Long winter affects Golden Horseshoe endurance ride

May 20, 2010

Britain's long winter hit entries in this year's Golden Horseshoe Ride over Exmoor, resulting in no gold awards being achieved in the longer rides.


Jill Semmens and Evermore Exciting were awarded bronze in the 160km ride.


Lucy Higginson and Mellow Jazz, left, and Karen Jones and Dancing Ruzala, both achieved gold in the 40km media event. © David Saunders

Entries were down because riders were unable to bring horses to peak fitness in time for the event earlier this week.

There were three silver awards and two bronze in the 160km (100 miles) but no gold awards. And the same applied to the Exmoor Eighty, a one-day ride of 80km (50 miles), where there were three silver and three bronze awards.

But in the strongly-supported Exmoor Experience, a ride of 40km (25 miles) on successive days, ten riders went home with the coveted gold medals, eight with silver and 11 with bronze.

"The courses, as always on Exmoor, were tough, but it wasn't that which hit the results," said Barbara Wigley, who heads the organising committee.

"The long winter had hit the training routines and the riders were just not able to ask for that little extra which is necessary to achieve a gold standard.

"But we are thrilled with the Exmoor Experience class. It was introduced to give riders a taste of two-day competitive rides over our terrain, and the number of entries proves that it is working. We hope that in coming years this will be reflected in entries for the feature ride, the 160km of the Golden Horseshoe."

Katy Mellor, who celebrated her 12th birthday on the first day of the Exmoor Experience and rode both days on her pony, Angelina Ginny, and alongside her mother, Sally, was overjoyed to go home with a silver medal.

The special class, for editors of national equestrian magazines and websites, showed up the keen competition amongst the media. Run over the 40kmscourse, and with no concessions at all, Nicky Moffatt (Horse and Rider), Lucy Higginson (Horse and Hound) and Fiona Price (Horse Hero website) achieved gold standard, with Nicky also taking the best condition award, and Lisa Reich (Horse Magazine) achieved silver as well as the handling and presentation award.


Tricia Hirst and Vlacq Diamond Sparkle achieved gold in the 80km Exmoor Experience.

Annette Berry riding Erlina in the Pleasure Ride
© David Saunders