Riders are celebrating completions in Endurance GB’s Golden Horseshoe Ride on Exmoor, which after more than 50 years since it first began, remains one of the most challenging events in the sport’s calendar.

This year’s top successes came in the Exmoor Stag class which takes competitors over 120km (75 miles) in two days.

Silver success

There were silver awards for Devon-based Karen Jones with Treasured Moonbeam and Kathy Carr who had travelled from Leicestershire to take part with Aberllwyd Femme Fatalle. A third rider, Exeter’s Gillian Mann, earned a completion with HS Parnasse.

Cullompton-based Karen Jones and her 13yr old mare, Treasure Moonbeam, had success over the 160km in 2017 and so stepped down a distance to take on the 120km two-day class.

On top of her silver award, Karen collected the Exmoor Stag 75-mile Cup and the Exmoor Stag Award together with the Jill Calvert Cup for her crew.

Karen, who won the trophy for the leading rider to finish for the third time, said: “This little horse is amazing – we have differences of opinion sometimes about speed and direction but we get there. The course was tough, I got off at one point because the track was so steep and I could barely get down.”

Gillian Mann and HS Parnasse

Exeter-based Gillian Mann and her 13-year-old gelding HS Parnasse first attempted the 160km class in 2015 but were unfortunately unsuccessful. They went on, however, to successfully complete the one-day 80km class in 2018 so this year went one better in stepping up to a second day of competition.

Gillian said: “The ride went very well despite getting caught up on one of the many gates and my bit breaking. However, with the camaraderie of riders and help of mine and other riders’ crews we completed.

“For me this is true endurance riding. I love the challenge, the countryside and the views are just magnificent. You have to be able to read the ground, adjust your speed to the terrain and listen to your horse.”

Grantham-based Kathy Carr with Aberllwyd Femme Fatalle came to the ride with a strong record of success including a silver and bronze over the 160km class in 2018 and 2015. They have also enjoyed multiple successes at challenging rides including a notable 14th place at the European test-event in Brussels in 2016.

Kathy Carr with Aberllwyd Femme Fatalle

Kathy received a glut of silverware for her efforts on Exmoor including the Marcy Pavord Memorial Trophy, the Zayin Arabian Stud Award, the Esprit de Ferzon, the Dunlop Heywood Veteran Rider Award, the Saillard Fuller Silver Trophy the Exmoor Stag Fleur Award.

Kathy said: “That was a really tough one! It was definitely the most challenging Golden Horseshoe Route I’ve experienced. We just made Silver time on day two with one minute to spare. Paris never ceases to amaze me.”

Going for gold

A completion in the Golden Horseshoe is regarded as being on the ‘bucket list’ for most top level endurance riders, this year there were no completions in the weekend’s top class of 160km in two days.

However, there were nine completions in the two-day 80km Exmoor Hind class with first place for Craig Budden from Southampton with GL Gilded Lance, a second place for Karen Wendy Jones on Indian Princess and third place for Charlie Turley and Safiya.

One-day distances

Three riders enjoyed success in the one-day 80km Exmoor Fox class, Andrea Champ with Druimghigha Lantana earning first place, Sally McIlwaine and Winnie the Witch coming second and Antonia Milner-Matthews coming third with Clonmore Treasure.

A total of 15 riders successfully took on the one-day 40km with 33 completions in the novice class. Elizabeth Madell and Twosox collected the Golden Horseshoe Para Award for her grade four completion in the Exmoor Otter Cub 40km Novice class.

50 riders took part in the non-competitive pleasure ride, which gave grassroots endurance riders the chance to sample the Golden Horseshoe route over the stunning Exmoor National Park.

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