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Off-Road Horse Riding at Sheans Horse Farm

Posted on May 13, 2013 @ 3:17 PM in Adventure

OutdoorNI’s Sarah Nelson spent a morning horse trekking at Sheans Horse Farm.  Here’s how she got on…

Helping to fulfil the stereotypical view that all little girls love ponies I went to horse riding lessons as a child however those days are now long gone and apart from one brief hack many years ago I hadn’t been on a horse since.   So with my visit to Sheans Horse Farm  booked it was safe to say I was very much looking forward to quite literally getting back in the saddle.  Situated just outside Armoy, Sheans Horse Farm is a riding school and trekking centre on the 400 acre McKinley family farm in the hills of North Antrim. 

horse riding northern ireland

Not wanting to miss out, Beverley our seasoned horse riding pro from the office came along too. Beverley took up horse riding 4 years ago so was definitely more skilled than me however our differing abilities weren’t a problem as on arrival our instructor Maggie made sure to find out our individual capabilities and what we would feel comfortable doing.   

While Beverley had come prepared with all the gear I was in need of being suited and booted up which thankfully wasn’t a problem as there was a big stock of riding boots and helmets available. After this it wasn’t long before Maggie introduced us to our chaperones for the morning; Archie and Phillip, our two very handsome…. horses!  All tacked up and ready to go we wasted no time in getting started. Thankfully for 5 foot nothing people like me there were steps to easily mount the horses to help avoid any undignified clambering (that would be saved for the dismount!)

Having discussed our abilities at the start it was then time for Maggie to see how we were able to handle the horses which for me meant a trot around the sand school to refresh my memory.  It was great to be able to build my confidence on the horse within the school before heading out on the trek. 

Maggie and Shan then joined us on Pepsi and Trim, and explained what we would be doing before we headed off.  I felt very confident on Archie and it didn’t take me long to realise he was my kind of horse - willing to do what I wanted when prompted but not willing to put any unnecessary extra effort in!  Which meant he went at the perfect pace for me. 

horse riding northern ireland

The trails started right from the stable yard so there was no need to go anywhere near a road as we began our off-road hack into the beautiful North Antrim Hills. With countryside stretching as far as the eye could see I could tell this was going to be a great experience.  With nothing but the hooves to hear on the ground (and of course our occasional chatter) it was a very peaceful way to start our morning.     

Although I would have been happy enough riding along with not a care in the world, Maggie really made it interesting for us by getting us to go up mounds and hills, learning to lean forward and back to help navigate the horse.  We even travelled up through rivers with the horses drinking from the streams - I felt like I was on the set of Game of Thrones!

With green grass continuing for miles in the distance it really did feel like we were riding the horses in the perfect environment which was only emphasised further when we past the farms other horses frolicking freely in the fields before galloping past us on their way to be fed.   

horse riding northern ireland

We continued up hill, walking and trotting before Beverley and Maggie went on ahead so they could have a go at cantering whilst Shan took me for a trot.  The views were amazing the whole way up and seeing them from the height of the horse (plus the fact we didn’t have to walk uphill) made it even better! At the top, thanks to the sun splitting the skies we had stunning, uninterrupted views as far as Lough Foyle and the Sperrin mountains, Inishowen and even as far as Malin Head in Donegal.  Evidence of the traditional hand turf cutting that takes place at the farm could also be seen at the top of the hill.  After a lot of ‘ohhing’ and ‘ahhing’ at the views we began to make our way back down to the stable yard again having some fun trotting and cantering along the way.  Before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye to our new four legged friends – however going by how much fun we both had I think it is safe to say we will be seeing them again!

Activity Provider:

Sheans Horse Farm
38 Coolkeeran Rd,
BT53 8XL


£25 for a 1 ½ hour trek

Gift Vouchers Now Available!


Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson  Marketing Officer

Sarah joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in 2011. A firm believer in giving anything a go at least once (unless it involves jumping out of a plane at 6,000ft!) she is always looking for new adventures in the outdoors and can often be found wandering the Mournes or Glens of Antrim attempting not to get lost!

1 comment has been posted in reply to this article

Posted by Huntman on April 8, 2017 @ 11:06 AM

Very informative article about riding. Please check it out to find more about

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