Sunday, April 26, 2015

Four-Star Eventer Hilda Donahue is Climbing the Ranks in Endurance - Full Article

By Leslie Threlkeld on Apr 11, 2015

Four-star event rider Hilda Donahue has her sights set on the World Equestrian Games, but not in eventing. Instead of galloping four miles over fences, she wants to trot 100 miles in the endurance competition.

Hilda got her start competing in endurance because her husband and sisters-in-law are avid endurance riders. She joined her family on her first ride one year ago and hasn’t looked back. In fact, she has finished in the top ten in all four FEI rides she’s completed so far and is currently fifth on the FEI World rankings.

“I took to it like a fish to water,” Hilda said. “I really became fascinated and, always wanting to learn more, I just became intrigued by how endurance people condition. I really believe that we can draw from these other sports.”
As an eventer, Hilda was short listed for the Irish World Equestrian Games team in 2002 and rode in the World Cup final at Pau the same year. She’s competed in all but two of the world’s four-star events (missing Luhm├╝hlen and Badminton), and is a familiar face in Area III, always sporting a sun hat and a friendly smile.

“I’m low on eventing horse power at the moment. I’ve been competing students’ horses and sales horses at lower levels,” Hilda said. “I’m just adding on. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a goal oriented overachiever. I got in to the sport [of endurance] due to family connection and fascination and the opportunity to learn more.”

So adding to her list of goals, which includes competing at Grand Prix dressage (she’s currently at Prix St. George) and completing the two four-stars missing from her eventing record, Hilda wants to ride at the prestigious 100-mile Tevis Cup this August and eventually qualify to ride for Ireland in endurance at the 2016 World Equestrian Games.

“I don’t feel too impressed with myself or too confident saying that. I need to have goals, and the only failure is not trying...”

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