By Ciara O’Donoghue

For many years I took a break from horse riding but then with the encouragement of my other half, I took it up again at 32 years of age. He wanted me to find an outlet from the stress of my job, and I’m delighted to say it worked. There were days when I turned up for my lesson distracted, upset or just not myself and within minutes of sitting on the horse, I had a smile on my face and a weight lifted from my shoulders. I am forever thankful to these beautiful, majestic animals.

After a few months of lessons I began to seek more and did some research on horse riding events in my local area. This is where I was introduced to Kerry Riding Club (I live in Ireland). It was great to meet people of similar age and similar interests and if I was unsure about anything I could check with the other members and they are generally a fountain of knowledge.

I had been with the club only a few weeks when they mentioned an event that was taking place the coming Sunday and would I like to take part. I jumped straight in and said “Yes!” I wasn’t even sure what I had just signed up for but this was the “more” I was looking for and I couldn’t wait. Sunday arrived and of course, so did the nerves once I saw the arenas. “What was I thinking??” I became especially nervous when it drew a crowd. I took a deep breath, and another, and another, and walked my course. Moments later, I found myself on top of my beautiful boy for the day – Zeus.

We had a double clear round that first day out and my love affair with Zeus and horses has continued ever since. It’s four years on and every time I ride I learn a little more (some days are more productive than others) and fall deeper in love! I’m so grateful to have found the club, my riding school and this beautiful boy.