In the course of an enjoyable and happy horse-drawn caravan holiday, you will inevitably develop a special relationship with your horse. Your horse has been tested for his temperament, health, road behaviour, driving skills and many other qualities, before being entrusted to you. Like people, horses have personalities (horsalities?). Some visitors are more active, some taller and some more confident than others. This is taken into account by the operator when choosing a horse for you.
You may have little experience of horses but the horse has plenty of experience of people! The horse-breed used can vary but it is generally Irish Draught, with a strong influence of Traveller Horse and some lesser of Shire and Clydesdale.
The horse has been specially trained and tested to be suitable for this work. The welfare of the animal is entrusted to the visitor who will be instructed in inspecting the horse-shoes and the areas on the horse under the harness. Should a shoe be loose, broken or cast, or should the harness leave marks on the horse's skin, the operator should be informed immediately.
The horse does a good job pulling the caravan so it deserves its rest and grazing at the end of the day. It should not be ridden unless specifically permitted by the operator.
Both mares and geldings are used to pull caravans. The average height of a caravan horse is 15 hands and 2 inches - approximately 1.57 metres.
As part of the preparation before leaving the operator's base, you will be instructed and given practice in watering, feeding and caring for the health of the horse as well as in harnessing and unharnessing, yoking and unyoking.
Riding-horses are often available for rent. You may hire one to travel with the caravan, or to explore beaches, open country roads and mountainsides, when the caravan is parked.
Visitors travel between 7km and 20km per day. This takes between two and five hours, depending on the speed of the horse.
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Hosting kindly provided by a Wicklow-based firm (located just south of Dublin).