February 20, 2008


Reporter Adam Henson tries Windsor for size.

A reporter with Britain's BBC is to ride in a division of the Golden Horseshoe Ride, the country's most well-known and toughest endurance riding event.

Reporter Adam Henson is planning to ride in the The Exmoor Experience class, which is 80km (50 miles) over two days, 25 miles on each day.

Henson, who is with the Countryfile programme, went to Exmoor last week to meet his horse, the welsh cob Windsor, owned by Lucy Allison. The Countryfile show plans to show Henson's training progress before the ride, which is from May 11 to 13.

Run over demanding Exmoor terrain, the Golden Horseshow has been part of the equestrian calendar since 1974. This year, there will be four classes:

Organiser Barbara Wigley said the ride was being moved west to take in some new country which hasn't been used for some years. "But it is still challenging," she said.

The new route includes open moorland, steep climbs and descents, river crossings, and deep wooded combes and will take in Winsford Hill, Withypool Common, Horsen Hill, Pickedstones, parts of the Tarka Trail, Cheriton Ridge, part of the Doone Valley, Robbers Bridge, Porlock Common and Wilmersham Common. The halfway halt will be at Honeymead, on land owned by Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen.

Sir Stephen and his brother, Robert, have been given special dispensation by the sport's governing body, Endurance GB, to ride the 100-mile route in aid of one of their favourite local charities.

"Classes over the lesser distances will follow some of the 100-mile route," said Mrs Wigley. "But we can assure riders that the challenge in all four classes is not diminished in any way - it will still be a feather in the cap of anyone who achieves Gold, Silver or Bronze." The sponsored ride will offer two routes, 10 miles in aid of the Moorland Mousie Trust and 16 miles, where proceeds will be donated to the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.