John Maguire’s Life with Horses
This week we caught up with John and he told us about his interesting adventure with horses and how they have become an important part of this life,
You could say that I am relatively new to the equestrian world from a participant point of view. My first time to ride a horse was when I was a young 45-year-old. But let me take you back further when going to a horse-riding stable was a bit of a necessary chore, my daughter Shona who was 6 at the time showed a huge interest in horse riding, I took her along to her first riding lessons and thought “this wont last” she is now 34 has two horses her main discipline is eventing. So, the truth is I have been around horses for most of my daughter’s life and I was so impressed with her skill and determination (doting dad).
Any way to make a long story as short as I can. After many years watching from the side lines one day I showed some interest in horse riding and my daughter and wife bought me three riding lessons thinking if he does one lesson, he might realise he really does not like it and my daughter could avail of the other two lessons. That was not the case, because since then I have not looked back. I started my lessons with Hazel O’Flynn in Broadmeadows and she is still trying to teach me today.
So, to say I am hooked is probably a big understatement. Since taking up horse riding, I have been to Wales on many occasions trekking through the mountains of south Wales, every holiday I take is not without a visit to the local stables. I went to Crete in September 2019 and went on an all-day trek form mountain to coast in 33c of heat that was just a dream trek. In 2007 I went with the Irish Polocrosse team to Australia where they were representing Ireland in the Polocrosse World Cup. While in Australia I groomed for the New Zealand Polocrosse Team, what a team of riders, they where fully committed to their discipline. Then fear and a busy schedule kept me away from horse riding for two years, but equine was pulsing through my veins and after that 2 years away from horse riding, I decided to make my return and joined up with the stables in Corballis, where I had many a trek on the beach, forest, and farm. Then things started to get serious, a new 4-year-old Bay gelding arrived at the yard, this horse was showing some attitude and lots of people grew fearful of him and he was not riding much. Then they approached me and asked me would I be interested in taking care of him and with fear and trepidation I agreed.
This horse lived out so there was no mucking out or feeding regimes, so I took on the challenge, we did not have a great start together and there was a real battle of wills. But eventually we started to bond and work together for the greater good. There was only one problem I did not own him so I was a bit restricted in what I could do with him. I could see great potential in him, but the owner didn’t see it that way. He was cast aside and labelled as a bit of an old hacker who was not up to much (You can imagine how I felt about that). So the years past but I was determined to stick with him. As his potential grew and grew I decided along with my friend Alan O’Neill we would buy him. I kept him at Corballis for another year and entered him into mainly Dressage Competitions cause I wanted to improve his flat work. I took him to Hazel Flynn in Monksfield and he really started to show his true colours. Hazel described him as a gentleman who was an 8 year old with a three year old brain.
He is now on DIY livery in Monkfield and is thriving. We have just completed a four day Clinic with Irish Dressage Olympian Heiki Holstien and he has made huge improvements in that time. He has thought me so much about myself and the world of horses. I then started to wonder how come I have a fifty, fifty family. My wife and my son have absolutely no interest in horses but me and my daughter are addicted. Then one day I remember coming across an old painting years ago in my parent’s attic, it was a painting of an elderly gentleman siting tall and proud on a big dark bay draught horse in full military uniform, White jodhpurs, black boots, red jacket and a gold helmet he was my great grandad so I found my equestrian link that was buried for so long. I think of my horse today who is a proud 16.2 tall standing dark bay with a lot of draught in him. He was originally living on the Galtee Mountains hence his name Galtee and you know what, I think he is the cheese. As I write this article I am starting to recall a lot of people and influences in my equestrian life. I am so proud and happy to be a part of Cheval Riding Club and I thank Vicky Lambert for the introduction. Meeting with the “Older” riders has been an inspiration and of course I am always blown over by the skill and enthusiasm of our younger riders. In my work as a mental health professional, I am even involved with horses. I am an Eagala trained Therapist using the therapeutic powers of horses with people.
I better stop now otherwise I will never spot writing such is my passion for all things equine.
Thanks so much to John for taking the time to share his lovely memories with the club members. If anyone else has any memories or stories to share, please get in touch!