When Your Horse Magazine’s Hack 1000 Miles ambassador, Joanna Holland, bought her mare Summer Breeze three years ago, the mare was prone to napping, bucking and rearing when ridden, which knocked Joanna’s confidence.
But as they worked towards their goal of hacking 1000 miles, they overcame that behaviour.
Earlier this month, they felt ready to complete their first Endurance GB ride.
Here, Joanna tells us about her day…
"On Sunday 6 May 2018, Summer and I attempted our first Endurance GB pleasure ride at Cerne Giant in Dorset. Endurance riding is something I’ve always wanted to do, but I never thought we would be able to due to Summer’s tricky behaviour.
Starting Your Horse Magazine’s #Hack1000miles challenge back in 2017 has not only strengthened our bond, but it’s also worked wonders on mine and Summer’s confidence.
I can’t put into words how excited I was before the day. We set off very early with 30 minutes to spare for loading. To my surprise, Summer only took five minutes to load and she travelled like an angel next to her training buddy, Ozzi, who is an amazing endurance horse.
Summer has never been anywhere with so many cars and trailers parked next to each other before so she was very excited when we arrived — especially as there were so many horses around. She soon settled and started grazing.
We did some in-hand walk and halt practice before heading off to see the farrier and then the vet at our first trot-up. Of course, Summer being Summer means she had to show off a little bit and, after trotting nicely one way, she turned and threw a hissy fit, trotting in circles around me.
The vets gave us a pass as she kindly showed them what amazing movement she has.
Next I collect my number bib and soon Summer and Ozzi, with my good friend Charlotte Robinson, are away!
We set off slowly, allowing faster riders to overtake us, as Summer still feels excitable. She soon settles and follows her lovely friend in a nice pace.
The views are breathtaking. We have a little unplanned stop, when Summer and I part ways after she spooks at some bluebells hiding in the bushes.
I get straight back on and we continue. Our crew — my husband and Charlotte’s mum — meets us at the half way point, a pit stop, to cool down and hydrate the horses (and riders!).
On our way back we’re joined by another endurance rider. It’s lovely to see how much my mare loves being out. I’ve finally found something we both enjoy.
She doesn’t mind all the horses passing us and going in different directions. She doesn’t even mind someone new joining us.
We finish and prepare for the final vet check, which Summer passes. This time she shows them how relaxed she is by rolling four times. Ozzi feels the need to do the same.
I must thank the organisers for such an amazing experience and warm welcome to a newbie.
Special thanks also to my friend and inspiration Charlotte for taking the time out of her busy endurance schedule to ride with me and give me all the confidence I need for the future.
Plus our support crew, who did a fantastic job of keeping us and our horses well hydrated.
My next ride is booked in for June and this time it’s 22km. I can’t wait!
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