stuff.

Today then, was our first day back on the job. So it was early starts, breakfast looking at the mountains and a wander up to the yard. The horses were all waiting up the top, so we were able to greet them all as we came past. Everything was exactly the same so we were able to fit straight back in with the yard routine and when Keli arrived she was jumped on by both of us. How could we not be super excited to see that awesome little Irish girl!!?

Unfortunately, the Irish weather then reminded us exactly where we were when it took a turn for the worse. And by worse I don’t just mean a little bit of drizzle. I mean driving rain and gale force winds. The ménage began to resemble a slightly grey swimming pool, and we had several horses each to ride this morning! They all needed exercising, so we chose a couple each and tried to make the best of a bad situation. After the first ride, mine being with Mr Skelatchi (I love that horse), our jods were so saturated that it was impossible to peel them away from our legs. The rain had permeated everything, even our waterproofs and chaps. The only part of me that stayed dry was the top of my head, thanks to my riding hat being completely solid. The rest of me? Sodden! Yuck.

My second pony was the lovely little Sparky. I hadn’t ridden him before and I can safely say he is officially the smallest pony I have ever sat on in my life! 11.2h Connemara cross. And what a cool little dude. I love him! All the horses are quite fluffy at the moment as they live out most of the winter so are allowed to have their winter coats grow through. So I felt like I was riding a polar bear.

Honestly, this pony is so cool! He was really good for me, although I did have to growl at him a few times to remind him that he needed to listen to my legs. By the time we were half way through our ride, the rain had eased off, so I really enjoyed my time with Sparky. I don’t know if I’ll get to ride him again or not, but I really did love him! Awesome pony. Just so awesome. But…just so you can see the size difference and imagine how utterly ridiculous I must have looked…

Even with my stirrups long, I still looked like a jockey.

We finished at the yard earlier than we did in the summer due to there being no treks today and not an awful lot to do this afternoon. Tillie and I spent the afternoon thoroughly cleaning and treating all the tack and generally tidying up the tack room. We got back to the house around half 4, and I was very quickly presented with a glass of whiskey by Athos. Who then put rum into the whiskey…which was actually pretty nice.

For the time we are here there are a few other interns. Seline is a French girl who works at the stables with us. She’s pretty quiet, but I think that’s probably because she doesn’t know us very well yet and the language barrier is obviously a problem. Juan is a French lad who helps Athos out with whatever jobs he needs doing. Again, he seems pretty quiet but his failsafe chat-up line is sure to win many a girls heart…..or not! And Cara is an American girl who arrived today and so far seems really friendly and lovely. It’s nice to have some more people to chat to and get to know a bit. We’re not here for as long this time, which means we may not be able to get to know people quite as well, but it’ll be nice nonetheless.

So it looks like we’re going to have a nice time here. It feels great to be back and I’m really pleased we made the decision to come over again. It might have crippled my bank balance, but it has boosted my spirit. Which is far more important, I’m sure you’ll agree.

So my friends, I shall bid you adieu as I am not short on people to talk to this evening.

I have missed this!

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