For those fortunate people who have experienced African wildlife on horseback, they will relate to the adrenalin felt when cantering alongside giraffe and zebra, or having close encounters with seven-tonne elephants. Last week I was again one of the lucky ones to return to this beautiful continent and spend a week in the saddle in Tanzania.

This trip was organised by UK and Irish-based equine holidays specialists, Zaras Planet, with whom I have had a chance to ride across Botswana and South Africa many times. The first week of this 18-day trip trip took me to Tanzania, where I spent a week on a fly camp in the bush with Kaskazi Horse Safaris. Run by Swede Jo Westermark and her partner Chris Rodgers, this is a relatively new company but one which is fast gaining recognition as an all-action week for experienced riders.

For this trip I was joined by the delightful Bob and Shellie from the States and South African Francoise. Both Bob and Shellie are keen endurance riders and so thoroughly enjoyed the countless gallops across the many salt pans we met throughout the seven days riding which took us across some of the most remote parts of Tanzania. Covering some 260 kilometres in seven days, we moved camp five times and each time the landscape changed, along with the wildlife. From herds of zebra, to giraffe, and from elephant to some of the most elusive antelope, the list is endless as we rode from the foothills of Kilimanjaro ride up to the Kenyan border.

It was exhausting at times, but one of the most memorable trips I have done in years, and the encounters with the Maasai people were truly special. To see the delight on the faces of those children as we rode into their villages, and their curious nature towards the horses, these are the memories I will cherish forever.

  This was our mobile home for the week! This was the view on our first night in Tanzania

  What a view! Our first night of camping in Tanzania



  Chris had to negotiate with the Maasai men to buy some ewater for our horses as we passed through the village of Tinga Tinga, made famous   by the African art of the same name

   A Maasai warrior

  On my day off from riding so I could document the trip on camera I met these three adorable girls at one of the watering holes for the cattle

  A Massai warrior at sunset

  This Maasai boy was no more than six years old. By the time we had met him me had driven his cattle some 10kms to water, then all the      way back again in blistering heat. These kids live a tough life, but are so endearing when you meet them.

  A beautiful Maasai girl we had met at a watering hole offers us her necklace. This image touched me deeply

  Chris offered this thirsty little boy some fruit juice. The child most likely had never had such sweet liquid in his short life.....

   Close encounters with elephant while on horseback are quite special

   Jo observes a group of three large bull elephants

  One of the many encounters with giraffe. These are majestic animals to canter alongside on open plains.

   Striking a deal for jewellery on a hilltop with some Maasai women and children. We bought some stunning bracelets from them.

   The group pose for a photograph with Mount Kilimanjaro and a bull elephant as the idyllic backdrop

 Bob and Jo race along the open plains on two ex racehorses. These athletes are perfect for a long week in the bush which demands such      fitness and stamina

  Bob joins up with some zebra on the salt pans!





]]> (SIOBHAN ENGLISH PHOTOGRAPHY) Mon, 22 Sep 2014 16:00:22 GMT

I had the honour of joining the Co Cork Minkhounds at one of their summer meets recently, outside Millstreet. It was a glorious day and the pack was in tremendous form, hunting from 11am until almost 6pm.

The hunt is active between May and September and has a great following of local enthusiasts, as well as regular visitors from overseas who thorougly enjoy watching these hounds, their huntsman Brian McDonogh, and the hunt staff, work tirelessly in the water all day.
It really is a wonderful sight and I hope to get back down again before the season ends...
Co Cork Minkhounds' huntsman Brian McDonogh wades through the water during their meet on the River Blackwater near Millstreet last Sunday. The pack meets once a week during the summer months and has a great following of local and visiting hunting enthusiasts


Making a splash: One of the Co Cork Minkhounds busy at work during their meet on the River Blackwater near Millstreet last Sunday. The pack meets once a week during the summer months and has a great following of local and visiting hunting enthusiasts


]]> (SIOBHAN ENGLISH PHOTOGRAPHY) Fri, 04 Jul 2014 11:07:32 GMT
SCARTEEN KENNEL VISIT I was fortunate to be invited to visit the kennels of the famed Scarteen Black & Tans at Scarteen House on Saturday. This pack of Kerry Beagles is one of the oldest in the country and has been in the Ryan family for 350 years. Huntsman and master Chris Ryan has been carrying the horn since 1986 following the retirement of his father Thady to New Zealand.

Whipping-in to Chris is Joe Taylor 
Hounds (32 couple) are still being walked out and bicycle fitness training starts next month. Three new litters of pups arrived this spring and one has already gone to puppy walkers. The remaining two litters are now four months' old and go to walkers next week.
  Chris and Joe walking hounds on the long avenue into Scarteen House
  One of the seasoned hounds
  New entry. These pups will be fostered to puppy walkers next week
  New entry. These pups will be fostered to puppy walkers next week
  Car thieves! Dropped keys and had a job to retrieve them...
  These paws are made for huntin'
]]> (SIOBHAN ENGLISH PHOTOGRAPHY) Sun, 18 May 2014 10:53:03 GMT
NEW ENTRIES What a great few hours we had yesterday morning meeting the latest additions to the West Wicklow Foxhounds. I brought along my nieces Katherine and Emily so they could see how a hunt kennel is run, and meet the residents. On top of that they ended up feeding the pigs, and got a great laugh out of that!

The latest puppies to join the team are now eight weeks old and weaned, but still hanging out with their mum Saintly, who has now been retired and will spend her days in a new home. They are by the Tipperary Foxhounds' good stud dog Tipperary Captain.
We managed to catch up with them before they headed off to be walked for the summer. Such a gorgeous bunch of pups they are and their fosterers are going to have great fun with them.
We also met the older hounds who are still enjoying their holidays and will be back on road exercise in another few weeks. Hunting comes around very quickly in the end, so roll on November!


  Saintly and her brood of eight

  Katherine with a puppy

  Huntsman Rupert Macauley walks the pack with Emily and Katherine



  Emily with her favourite puppy

]]> (SIOBHAN ENGLISH PHOTOGRAPHY) Mon, 05 May 2014 12:20:52 GMT

What a dog! My latest model, Drico. Almost as cute as the real one, but not so sure how this lad is with a ball!

]]> (SIOBHAN ENGLISH PHOTOGRAPHY) dogs Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:54:01 GMT