Our new head trainer,Emma Hobson offers her top tips for planning a horse riding break.

Our new head trainer, Emma Hobson offers her top tips for planning a riding break, and explains why you’ll love our exciting new riding and wellness holiday…

We recently welcomed a new head trainer and equestrian business manager to our Equestrian Centre – Emma Hobson BHSAI. Emma, a Dressage Ireland List Six Judge, Para-Dressage judge, working Mum and holder of three degrees of higher education, is excited to be joining the world-renowned team. Coming from horsey stock, with parents who were both riding instructors, Emma is known for her dressage prowess and has competed or ridden in almost every equestrian discipline. “Castle Leslie Estate is such a special place, and I am thrilled to be joining the team,” she says. “The venue is a true horsey haven, providing not only top-class horse riding, but also luxurious facilities and cuisine; it recently underwent a large-scale renovation of its fantastic Lodge guest rooms. We have a yard full of top-class rides of all sizes, ready to welcome guests, no matter what their chosen riding discipline.”

Emma has the following tips for guests considering a riding holiday this autumn:

Why book an autumn riding holiday? Well, lots of us enjoy topping up our horse riding skills in a new location, as well as relaxing and unwinding on a riding trip. Now the summer sun has left us, it’s the perfect time to book a training break without the heat and humidity of far-flung destinations.

Why not tailor a riding break to you needs? For example, if you have events planned next spring in your chosen riding discipline, you could arrange for specific training to hone a particular dressage movement, improve any positional difficulty, practice a technically challenging course of show jumps, or tackle a particular cross-country obstacle.

Consider the benefits of using a mechanical or virtual horse – these can bring great benefits, in terms of assessing and improving your riding and position, balance and basic riding skills. (Our mechanical horse is called Prince!)

If you have your own horse, you will undoubtedly be used to riding it in a certain way – a riding trip with training allows you to bring your body back to neutral (eg. using the mechanical horse), experience different types of horse, and also ride schoolmasters that can teach you new skills or movements that your own horse has not yet mastered.

If you’re wondering what to pack for a training break, here’s some tips! At Castle Leslie Estate for example, we do supply body protectors and helmets, however would suggest guests bring their own. Pack several pairs of breeches or jodhs, comfy riding boots, gloves, and some smart/casual clothes for relaxing at your base. Of course, a camera or suitable smart-phone (with safe case or carry-bag) is recommended, to capture some memories! Bring some waterproofs; for example, here in Ireland, it is usually mild, but can sometimes be wet in the more inclement months. Check out online travel guides and the BBC’s world weather website www.bbc.co.uk/weather for an idea of expected weather when you travel.

Use the opportunity of a riding holiday to set some riding goals, relax and get away from the stresses of daily life, and recalibrate your energy levels. Don’t forget our new equestrian and wellness holiday package, which will certainly relax and rejuvenate you! It runs for either three or five days. These unique riding packages involve the perfect balance of rejuvenation, relaxation and reward, making them the ideal ‘off season’ equestrian holiday. They offer a holistic approach to an equestrian break by not only affording the guest daily indoor riding, but also time to look after their spiritual and emotional wellbeing. These packages include three or five nights’ accommodation at the newly renovated Lodge, with a full hearty Irish breakfast each morning, three x 45 minute indoor riding lessons each day, one consultation with a Sports Physiotherapist to review your general physical wellbeing, a daily spa ritual (full body massage), use of the sauna and outdoor hot tub daily, one 70-minute reflexology or reiki treatment, and two sessions of Yoga or Pilates! They also include a light lunch each day, and a two-course evening meal in Conor’s Bar, each evening. (Three Day Package from €1,205pps; 5 Day package from €1,775pps). Visit our equestrian breaks page for more information.