My year started off very well, I have to say, having got a Grade 1 after my first ride of the year (1st March) in the Forest of Dean’s March Hares ride. What could go wrong now?
The riding club team at the beginning of the season consisted of me on Dutch Adventure (Sasha), Izzie Hale on QuarryFarm Aries (Aries) & Elaine Baber on Akzent (Ace).We all went off to do the Tresham ride in S. Gloucestershire at the end of March. It was a good day when we started with the ground nice & forgiving. However, the heavens opened pretty much half way round and gave us, and our lovely horses and pony, a very serious soaking. I slid off of Sasha and landed in mud and had to trudge up a hill to get her back! After the vet inspection and whilst getting ready to head home we found that our box would need pulling out of the venue by a tractor borrowed from the Badminton Estate! Lovely - not our best ride. We did manage to get 2 Grade 3s and a Pass though, meaning that we were on the league score board at least.
We quickly moved on from that experience and booked our next outing at the Forest of Dean, Bluebell ride, on 26th April. Our memories of the last outing properly pushed to the back of our minds. This, in contrast, was a lovely ride with each of us attaining a Grade 2 – a much better result – we were pretty certain that our team had qualified for the Championship.
The Berkshire Downs ride, near Didcot, in May was meant to be attended by our team but it was full by the time I got round to entering so we had to give this one a miss. It was a shame as it is really local to us here in West Oxfordshire.
The Hanslope ride was our next event, at the beginning of August and, as Sasha was unavailable due to having damaged her check ligament, we were hoping to get another two rider combinations qualified should we get an invite to the Championships in September. Issy Searle on Ready Shreddy Go (Shreddie) unfortunately had an accident in the field and was unable to compete. Bryony Baxter on Borlando (Bambi) stepped in to the team with Izzie and Elaine. Our new combination did well getting a Grade 2 with Elaine and Izzie getting a Grade 2 & 3 this time. Another league table score and combination successfully qualified for the Championship.
Next on the agenda was the Barbury Castle ride at the end of August with the same team as for the Hanslope ride. Sadly, Bryony had to withdraw on the day as her horse Bambi was lame. Elaine and Izzie went on the ride and each gained Grade 2s.
The beginning of September came and I received the invite to send a team to the Championships in Leicestershire. This is the second year running that we have managed to achieve this. Elation was quite short lived though as, out of 4 horse & rider combinations we had one lame horse, one horse only just returning to work from lameness, one member unable to go to on the day leaving 1 rider combination – our junior member with her pocket rocket Aries. I therefore, with a heavy heart, had to turn down the opportunity for the WORC team to go to Leicestershire on 20th September.
Still, we have had a lovely year, even if we have only had a handful of rider combinations who have been able come out this year. It’s been good fitness training for Elaine’s horse for her eventing and a calming influence on my horse & Izzie’s pony.
As I was suffering from endurance withdrawal symptoms I took a friends young horse on a 20k (12mile) social ride. We started, and finished, at West Ilsley, going along the ridgeway, across farmland, through villages, beside the racing gallops and almost at the ride end, stopped at the pub for a beer. Lush. A
really nice horsey fix. I have missed my girlie (Sasha) this season but she’s back in work now enjoying life to the full!
I am looking for more rider combinations to have a go at riding around with us next year. It’s fun, the horses are in their element and the Endurance marshals/organisers are so helpful and the priority is for the horses/ponies to have jolly good safe rides. If anyone else wants to have a go then e-mail me and I will organise some training/taster rides for a group. I am based at the Uffington White Horse hill so the routes will be nice as well as being useful for horse fitness.
Roll on 2016!
Second team ride of the season, ‘Bluebell’ in the Forest of Dean - 28.04.15
Come on ladies & gents (that includes you junior members) let me have your BRC Team Endurance Event Declaration Form so that I can sort out a team or teams to attend rides throughout the year. No payment is required to register rider combinations as you only pay for the event/s that you attend.
Although there is an element of competition about it, it is a lot of fun. The horses really enjoy it and we get to see some beautiful countryside.
Don’t worry if you don’t think that your horse is ready; believe me, they love it and racing is NOT on the agenda (and they can have a well earned ‘holiday’ after it). If you feel that you are not quite sure about anything then e-mail me [email protected] or call me (outside of office hours please) on 07735 555448.
To the left are the dates for future competitions which are run in the South (ish) which you may be interested in.
I look forward to riding with you soon! For more information do take a look at EGB's website -