The castle below really REALLY reminds me of Castle Leslie in Ireland where I've had the pleasure of staying twice.
Don't you think the below castle would lend itself nicely to an equestrian centere? Cuz I sure as hell do...You could model it after the Castle Leslie experience:
Castle Leslie Estate, set on 1,000 acres of magnificent scenery including woodlands, lakes and rivers boasts up to 150 cross-country jumps suitable for all levels making it the ultimate Equestrian Playground. Started in 1974 by Desmond Leslie, Castle Leslie was always the fore runner in equestrian holidays in Ireland. Some thirty years on, the stage is set to become the best worldwide with the restoration and regeneration of the old Hunting Lodge, stables and cross country course to the tune of over 10 Million Euros. The renovated Hunting Lodge is now open with 35 bedrooms set in the heart of the state-of-the-art Equestrian Centre. Five new court yards tucked in behind the Lodge make up the stabling, home to 55 horses and ponies, or as some may rather say, handsome hunters, charming cobs, cheeky ponies and flying armchairs.
The Center's aim is for nervous or novice riders to gain confidence from a team of experienced horses and qualified instructors in a constructive program. For the intermediate rider the emphasis is on improving, progressively jumping more challenging fences and combinations. The more experienced rider can ride younger, more challenging horses over extensive cross-country courses.
The countryside is soft green and rolling with ancient forests, lakes and abundant flora and fauna. Here it seems possible to step back in time and escape the pressures of the modern world and enjoy a close harmony with horses, nature and fellow riding companions. The picturesque village of Glaslough lies at the estate gates and has won many awards in the Tidy Towns Competition over the years. Its old buildings and character have been preserved along with the village way of life. All the riding programs include an initial assessment and rides are graded to ensure that everyone rides at a pace to suit them.
2008 Rates include accommodation in the newly renovated Hunting Lodge with full board, 4 hrs of riding per riding day on the Equi-Country program.
8 days/ 7 nights $ 2,700
6 days/ 5 nights $ 2,245
4 days/ 3 nights $ 1,350
Open: All year
Transfer: Group transfer from Dublin is $200 (€ 140) -up to 3 pass or $145 (€ 100) from Belfast - to pay locally direct
Horses: Irish Hunters, Cobbs, Connemara
Pace: all paces
Level: all levels
- 1,000 acres of private estate
- 300 new cross-country jumps from knee high to knee tremblers built by Willis Bros. of Badminton Horse Trials fame
- 21 miles of bridleways for meandering along
- Mile-long all-weather gallop
- 56 stables accommodating a minimum of 30 working horses and ponies from handsome hunters, cheeky ponies and 'flying armchairs'
- Virtual horse for beginners
- 50 x 30 meter indoor arena with indoor cross-country fences
- Tiered seating for 200 plus private dining/viewing room
- Catering for all levels from 7 yrs upwards
Qualified instructors up to B.H.S.I.I. lead the cross-country rides and also teach all levels and will make sure that everyone can make the most of their holiday with sympathetic instruction or just the right amount of encouragement for the rider who does not want 'formal tuition'. There are extensive trails on the Castle Leslie Estate with natural and man-made obstacles spread over a wide area, also riding on adjacent farmland and a competition course is available with a large number of fences to suit all levels. We will organize a range of demos and clinics with Equestrian luminaries such as Anne-Marie Taylor, Ian Stark, Pippa Funnell, Lucinda Green and many more! We continue to have Jeremy Spring BHSI here for clinics on a monthly basis.
-- The horses range from the 'Baby-sitters' & 'Flying armchairs' for the more novice or nervous rider, to typical Irish hunters who provide more of a challenge for the experienced rider.
The Hunting Lodge at Castle Leslie is now one of the most luxurious 4-star hotels in Ireland. The Hunting Lodge and the cut-stone stable courtyard have been lovingly restored, retaining all their natural beauty and original character. It remains a family-friendly venue full of local character, but now offers guests many more facilities for complete comfort and relaxation. It can also cater for private parties, functions and other events. Click here to learn about the history & funding
There are 30 bedrooms, each imaginatively decorated and furnished in keeping with the building's period features.
The Hunting Lodge is right next to the Equestrian Centre, making it even easier to explore the surrounding rolling acres of countryside and parkland. When it's time to relax, drop by the Organic Victoria Spa and let our therapists massage your aching muscles after an exhilarating day's riding or just because you deserve it.
During your stay you will sample Irish Country House cuisine in the Hunting Lodge Restaurant, the set menu features fresh local produce, home-made soups, fresh salmon, steaks, lamb etc., and home made desserts and ice creams. Vegetarian and special diets can be catered for.
Unwind over a drink in this snug cellar bar with its roaring fire, cozy corners, great music and lots of craic. It's the perfect place to relax with a pint, or enjoy our traditional country home cooking in a more casual setting.
Enjoy delicious meals with a wonderful view of ancient woodland. Set on a mezzanine floor, the open-plan brasserie is light and spacious with its dramatic hand-carved ceiling and robust oak beams blending effortlessly with a striking wall of contemporary glass.
The delicious menu uses the highest quality local ingredients without compromising on taste and choice. Offering a fresh approach to Mediterranean cuisine, food is cooked in the state-of-the-art wood-burning stone oven. This healthy style of cuisine complements the wellness concepts of our Organic Victorian spa.
Equi-Country (Intermediate, Advanced)
Tackle a wide variety of natural cross-country fences over undulating terrain. Riders need to be a minimum of intermediate standard and relatively fit as this is a challenging but demanding programme. Riders will do a 2 hour cross-country ride in the morning and afternoon each day. Please note the 7 day programme consists of 5 days of riding.
4 hours of riding daily with two 2 hour x-country rides
Ideally suited for novice riders who wish to enjoy the scenery on horseback around the estate. Riders may progress to jump small cross-country fences towards the end of the programme if desired. Riders will do three hours of trekking each day with this programme. Please note the 7 day programme consists of 5 days of riding.
3 hrs of riding daily with 1 hr trek and 2 hr trek. Riders may wish to join a 2hr cross-country ride towards the end of their stay instead of a 2hr trek
Equi-Improve (Novice, Intermediate, Advanced)
For novice, intermediate & advanced riders wishing to learn new techniques and get training while enjoying the thrill of 2 hour cross-country rides & group lessons. Riders will do three hours of riding each day consisting of a 1 hour lesson and a two hour cross-country ride or trek (depending on their level of ability) each day. Please note the 7 day programme consists of 5 days of riding.
3 hours of riding daily with a 1hr lesson and 2hr trek or cross-country if riders are up to it
Equi-Sensual (All Levels)
Suitable for all levels, enjoy a daily 2 hour equestrian activity that suits your level and desire and indulge in the spa to ease any fatigued muscles from the day's exertions. Spa activities are not included in this price but guests of this programme receive 15% discount on spa activities during their stay.
guests can choose 2 hours of riding either 2hr trek,x-c or 1hr lesson with 1hr trek/x-c.