herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

My perfect weekend

Showjumper Susan Oakes blows away the cobwebs by going horse riding at dawn

On Friday night I'd: Unwind with dinner over a nice bottle of wine. Depending on whether or not I was competing over the weekend, I could be tempted to head out for a night in town, starting with dinner in the Vanilla Pod restaurant in The Headford Arms Hotel in Kells.

My favourite stiff drink is: Hendricks Gin. It must be served with cucumber and lots of ice. It was perfect for sipping in the hot weather we had.

Saturday morning lie-on or gym session: Neither. My Saturday mornings are spent looking after and working the horses. I have six horses in training as well as the rest, so Saturday mornings begin at 6am ... hardly a lie-in.

My favourite item of clothing is: That would have to be my bespoke side-saddle habit. This is not your ordinary rigout, it comprises of a tailored jacket over a crisp white shirt and a stock and the apron (the skirt part!) needs to be kept in tip-top condition. The icing on the cake is my top hat and veil and, of course, my beautiful leather gloves. Not everyone's cup of tea but the habit symbolises the tradition and elegance of side-saddle riding. That's why I love it.

My Saturday night fever: A nice hot shower after a long day in the yard followed by drinks in the Central Bar in Navan or O'Connells on the Hill of Skryne in Meath, and then on to dinner and dancing with the girls when the mood takes us.

My favourite hangover cure: Galloping one of my horses on the beach at the crack of dawn. That really blows away the cobwebs.

On Sunday I rest by: Technically, I don't rest but I do take some time in the afternoon to catch up on my reading. And on cold winter nights, I like to sit by the fire and watch a good movie.

I'm currently reading: Longing and Belonging by Paolo Tullio. It's a novel set in poverty-stricken southern Italy in the last century, when emigration was at its peak. It's a lovely rags-to-riches story that has me completely captivated.

My last supper: It would have to be a seafood dish, possibly scallops and prawns washed down with a cold glass of Pinot Grigio and, yes, my sweet tooth prevails, I'd have to have chocolate mousse.

Susan Oakes and her team will take part in two side-saddle displays sponsored by Lindt at the Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show, August 8 and 11 in the RDS

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