More than 140 horses and riders will set out to take part in the world-famous Golden Horseshoe Ride on Exmoor this weekend.
The ride attracts Endurance GB competitors of all levels across a range of classes ranging from 24km to 160km (100 miles) over the three days.
This year, five riders will take on the greatest challenge – The Golden Horseshoe Ride itself – which covers the full 100 miles in two days.
The five include three west country-based riders, David Yeoman from Somerset riding Eaunoire Cassie, Gillian Mann from Exeter with HS Parnasse and Kirsty Wiscombe from Dorset riding Yawl Hill Maverick.
Travelling from further afield are Gillian Talbot from Chepstow with Sa'da Sekora and Sue Cox from Cambridgeshire with Eden El Nyhl.
It is the oldest long-distance Endurance GB ride in the UK and is widely regarded as one of the most challenging in Europe. Starting from the ride venue in Exford, the 100 mile route includes several well-known Exmoor landmarks.
Exmoor Stag class
Five riders will tackle the Exmoor Stag class, which takes competitors over 120km (74.5 miles) in two days.
Again the West Country is well represented by three riders, Karen Jones from Cullompton with Treasured Moonbeam, Amanda Tovey from Bristol with Diving Belle and Carri-Ann Dark from Wiltshire with HS Drift.
Also lining up in the Exmoor Stag class are Sue Box from Usk with Kazeme El Mystral and Kathy Carr from Leicestershire with Aberllwyd Femme Fatalle.
The most popular class over the weekend is the 24km pleasure ride with nearly 50 entries. Horses have to pass stringent vet checks before starting as well as veterinary inspections during the ride to ensure they are fit to continue.
Ride organiser Jo Chisholm, who runs the ride with husband Andrew along with an army of Endurance GB volunteers said: “We are pleased with the level of entries and both the weather and ground conditions look set to provide the ideal conditions for tackling this spectacular course.”
Rebecca Kinnarney, chair of Endurance GB said: “The Golden Horseshoe and Exmoor Stag classes are two of the greatest classes in the Endurance GB calendar, the pinnacle of achievement in our sport. We wish everyone taking part every success but more importantly, a thoroughly enjoyable weekend.”
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