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So, who's ponying up for the 'bridle' suite?

HOTEL staff in Co Meath were taken by surprise when a world-record holding stallion tried to book the 'bridle' suite.

Management at the Headfort Arms Hotel in Kells are hoping they won't be left 'saddled' with the bill after the 17-year-old Atlas trotted up to the hotel reception desk last Friday.

Susan Oakes and her horse broke a 98-year-old world side-saddle high-jump record when they cleared a massive 6ft 8in high wall at the National Sports Campus in Blanchardstown on October 24 last.

She beat the unofficial record set by Australian rider Esther Stace in 1915 by two inches, despite only starting showjumping two years ago.

Although Atlas could have signed into the hotel as a former competitor in the Athens Olympics, the well-behaved horse was in Kells on another business matter – to launch the International side-saddle extravaganza weekend.

Susan, alongside old friends, hotel manager Olivia Duff and Tara Harriers master, Imelda O'Donnell, expect to welcome up to 100 side-saddling women to the event which takes place at the end of the month.



"It's all about the ancient tradition of side-saddle riding," said Ms Duff.

"It's Downton Abbey meets the Headfort Arms.

"The group will ride out over hedges at Brittas Estate in Nobber, Co Meath and after a Saturday night ball, they'll travel to Loughrea in Co Galway to jump side-saddle over stone walls."