Friday, September 17, 2010

Great Britain: Endurance riders race in all weathers on Dartmoor

September 17 2010

Drizzling rain soon turned to bright sunshine in typical Dartmoor fashion for the Brentor Endurance ride.

With the sun shining and the scent of heather in bloom, this was a wonderful day for riding on the moor and 80 horses and riders turned out to enjoy themselves.

Endurance rides on Dartmoor have always been popular as the scenery is magnificent and the going is challenging. This year's route, put together by Jo Chisholm and Katherine Letherby followed the lanes and bridleways from the venue to the moor below Gibbet Hill. From here it crossed the A386 and ran north to Sourton Tor and Prewley, with different routes and loops for the different classes.

Ride organiser Janet Lander said: "Two local landowners, Roger Cole and Brian Lavis, very generously let our competitors ride across their land and, thanks to the volunteer helpers, almost all the gates were manned."

The longest two classes of 80 km (50 miles) and 66 km (40 miles) had a vetgate and hold (compulsory rest for the horses) on the track going up to Willsworthy rifle ranges. This meant that the competitors could stay out on the moor for most of the day and not return to the venue until the end of the ride. Two of the four vets, who were on duty at the ride, went out to check the horses at the vetgate, while the others stayed at the venue to do the final vetting.

Among the riders was Janet Watts, 67, of Totnes, who was riding with Rebecca Townsend from Bere Ferrers. This was Janet's first endurance ride since she had a bad accident out hacking four-and-a-half years ago...

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