Julie Goodnight Tour
Enjoy a once in a lifetime Horse Training Clinic and an awe-inspiring Irish cultural experience with legendary equine trainer Julie Goodnight!
We are thrilled to bring Julie back to our home in Curra Farm, once again, to offer training clinics here in Ireland. A true legend of the equestrian world, Julie Goodnight is a multidisciplinary rider and clinician who is best known for her no-nonsense training programs, for riders of all disciplines and abilities. Julie’s world-renowned training methods are grounded in natural horsemanship, classical riding, and understanding horse behavior.
So, whether horse riding is your hobby, you’re a competitive horse rider looking to gain that extra edge over your competitors, or you’re simply looking to spend some time in the company of one of the world’s leading equestrian trainers, this experience is not to be missed!
The first clinic will start on Saturday, August 26th. Guests will depart on Friday, September 1st 2023.
The second clinic will start on Saturday, September 2nd. Guests will depart on Friday, September 8th 2023.
Guests will spend 4 nights at the farm with instruction, and 2 nights at the coastal resort.
Key Tour Facts
- Accommodation: 4 nights at Curra Farm, 2 nights at The Station House Hotel.
- Riding Level: Walk, trot, canter (optional). We NEVER push riders out of their comfort zone.
- Type Of Tack: Very comfortable English style saddles. Don’t worry if you only ride Western. You will fit like a glove!
- Guides: Professional riding instructors and guides.
- Horse Breeds: Our surefooted, kind-hearted, fun loving Connemara Ponies.
Some of our ponies are crosses with come TB and Irish Draught blood for a little extra height.
- Non-riders: Always most welcome! Even if you don’t ride, come and join us on the sightseeing and cultural tours.
- Solo Travelers: Always welcome – contact us for details.
- Private group bookings: Again, always welcome; if you’d like a private group tour, get in touch for details.
- Single rooms: Not available on this tour. Riders will share twin rooms with separate beds.
- Tour Transport: Luxury Private Coach including luggage transfers between accommodations.
- Meeting/Dropoff Point: The Park House Hotel, Galway.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner are all included.
(*All dietary requirements catered for, please advise us in advance).
Julie Goodnight Tour Itinerary
You will need to arrive in Galway City before 11am (local time) on Day 1 of your tour. But, with 7 exhilarating action-packed days ahead of you, we highly recommend that you stay one night in Galway City before Day 1 of your tour, to help you get over any jetlag issues, so you arrive rested, relaxed, and raring to go.
Day 1 – From Galway to Curra Farm on Lough Corrib ‘neath the stars
Picking up from The Park House Hotel in Galway City at 11am, we will on Cáit’s luxury Mercedes coach to Moycullen, a village at the mouth of the Connemara region where we stop at local markets on the way. We will arrive at Curra Farm, our homestead and your home from home, for the next 4 nights! Before your riding adventure begins, you’ll have an opportunity to settle in, relax in your room, or take a walk around the farm to meet our herd of Connemara ponies, which we breed right here on the farm. Once you’ve settled in and enjoyed a wholesome, home-cooked Irish lunch, it’s time for a quick arena session with our instructor where we familiarize you with both our tack and the English style of riding before being paired up with the Connemara Pony that will be your buddy for the duration of your trip.
Julie Goodnight and T Cody will take over with an introductory clinic. Our chef will be busy cooking a traditional Irish meal in the comfort of your home away from home. Afterward, relax on our boat-shaped deck or enjoy a glass of bubbly on the outdoor boat deck, taking in the blissful sound of the lakeside silence.
Day 2 – From Curra Farmhouse to the meandering forest trails, and onto Aughanure Castle
Today our ride takes us on a quiet country road from the farmhouse at Curra, to a local forest that can only be described as a scene from a Harry Potter movie. As we weave our way through the narrow passages through the trees, we pass through the remains of a famine village deserted in the late 1800s. Continuing to a sand track, we have an opportunity to up the pace for a while to feel the fresh Connemara breeze blowing in your hair. We will pass the remains of Moycullen Castle and learn a little bit about the local history and culture, before returning to the enchanting woods where we’ll stop for a picnic. After returning to the farm and grooming the ponies down after the long ride, you will have a chance to relax, unwind, shower and change, before we visit the home of Connemara Marble and onwards for a Tour of Aughnanure Castle. Finally, we dine out in one of our local award-winning restaurants, to enjoy gourmet dining at its very best, using the finest local ingredients and produce.
Day 3 –The art of dressage, winding forest trails, and breath-taking views of Lough Corrib
Now that your pony/rider relationship has developed, today you’ll have a chance to improve your English riding skills in the arena, under the guidance of one of our expert instructors. We’ll get to practice our dressage skills and the grand finale will be our musical group ride. You’ll get to choose the music and you’ll be amazed at how synchronized the ride will look when we play it back later on the TV! Alternatively, we truck the horses to another local forest for another forest trail with lots of winding and hilly paths; the perfect place to test your balance and the trust you and your equine partner have in each other. After lunch at St. Brigit’s Garden, you’ll enjoy a tour and some time to relax in the cleverly landscaped representation of the ‘Four Celtic Seasons of the Year’. This evening, we’ll get the BBQ going and enjoy a relaxing evening on the boat-shaped deck in our garden area, surrounded by the wonderful views of Lough Corrib. Finally, our favorite equine artist will offer an optional sip-and-paint class after dinner, where you’ll get to create your very own Connemara Scene on canvas; your very own hand-made souvenir to remind you of Connemara.
Day 4 – Glengowna Mines, the Twelve Bens, and your very Blacksmith art piece
Today we pack our bags, horses, and tack, and make the onward transfer to our second accommodation, the wonderful Clifden Station House Hotel. En route, we’ll visit the hidden treasure of Glengowla Silver Mines, where we descend over 120ft into the mine shaft to witness the hardship of the mining industry that many locals endured centuries ago. The owner, Keith, will take you on a tour of the onsite “Klondike” film set before he gives us a fascinating working sheepdog and turf-cutting demonstration. From here, we’ll stop at Peacocke’s Hotel, situated right at the central crossroads of Connemara, for some lunch and a visit to the gift shop. Each October, a street fair is held here, giving Connemara natives the last chance, before the long winter sets in, to sell their livestock: ponies, donkeys, chickens, ducks, geese, goats, you name it, it’s there! Next, we’ll travel on through the spectacular scenery between the Twelve Bens and Maamturk mountain ranges, before checking in at the Clifden Station House Hotel. We’ll pay a visit to the old-style Blacksmith’s Forge in Lettermullen, on the south coast of Connemara, where our master farrier will give us a taste of times gone by, as he keeps the traditional craft of the blacksmith alive. We’ll even get to try it out for ourselves and create our own piece of blacksmith art to take home. As we travel back to our hotel, you’ll get to savour the spectacular evening Connemara views and breathe in the fresh wild Atlantic sea air; what better way to work up your appetite for a beautiful evening meal?
Day 5 – Delicious Connemara oysters, the Connemara National Park, and the wonders of Kylemore
After being spoilt by choice with the extensive “cooked to order” breakfast menu, remember to leave a little room for some Wild Atlantic Way Oysters which you’ll get to savour during our tour at the Connemara Oyster Farm. If oysters aren’t your thing, don’t worry, the tour itself is fascinating, and we’ll learn all about the difficult process involved in growing an oyster from seed to market. We travel on through the Quaker village of Letterfrack, the home of Connemara National Park, to the grounds of the wonderful Kylemore Abbey. We normally allow 3-hours for this tour, taking in the spectacular Abbey itself, the spectacular Gothic Church (modeled on some of Europe’s biggest cathedrals), and the spectacular Walled Gardens. Our trail ride today takes us all around the magnificent Renvyle Peninsula, where we soak up the scenery in the company of our local historian friend who allows us to envisage the life and traditions of the generations gone before us. Later, back at the hotel, take a dip in the ocean, relax at the indoor heated swimming pool, or spoil yourself with a blissful spa treatment at the hotel spa, before joining us for dinner.
Day 6 – The beauty of Clifden, Omey Island, and the taste of local seafood
Today we’ll load up the horses for our trip through Clifden town, where you’ll have an opportunity to stroll around the town, pay a visit to the Connemara Pony Museum, and drop into some of the local Gift shops and Art Galleries, before enjoying another beautiful ride at the wonderful Omey Island, a tidal island situated near Claddaghduff, right along the western edge of Connemara. From the mainland, the island is inconspicuous and almost hidden but at low tide, it’s possible to ride, drive, or walk across the large sandy strand to the island, following the arrowed signs. Again, you’ll get to choose the pace of this ride and if you’re feeling brave enough, you can even swim with your horse before stopping at the local pub to enjoy spectacular views of the island, and sample a delicious bowl of chowder, or some freshly caught crab claws. Dinner on our final evening will be served at the hotel.
Day 7 – Time to bid our fond farewells
After a hearty breakfast and 7 awe-inspiring days of activity, it’s time to say goodbye to the ponies and horses and Curra Farm, your home for the past 7 days, as you board your private coach from the Station House Hotel back to The Park House Hotel in Galway City for your onward journey.