A Business Run From The Heart

“Fantastic Place. Excellent & Kind Horses”

About The O’Connor Family & Our Riding Stables

 

The farm is run by 3 generations of the O’Connor family.

Our stables are situated in the scenic North West of Ireland overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and Donegal Bay on The Wild Atlantic Way. Originally from O Connors Island, the family settled in the present mainland homestead in the 1950s. In 1994 the horse breeding and riding stables were added to the cattle farm. For the next 27 years we have been 2 generations of local children how to ride and introduced thousands of families and individuals to the joys of riding a horse on the beach.

At the start of 2022 we decided that our business will take a new direction. We felt that we wanted to focus on equestrian holidays only. So we no longer cater for casual riders or large group bookings. Quality instead of quantity!  We still offer all our wonderful rides and lesson formats, but from now on exclusively for riding holiday clients. As an additional service we now offer therapeutic riding for  a small number of special needs clients. It’s very tailormade and we and our lovely horses very much enjoy the challenge and the results. 

As a result groups are a lot smaller and our staff can focus even more on delivering a bespoke experience.  Its a lot less busy and we have a lot more time to school and look after our equine friends. Its all about the individual and their horse!

We feel the horses also enjoy having less rider changes. And, happy horses make for a happy horse riding holiday! 

Today there are over 35 horses and ponies that enjoy a life close to nature in the vast fields between Benbulben Mountain and the sea. The nearest beach is only a few minutes ride from the stables. Our guests can enjoy a fresh canter, a leisurely stroll or a splash in the sea. We offer them the unique opportunity to explore our private island on horseback.

In recent years we have all become more active in conservation projects such as beach cleans, dune erosion prevention and we operate a leave no trace policy in our business. In 2019 we were delighted to receive the Ocean Heroes Business of the year award from An Taisce for our efforts. The natural environment and the sea provide us with a spectacular workplace for our business, it’s only right to try and give something back .

Island View is a small family farm that has grown into an equestrian centre with “old world charm”.

Bantam hens, runner ducks, rabbits and kittens roam the farm and provide hours of enchantment for our young visitors.

Meet Duchess the pug,her son Bruce and Rossi the miniature stallion!

Chicken
Little Rossi Pony at Island View Riding Stables
Little Rossi Pony at Island View Riding Stables
Little Rossi Pony at Island View Riding Stables
Little Rossi Pony at Island View Riding Stables

The Island View Riding Crew

Ursula Schweiger at Island View Riding Stables

Ursula Schweiger O Connor (Uschi)

Born in Bavaria (Germany), Ursula fell in love with the place, married Raymond and settled here. “Center” of all things Island View, be it riders, holiday guests, children, horses, hens, students…. and is in charge of running the yard and office.

She looks after the training of horses and riders. Whatever it is you need, Uschi will make it happen for you – with a smile….

Ursula holds BET (British Equestrian Tourism) Ride Leader, Centered Riding® Level 2, EFI (Equestrian Federation of Ireland) Level 1 Coach, British Horse Society Road Safety Trainer, Safeguarding 1,2 and 3, British Driving Society Preliminary, Road Safety and Intermediate Certificate, Therapeutic Riding Coach and First Aid Responder Certificates.

Uschi is the Covid officer and safeguarding liaison personin the yard. She is also Failte Ireland’s Regional Ambassador for The Wild Atlantic Way

Raymond

Raymond O Connor

Little big boss and island farmer, Raymond makes sure the farm runs smoothly. He tries to keep jeeps and tractors running, looks after the hay saving and feeding.

His real passion is the breeding of the Irish Draught and Irish Sport Horse.

Nobody can load horses like Raymond, he is a natural horseman, without a degree in Natural horsemanship.

Raymond holds the BET (British Equestrian Tourism) Ride Leader, First Aid at Work, British Driving Society Preliminary and Road Safety certificates.

Elisa O Connor

Elisa

Elisa started riding in nappies and impresses with a supple seat and confidence. She is our rising star in the horse sport arena.

Ambitious young rider who loves show jumping on the national and occasionally international circuit. She spends hours polishing her horses to achieve “that glitzy” finish. She is also in charge of producing and marketing the home bred sport horses. She has a keen interest in the breeding of performance horses and ponies and has started to build up her own breeding program to ensure the continued production of top class horses at Island View.

Elisa holds the Pony Club B+ exam and has joined the rank of instructors in the yard as well as for pony club. She also holds safeguarding 1, Therapeutic Riding Coach and First Aid responder certs.

Outside of the Stables, Elisa has a bachelor degree in Global Commerce from NUI Galway and hopes to combine both her passion for horses and knowledge of the business world in the future.

John Alfred O Connor

John Alfred

Silent but deadly, this young man doesn’t speak much but can be seen working hard on the farm. Be it rounding up cattle and sheep, occasionally horses as well, or fixing tractors, John-Alfred always manages to keep busy.  An accomplished rider himself he nonetheless prefers 90 New Holland  horsepower to 1 home bred Irish one. 

John-Alfred has a real “feel for machinery” and has branched off into a career in the mechanical sector, He keeps tractors running, trailers lit up and balers rolling on.

He is also in charge of the poultry, collecting eggs and hatching chicks.

Joy

Joy

Our German Irish gem in the yard is Joy, who has finally followed her vocation and joined our team as full time yard manager. Many years ago her family came her for riding holidays, she was smitten  (and still is) by the charm of the Irish horses and landscape. Her qualifications include BHS stage 2 Instructor , Ride Leader, First Aid Responder, Safeguarding and Therapeutic Riding Coach. When she is not busy delivering an insightful  lesson, then she can be found riding youngsters, training staff or looking after our holiday clients. Joy is also in charge of the therapeutic Riding at Island View . She delivers the sessions with enthusiasm and feel, helping our therapeutic riding clients feel at ease and  progress.  She is also good with the camera and clients can book photoshoots with Joy while they are here.

Pugs

Duchess & Bruce

The cute, wrinkly and always comical welcoming committee. Mother and son team of pugs. They can be found either snoring and lounging on the couch or jumping around the reception area, looking for children who will rub them.

Margo from Island View Riding Stables on horse

Margo

Margo originally from the golden vales of North Cork has been involved with horses since childhood and is a member of the local riding club. Since moving to Sligo she has also been involved in the vibrant local music scene and enjoys a good session and the craic. Warm and hearty Margo is an excellent guide and holds the HSI level 1 coaching and has over 400 hours hatha yoga teacher training under her belt. Margo also holds first aid responder and safeguarding 1.

Girl riding on Trawalua Strand, Grange, Co Sligo

Working Students

Our current working students come from Germany, England  and Austria. Each with  their own skill set and assigned  project pony, they have gelled into a hard working and fun loving team.

We take on live-in internship students to work with the horses and to help with looking after customers. First Aid Training, experience in working with horses and riders is essential. Minimum stay is 8 weeks . If you are a pony size rider and not afraid of outdoor work, please feel free to apply.  A detailed job description can be found here, please fill in our job interview form if interested.

Granny Liz at Island View Riding Stables with Ryan Tubridy

Granny Liz

Behind the scenes is Granny Liz. Baker of divine apple tarts and brown bread that even skinny talk show hosts can’t resist! She knows the local history and folklore. Liz is the friendly receptionist and the First Lady at the heart of the family enterprise.

I’ve ridden in some spectacular places but cantering along the sand with the Atlantic on one side and the Benbulben Mountain on the other takes some beating. As we rode back across slippery rocks, watching Ursula’s cows on her own private island amble down to the beach, the sun broke through the clouds. It was a magical moment.” Linsey McNeill in “A green oasis for all the family.

The Observer

Ursula (Uschi) from Island View Riding Stables
Elisa & Ursula O Connor
Elisa O Connor
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