Record completions at Britain's Golden Horseshoe endurance ride


Rebecca Kinnarney (72) riding Seren Capella, the first horse to complete the 80km Exmoor Experience barefoot and win a gold award. Following closely are Sally Mellor and Halim El Shaklan.


Mary Hannah and Exmoor pony Kingsby Nutmeg in the Exmoor Experience Class at Tarr Steps.


Lusitano stallion Venturoso Repoula, ridden by Jenny Myerscough, achieved Silver in the Exmoor Experience.

May 15, 2009

Strong winds, sunshine and moderate temperatures gave almost perfect conditions for this year's Golden Horseshoe Ride over Exmoor - and it resulted in a record Gold tally of 20 over the four classes.

But in spite of some superb riding and on-course judgement, biggest cheer of the final day went to the diminutive Kingsby Nutmeg, the first Exmoor pony to take part in one of the competitive classes in the ride.

Owned and ridden by vet's receptionist Mary Hannah, from Brompton Regis, the pony finished the first day and 25 miles of the 50-mile Exmoor Experience class in Silver position and then completed the second day with a Bronze award, losing the one place on time only.

The 65 riders competing in the four classes - the 100-mile Golden Horseshoe, the 75-mile Exmoor Stag, 50-mile Exmoor Experience and one-day, 50-mile Exmoor 80 - netted a total of 20 Gold awards, 20 Silver and 10 Bronze.

Barbara Wigley, who heads the organising committee, said: "It really was one of the best rides yet.

"Exmoor is very tough and can be hard on both horses and riders, but each year we see an improvement and this time everyone was impressed with the way the horses responded to the demands made on them and their fitness and condition at the end."

In the 100-mile class, David Yeoman and Haszar were particular impressive, pressing ahead of the field for most of the day, closely followed by Lorna Hogg on De Marco and Carol Jones with Ptolemaeus.

First held in 1965 over 50 miles, the Golden Horseshoe was the first long-distance ride to take place in the United Kingdom. The classes offered in the event in recent years reflect the many changes to the sport of endurance riding since those days.

The awards are:
Gold - minimum speed of 12kph with no penalties
Silver - minimum speed of 10.5kph with no penalties
Bronze - minimum speed of 9.5kph with no penalties

Penalties can only be given for pulse, and only one can be given on each day.
Finishing pulse of 55 or below - no penalties
Finishing pulse of 56 - 64 one penalty
Finishing pulse 65 or above - elimination
Having a pulse penalty drops the final award by one - ie gold speed with one penalty drops to silver, etc. Bronze speed with one penalty drops to completion.
The level gained on day 1 is the highest level that can be awarded. If someone completes at silver speed on day 1, no matter how fast they go on day 2, silver is the highest award they can get.


Mary Korn and Dinmor Dougall, left, and Carol Jones and Ptolemaeus approaching Ice Cream stop on Porlock Hill on the 160km Golden Horseshoe ride.


David Yeoman and Haszar lead a group of riders on the 160km ride.