A Joy Ride in Ireland and Beyond

Editor’s Note: Trish Lemke is the founder of Joy Rides. She leads horse riding excursions around the world and is a certified Martha Beck life coach. Lemke lives in Durango, Colorado, with her family and horses. Check out her 2022 trips below.

ALSO, and speaking of Ireland, author Mark Stevens, creator of the horsewoman Allison Coil series,  heads there to teach a writer workshop this September. Check it out here.

Here, Lemke writes:

The day begins shrouded in mist, as it so often does in Ireland.  It’s not early.  We’ve already had our full Irish breakfast of eggs, ham, fried tomatoes, toast, and tea, but as we walk out to the horses it feels unworldly, like the wee hours of the morning. We’re all dressed in layers for our full-day ride, with miles and miles of countryside to revel in and foreign landscapes to explore.
This morning I put on my tank top, long sleeve shirt, sweatshirt and fleecy vest and by afternoon I’m hoping it will all be piled on the back of my saddle, and I’ll be enjoying a spectacular ride in just my tank top.

The country here is wild and incredibly diverse.  The green hills are dotted with hidden lakes and moss-covered rocks.  Parts of it look like an ancient fairy world, parts of it look like abandoned farmlands with their stone walls as evidence of many generations of lives lived. Still other parts look like simple wilderness strewn with miles of wild flowers and untouched meadows.

As we ride our lovely Irish horses, Connemaras, Cobs, and Gypsy Vanners, grey, black, brown and spotted, the mist slowly starts to lift. It first starts circling around our horses’ feet and slowly makes it way upward, passing our heads, passing the treetops and eventually lifting altogether to reveal a deep, blue sky.  It feels like we’ve been blessed by the fairies themselves.

Yesterday, we all took ribbons, bright colored and flowing, and we walked them down to the fairy tree.  We made wishes, chatted about our desires for the trip ahead and chatted the evening away. Light stays long in the summer in Ireland and the magical hours between dinner and bedtime seem to last forever. The Irish folk still talk fondly and with steadfast belief of the fairies in this place, at this time. It’s easy to understand why.

Today we have a long day of climbing up to the Burren.  We leave the lush grasses and pasturelands for rocky slopes dotted with a million wildflowers, growing close to the ground and amongst the rocks to protect themselves from the harsh winds that often blow though these parts.  But once again, we are being followed by the fairies and the wind is remarkably quiet.  There are signs up here for hikers to follow, but the trails are long and sometimes steep and so many times I give my horse gratitude for willingly carrying me to such amazing places.

Our trail will eventually take us by the seaside – the wild Atlantic, crashing against the Cliffs of Moher.  But today we will end our long journey in a small Irish town with many quaint little pubs.

As our ride comes to an end, we are all grateful to get out of the saddle for the night.  We take care of our lovely horse partners first.  Unsaddling, brushing, feeding and turning them out into a grassy pasture for some much-needed rest time. We are reluctant to leave them, but our stomachs are growling and our bodies need a break.  We whisper words of love and thanks to them because our hearts are full and these are the words that come out when your heart is bursting with happiness.

As a lot of Irish days go, our day ends sitting at the pub, drinking Guinness, eating some local fare, and listening to a band playing and singing traditional folk tunes.  We fall into our beds, content, relaxed, and ready for a full day of riding tomorrow.  Even though I miss my family and animals back home, right now, there is no place I would rather be.

These trips are full of so many moments of awe, wonder and good, old-fashioned fun. That I get to share them with a small group of incredible people each and every time is a joy beyond words for me.  If you want to be one of those people, let me know.  I have 3 trips planned for 2022 that I would love you to be a part of:

Costa Rica in March.

Scotland in July

And stay tuned for info on Slovenia in September 2022!

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