This Horsewoman of Ireland enjoyed a weekend on the road. Not many things would have me doing a seven-hour round-trip on my days off, but the annual Irish Stallion Trail is one of them.

As many a breeder would tell you, it’s really important to see the animals you want to breed with in front of you, in the flesh and palpable. A sire may have the page, but what does it do to your heart as it strides past you?

Along with so many others, I was on my own stallion pilgrimage, with my own mare in mind, and with over 30 farms and 140 stallions to see over two days, I needed a plan.

Start in Waterford and wind my way back up to Fermanagh; chatting to breeders and standing in wonder at the elegance and power of top sires of both Flat and National Hunt racing.

If you’ve never been on the Stallion Trail, mark it in the diary for next year; the world-class horses and world-class hospitality are not to be missed. The chance to get close to these stars old and new up close is something you won’t forget in a hurry.

Boardsmill Stud stands the handsome Sumbal. \

Handler Thomas Lennon and Phoenix of Spain with members of the public. \ ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Thomas Lennon shines a bridle in the tack room as Lucky Vega is shown to the public by handler Harry Sherman. \ ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Stallion Handler Cormac McEvoy with Minzaal at Derrinstown Stud. \ ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Lead hanging up outside Menzaal’s door ar Derrinstown. \ Caroline Norris
Awtaad at Derrinstown Stud. \ ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy