A COUPLE who met in the most unusual of circumstances have embarked on an adventure of a lifetime – they are travelling into the Wild Atlantic West on horseback.
Krystal Kelly, a 29-year-old woman from California, who has been obsessed with horses all her life, and 32-year-old Christian Vogler, a German automotive engineer, met while she was doing the Mongol Derby on horseback and he was doing the Mongol Rally by car.
It seemed like an unlikely pairing, but since then, they have worked together on YouTube documentaries for Equestrian Adventuresses, an online community established by Krystal for women who love horses and adventure.
It was while Bridget Sheeran, who lives in Ballinard in Baltimore, was googling ‘sole travel for women and how to stay safe’ that Krystal’s website popped up.
Emails were exchanged and in one of them Bridget suggested they should come to Ireland, and – in true synchronistic style – Krystal said she had the very same thought, the very same day.
Within three months, the couple had packed up their kit and caboodle and travelled with their horses, Lilly and Q, to stay with Bridget and her husband, Jim O’Donnell, in Baltimore. Bridget’s interest in horses is well known because she had become a vocal advocate for the need to create bridle ways throughout West Cork, similar to the walkways, blueways and greenways that are growing in popularity.
This week, the couple set off on a one-month, 600-mile journey that will take them all along the entire route of the Wild Atlantic Way. Krystal said September is an ideal month because the temperature is still mild, but one of the biggest advantages is that there is less tourist traffic and, on some of the region’s minor roads, that is a blessing, particularly for those on horseback. Along the route they hope to meet people who might accommodate them and provide access to a greenfield site for the horses.
Krystal’s passion for horses is evident and yes, she said, she has seen the endearing Irish movie Into the West. She said she watched the film at least once a year.
Christian’s interest in horses is more recent, but for a guy who was obsessed with motors, his description of his first gallop shows he is now a convert. In terms of speed, he said there really is nothing to compare to what it feels like to do 24mph on the back of a thoroughbred horse.
Krystal and Christian will be checking their messages at the end of each day at https://