Get set for The Golden Horseshoe
By Larissa Chapman
02 April 2012 17:16
The Exmoor Golden Horseshoe Ride, the UK’s biggest and most demanding endurance ride, will take place on May 13 – 15.
The Ride, with four competitive classes, is held over the challenging Exmoor terrain, classed as among the most challenging tests on the endurance calendar and attracts riders from all over the country, and sometimes from Europe.
This year’s classes include:
· The Wessex Horseshoe sponsored pleasure ride – (approximately 15 miles)
· The Exmoor Experience – 80km over two days
· The Exmoor Eighty – 80km in one day
· The Exmoor Stag – 120km over two days, split 80/40
· The Exmoor Golden Horseshoe – 160km over two days, split 80/80.
Ride organiser, Barbara Wigley, says: “With London hosting this year’s Olympics, there’s a real buzz in the equestrian world at the moment and this year’s Golden Horseshoe is set to be as popular and exciting as ever.
“Exmoor takes a long time to dry out after the winter, but at the moment the ground is good. I do, however, hope that riders have remembered to include plenty of hillwork in their training because the 2012 route includes Exmoor’s famous – but very steep – Punchbowl in the competitive classes!”
This year’s event has a special prize up for grabs, too. Equine physiotherapist, Mary Bromiley, is offering £100 to the first rider on an Exmoor pony to complete 50 miles in one day.
“I know they can do it,” says Mary. “At the first Golden Horseshoe Ride in 1965, a number of Exmoor ponies completed the 50-mile linear course and then hacked home at the end of the day.” The winner will also receive a permanent trophy, courtesy of the Ride’s organising committee.
Last year, top event rider Mary King completed the first day of the Exmoor Experience on board an Arab gelding called Mellow Jazz. “It was an honour to be invited to take part and Jazz gave me a wonderful ride. While I wasn’t disappointed to see the finish line, the whole experience was thoroughly enjoyable and everyone was so friendly,” she recalls.
For more information about this year’s Golden Horseshoe Ride, visit www.goldenhorseshoe-ride.co.uk