Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Travel Tails

Dartfield Horse Museum

After a night at a bed and breakfast, it was time to head out again. This time, we had a destination in mind. We had picked up a pamphlet about a horse museum located not far from Loughrea, we wanted to check it out. Interested in everything horse, add a bit of history into it and I’d be in my element. My two favourite things together, were about as good as it gets.
We arrived in Loughrea and promptly went about the business of finding somewhere to stay. If we could leave our backpacks behind and not have to lug them around, that would be a good thing. Though we each carried about fourteen pounds, it was still nice to drop the packs and be free of the extra weight now and again. To our surprise, there weren’t any rooms available at the few choices of bed and breakfast. No worries, there was a little inn we could go to. We preferred bed and breakfasts, but beggers can’t be choosers, so it was any port in a storm. As it turned out, the old inn was also completely booked up. The woman at the desk explained that there was nothing available for miles around, because of the Ballinasloe Horse Fair.
“Horse Fair,” I ask, sweetpea and I both instantly perk up, “there’s a horse fair?”
“Ay,” she nodded and smiled, “goes the week, so it does. Folk usually book something the year before. But maybe I can sort the pair of yeh. We’ve the house next door. We’re a bit low on staff, so weren’t going to use it, but seeing as yer a tad desperate, I think ’twould suit yeh well.”
She grabbed a set of keys and bustled out the door, beckoning for us to follow along. We went directly to a house right next door. She ushered us in and up the stairs. Of course once again, we were in room four, so that trend didn’t end. We were to be the only ones staying in the house, so we didn’t have to worry about our safety, and just like that, we had a place to leave our things and lay our heads at night.
Off we went, to the museum dedicated to the horse and all things related to horses. As we came up the long drive, there were horses dotting the rain-misted fields, and it was all quite idyllic. From what we understood from the pamphlet, Willy Leahy had the largest herd of Connemara horses around. It’s too bad we hadn’t known about all that was possible ahead of time. We could’ve gone on a several days horse trek, if we’d only known. We could’ve joined in on one that was already out there, but that wasn’t something that appealed to us. We decided that it would be much better to plan on going for a long ride another time, maybe even two. There were several trails, several treks to choose from, so it made sense to do more than one.
As a lover of history and museums in general, I was pretty well in my element. There I was, in a museum all about horses, and it was a good one. There were all kinds of horse drawn vehicles, some of which I would love to own. There was an art gallery, full of paintings and horse related art that I would’ve loved to hang on my walls. All in all, it was a great collection of horse related items and information that provided a small glimpse, of how important horses were to civilization. Rainy days, even misty rain ones, like what was coming down outside, were perfect for slowly ambling through a museum, especially a collection of equine artifacts.
We asked about going for a ride, and yes, we could’ve joined a ride in progress, yet there was the whole lure of the ‘horse fair’ hanging in the air as well. A horse fair figures quite importantly in the dream turned novel. There was no way, we couldn’t go and check it out. For all I knew, it was a part of the dream that I had to experience, that I had to know and feel, first hand. Sure, it was a stretch, but what if I was meant to check it out? What if finding the pamphlet for the horse museum was meant to bring us to this place, to this place where a horse fair was going on, just down the road a bit. If we went on a ride, we’d miss the fair. Riding could wait for another time. The fair was calling us. We would hop onto the earliest bus the next morning, and spend the whole day soaking in the fair.

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About Trudy Andrew

Trudy Andrew lives on a small farm just east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she enjoys her Morgan horses. A dreamer since she was a child, its no surprise to those who know her well that her imagination would find an outlet in writing, as it has in the past through artwork.
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 Oakbank, MB