Willberry’s Wishes were contacted by Chrissie, a good friend of Robyn Tierney, from Ireland, to ask if they could give Robyn some horsey happiness after the death of her beloved Dad to cancer.
Robyn’s love of horses was inspired by her dad, Ivan. He learnt to ride horses slightly later in life and eventually became Master of the local drag hunt. After buying her a horse of her own, Robyn joined her dad out on the field.
Five years ago, whilst out on a hack with Robyn, Ivan had a fall and was taken to hospital for a few simple checks. Sadly, the results in hospital gave him a shock diagnosis of cancer. Despite his advancing illness through chemo, Robyn’s Dad supported her horsey experiences throughout the next five years. Robyn took over the care of her dad’s horse as well as her own, but as her dad became increasingly unwell, her riding took a backseat and she lost some of her inspiration to ride.
Chrissie thought it would be lovely for her to get away for a short break, ideally with somewhere to ride a horse too. Whilst Willberry had little knowledge of Ireland, he put his wand into action and found the magical Westport Woods Hotel on the beautiful west coast in County Mayo, run by Michael O’Connor. Michael was very sad to hear of Robyn’s difficult few years and was delighted to help us to organise a weekend riding break and some rest and relaxation in his stunning spa hotel.
When we got in touch with Robyn to tell her of our surprise break, she was absolutely elated! Although the trip was postponed due to Covid restrictions, Robyn enjoyed a fantastic weekend there in September, together with her mum and brother to help enjoy the stay.
The first day’s riding was on a beautiful warm sunny day, spent on miles of golden beach, picking through pools and estuaries, then opening the lungs for wonderful head clearing gallops along the wet sands. Robyn said it was the best experience ever:
“I remember the feel and sound of Cody’s hooves touching the cobble at the edge of the beach and I’m pretty sure this is the point the wide grin was fixed on my face permanently for the next 3 hours!!! I was fortunate to catch a glimpse of my brother walking on the beach in the distance. When he saw us coming, he captured the most wonderful video of us cantering flat out across the open beach. So grateful to have this memory caught on camera! The timing could not have been more perfect.”
The second day turned out to be the opposite extreme! Lashing rain and strong winds buffeted the hotel when Robyn woke up, but the true horsewoman that she is, she donned her waterproofs and headed to the yard without a second glance! This time they took to the mountains, over rugged crags and challenging steep stoney tracks, but Robyn was equally overwhelmed with the scenery and the exhilaration of being on a horse up there with the world beneath you. Although she was totally drenched by the time they got home at the end of the day and was ready for a soak in the bathtub at the hotel, she enjoyed both days equally, and was so glad that her mum and brother could be there too to share the wonderful break away.
“My dad was my best friend and in sharing our passion for horses it made us so close, it is wonderful to have someone to share your horses with and I miss him immensely. I feel close to my dad when I’m with horses and in my heart I brought him on those amazing treks in Westport too. I brought with me a Willberry hat silk and I wore a wee pin of Wilberry on my back protector, and I hope in some way that meant Hannah was able to enjoy my treks with me too. I know anyone who loves horses would have been as happy as me.”
Willberry was absolutely thrilled that the break gave Robyn so much pleasure and joy after such a terribly difficult and sad few years, and our thanks go to Michael and his team at Westport Woods Hotel for giving Robyn such wonderful experiences and memories to keep forever 💗