Winners of the Castle Leslie competition

Posted on July 12, 2019

Claire Douglas

Britte Menne and Jakob Jensen entered a prize draw at the Danish Warmblood Stallion Show in Denmark and won a 3 night stay at Castle Leslie, Ireland.  They kindly have written a blog about their stay:

Castle Leslie competition, Winners of the Castle Leslie competition, In The Saddle

Britte and Jakob out competing in Denmark.

In March 2019, Jakob and I were at the Horse & Rider Fair at Danish Warmblood Stallion Show in Herning, Denmark. It is probably the biggest horse show in the country with amazing shopping where you can buy all kinds of riding clothes, tack, equipment, you name it!

There are many trade-stands and one of them was Rid & Rejs (the English version is called In The Saddle) and Jakob and I entered the prize draw along with approximately 5,000 other people as well.

We forgot about the competition and about a week after the show, whilst I was at work my phone rang and it was from Rid & Travel, they said we had won their main prize, a riding holiday for two people to Castle Leslie in Ireland.

The first thing I said was “Many thanks,” very politely but I thought it was a phone prank. I had completely forgotten that I had participated in the competition. Then I received an email and it dawned on me that it was real. We had won the top prize. They just wanted to hear if we both were riding and what discipline we rode because it was mostly hacking and cross country they did in Castle Leslie.

We were completely speechless and totally in a state of shock. Imagine winning such great a prize.  This only happens to other people. But we had won.  So we began to research flights, insurance and the like.

Castle Leslie competition, Winners of the Castle Leslie competition, In The Saddle

The castle

Castle Leslie Estate is a beautiful place.  It looks like it could be straight out of ‘Downton Abbey’, you dress up for dinner every night, the housekeeping was in the rooms three times daily and in the evening they made the room night-ready: night-slippers were put out, the bed was prepared for the night (bedspread turned down, curtains drawn, etc.) and everything was perfectly arranged.

Castle Leslie competition, Winners of the Castle Leslie competition, In The Saddle

A bedroom in the Lodge

We rode different horses during our stay and they have some good horses for beginners, but for Jakob and I, found these ones weren’t such a good match for us. However we talked with the staff and they immediately switched us over to some more forward going horses.

And this is where it gets fun!  Jakob ended up with a nice and quite large chestnut horse with a blaze called Arnie, I ended up with a “Thelwell pony” called Squirt. Squirt was immediately renamed “Scrat” (from Ice Age) by me and Scrat was a 13.3hh speedy pony! He could really jump and had a lot of go!

Castle Leslie competition, Winners of the Castle Leslie competition, In The Saddle

Jakob and Menne

Whilst practising cross country in the arena, we were given a choice of jumps to do. So I decide to do it at maximum speed. This resulted in my 13.3hh pony getting confused and causing him to stop abruptly in front of a jump and I almost fell out of the saddle. Luckily I managed a lightning fast recovery and off we went again and cleared it with space this time. Such a fun pony with a cracking jump! The rest of the staff came to see “the funny rider”! I rode him the most of the time we were there.

 

Castle Leslie competition, Winners of the Castle Leslie competition, In The Saddle

Riding in the lake

 

Castle Leslie competition, Winners of the Castle Leslie competition, In The Saddle

Out on the cross country course

Typically it was 2 hours of hacking with cross country jumps and later in the day 1 hour showjumping or flat-work lessons. Castle Leslie has good facilities an indoor arena, outdoor arena and the area we rode in with cross country jumps was approx. 1,000 acres. You can get lost. There were fences, hurdles, ditches, stairs, everything you could want cross country-wise.

We had booked a session with a falconry and we spent an amazing 3 hours with Golden Eagles, eagles and owls. We even were allowed to release the birds.

Castle Leslie competition, Winners of the Castle Leslie competition, In The Saddle

Britt trying Falconry

We tried clay pigeon shooting, it was really fun with great instruction and as a result we both hit many clay pigeons.

 

Castle Leslie competition, Winners of the Castle Leslie competition, In The Saddle

Jakob and Britt whilst clay pigeon shooting

We had rented a car and it was fine “driving on the wrong side of the road”. We were also passed the Giant Causeway, Trim Castle (where the movie Braveheart with Mel Gibson was filmed) and we visited two tack stores. And we visited “Dark Hedges”, where the Game of Thrones films were filmed (a large number of old, large and beautiful trees with a very special atmosphere).

We found out they do not have salty liquorice in Ireland, so I almost ran out of what I had brought from home.

We have experienced so much and it great to bring the memories back by looking through our pictures from our holiday.

Thank you Britt for the lovely photos and report from your holiday. You can read more information on this great holiday here.

 

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