The 2008 Season of...
Behind the scenes
at Rose Cottage Riding School ...

This is the 2008 Season Archive of news from around the yard at Rose Cottage Riding School.  We arrange these pages by season so that each page doesn't get so big that those with slower Internet access find it hard to view.  As with the main page it is arranged in reverse order, starting with an update on Harvey and Ivan at the bottom of this page and ending with  life 'round the back' in November.

Go to Behind the Scenes 2007
Go to Behind the Scenes 2009

Early November 2008 at Rose Cottage.  Here taking residence in some of our new stables we can see Valco, Zuko, Chino and Chloe with Zuko during training, demonstrating that he can't jump! and Chino having a bath as he was being got ready to compete at a local Foal Show.  Chino actually won his coloured foal class too!!  We hope to have some pics of that win in due course.


Valco luxuriating in his comfy stable

Life round the back! When we have a very active day it's important for the horses to be brought in well before hand and cleaned up ready to be tacked up for the rides.  We use the stalls and boxes round the back to keep the horses that are not yet needed and these allow them to have access to hay and water as well.  It's fun to see them. Some keep alert, looking out for every movement, others bask in the sunshine and still others have a little nap standing up.  All the pictures below were taken at roughly the same time on one busy day for Rose Cottage Riding School.


Deano, making the most of the morning sunshine - and no sun in the eyes either! Very clever!

Remember our 'little' website 'mascot' Patrick?  Well, he's 14 months old now (August 2008) and lives with our filly Music who was born some six weeks before him in 2007.  They were our only two foals that year so they soon became firm friends.  They currently live in a nearby field which has its own stream for drinking water and which is quite hilly so we thought that might keep them fit.  We went to visit them recently but it was too soon after this part of Ireland had had a spell of heavy rain and the so-called stream was more of a raging torrent.  Accordingly these pictures, taken after the two of them had been called over near to the opposite bank, which they sensibly chose not to cross, show Music and Patrick in a rather limited way.  Patrick clearly takes after his dam (Domino) regarding his liking for food - he is a tad 'rotund', one might say; though in fairness still becoming very muscular!!  He is developing well and clearly retains his unusual chocolate colouring in summer.  Although a bit unkempt, Patrick looks really gorgeous with his long mane and two-tone tail. Music has a similarly unusual (though of course quite different) colouring and she is maturing fast. They really are two youngsters properly learning how to be horses!  Do watch this space for more news...


A look at Domino.  Domino is one of our best cobs.  She is 17 now (2008) and much prefers the outdoor rides to work in the school.  She stands something like 16:3hh (maybe a tad more) and from her hooves and general build she is thought to be a Clydesdale Cross though some see some Percheron in her.  It's even possible that she came from Ireland originally.  She is unfazed by most things although like many horses she doesn't like tractors or combine harvesters.  For many years she lived in England at part livery on a yard then managed by our Kate but was bought by her and moved to Ireland shortly after Kate herself came here.  Domino is the dam to Patrick, born in 2007, the colt that was sired by our stallion Dandy and who became a bit of a mascot for this web site because he was born just as this site was being set up.  In these pictures Domino has just come back from a ride and has already chomped through a bagful of carrots and apples brought over by her visiting former owner - but it's still pretty obvious that she still waits in the hope of more! Such a Greed (!), could her offspring possibly ever really be the same? (See above for the answer to this!!)


Back from the ride - just look at those feet!!

A quick update on Mario.  Here he is already looking much more at home and relaxed. Amazing what some TLC will do!  He's certainly coming along well after his recent move to Rose Cottage.  He's hardly done anything but eat since he got here but at his age it's important not to be too hasty about building him up otherwise he could develop other problems just from that.  He needs a 'slow but sure' recovery programme but already you can see the difference. His sores and rain scald are healing up nicely and he is beginning to settle down and be a little less nervous.  Already he is reliable when ridden.


Mario enjoying life at Rose Cottage with his new found friend Katie

Katie is on holiday here in Inishowen and has really been helping us out on the yard.


Just in case you were wondering how Harvey and Ivan are doing, we had an opportunity to find out when Kate took us to see them at their new owner's place one day in August.  Here they are breaking off from their busy life of eating to say 'Hello'.  Don't they look well looked after and haven't they both grown since we reported on them last?  They are both about 14 months old here...


Here they come! Harvey and Ivan come to say Hello to Kate.

May we introduce you to our newest arrival at Rose Cottage?  His name is Mario, and he is about 17 years old though maybe even older.  He was in a very poor condition when he arrived in August 2008 with sores on his legs and with rain scald. He's now on the road to recovery and we're hoping he can enjoy the rest of his life with us.  He's such a sweetheart.


Mario, aged 17 arrives at Rose Cottage. He deserves some TLC.


It really is all go here! Not content with the National Television Company, RTE coming here to film (see below) but, and also in June, we had a recreational visit from the film crew of Sepia Films.  They were filming on location here in Inishowen for a film that's to be called A Shine of Rainbows starring Aidan Quinn and Connie Nielson.  You can see read more about it at but here is a picture of the crew who came to us for a ride. Make sure you see the film when it's out next year.

The Irish National Broadcaster, RT came to film at Rose Cottage Riding School one day in June 2008!  They were filming for an episode of their very popular travel programme, No Frontiers that would be aired in early 2009. They filmed the Cottage and then their presenter, Katherine Thomas, was filmed at the yard together with our Assistant Instructor, Sam.  Katherine was riding Tabs and Sam rode Zuko. They then they all went down to the beach where the team filmed a shot of Katherine and Sam galloping along the beach. The car that the team travelled in was not suitable to go onto the beach so Kate's husband, Dan, took the film crew in his jeep on the sand at over 50kph (30mph) just to keep up with the horses!   Afterwards, they all came back to Rose Cottage where they had tea and homemade scones. Here are a few shots of Katherine Thomas with Connor McDermott, Scarlett Harkin and then with those who had helped her and her team at Rose CottageLater note: The programme actually aired on the 22nd February 2009.  You can still see the short clip by going to: and selecting the edition dated 22 February 2009.  Once there, click on the Inishowen thumbnail to watch a short video clip.  You'll see what galloping along the beach at Rose Cottage Riding School is really like and of course you'll also get to see a little of the Inishowen peninsula too. RT has some more info about where they went as well, Click here for that.


No Frontier's Katherine Thomas with Connor

We aren't exaggerating...!  When we say we are only minutes from the beach we mean it.  It's so near that occasionally a very high Spring tide can come right up near to the edge of our outdoor school! Just have a look at these shots. Not easy to concentrate on one's transitions in such a situation!


High tide comes to Rose Cottage!

A very high Spring Tide is quite exciting...

Harvey and Ivan in their new home

As readers of this column will know (see further down on this page) Harvey, a Clydesdale Cross, and Ivan, a Donkey, both nearly one year old in May 2008 were first purchased by Kate late last year and, after over wintering at Rose Cottage, they were bought by the Harkin family in March this year.  Harvey and Ivan have been firm friends ever since they arrived and they clearly remain so now that they have moved to their new home.  Just how well these two have settled in can be seen from these wonderful photos! It is always nice to be able to follow up on animals after they have moved away though, as most will already know, this is often quite difficult.  Thanks to Diane Harkin for this excellent sequence of images. It gives a new meaning to the phrase 'horsing around'! Ivan is clearly No1 in this 'herd'.  We are all wondering when it will change.

Our Helpers are never forgotten...1

Rose Cottage Riding School relies a lot on its helpers, those who give their time to help looking after the horses at the weekend, preparing them for the customers, keeping the yard clean and tidy and looking after the tack.  When time permits it's nice to be able to mark important times in their lives too.  Recently we held a surprise birthday celebration for Emma with all the food hidden beforehand in our tackroom.  She has sent us two pictures of herself surrounded by Kate, Sam and the other helpers as they all wished her Many Happy Returns.  In the first photo below we see left to right:  Top: Kate, Scarlett, Chloe, Emma (the birthday girl), Eimear and Sam. Front: Rachael and Connor.  Thanks Emma.


Emma with her friends at her surprise birthday celebration

Our Helpers are never forgotten...2

Another birthday celebration for one of our weekend helpers - this time for Jazmine English's 12th birthday.  Back row Mum Max, middle row, Jazz (birthday girl) Rachael, Julia, Connor, Amy, Scarlett, Front row, Bella and Jill


An update on Harvey and Ivan...

In March 2008 two of our recent recruits, Harvey (a Clydesdale Cross) and little Ivan (a donkey) - both about the same age and by then not far off one year old - joined the Harkin family and are now being spoilt rotten by Mum Diane, whose daughter Scarlett, already has her horse Joey with us as one of our liveries. Harvey and Ivan were featured earlier on this page when they first came to us - see lower down on this page - and some recent pictures of them are already in our Photogallery - with captions! - but, because of all the interest in these two 'cuties', we reproduce these more recent pictures here too. We hope to chart the progress of these 'behind the scenes' stars as we go through the year.


Want to see our earlier entries?  Our 2007 season snippets of Behind the Scenes have been moved to their own page in order to make this part of our site quicker to load and therefore easier to view by those with slower Internet connexions. But, clicking on the link below you can still see:

Looking forward to Summer...
In the over-wintering stalls
Winter arrived with a bit of a bang this year
2008 started with our working horses rugged up
Winter approaches
Our Stallions...
Enter Harvey and his new pal, Ivan!
Two friends, Jacob and Biggles!
Our Farriers
Our Vet

Go to Behind the Scenes 2007
Go to Behind the Scenes 2009

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