Endurance qualifier – 22nd April – Report

Well done to the ECCTG Endurance team and thank you to Jean Spearing for this write-up of their trip to Ulnes Walton.

Soli needed a new job. She had done dressage with me and eventing with Sarah and she had done her best for us. She was demoted to checking sheep and plodding round our lanes while more serious work was being put into young Tyler. While sheperding is a very noble occupation for a horse it does not stir the blood, except when you get the odd maverick sheep that needs rounding up.
I was considering what new job she could do when Pat Guerin suggested to me that I might like to do endurance with her. “What a good idea!” A 20 mile ride was selected for the first one of the season. The team consisted of chef d’equipe  Pat, Sue Williams, Jane Wyatt and myself. The Ulnes Walton Wander evoked thoughts of a gentle, relaxing saunter round the lanes of Lancashire. So I set out with the team for what I thought would be a scenic hack but maybe a little bit faster. Oh My Goodness! Pat and her in built speedometer set the pace. Sue and Jane close behind. Soli bringing up the rear, shocked at the relentless pace but determined to keep up. There were mainly tracks and fields with a little bit of road. Barefoot Soli utilised every grass verge, some with drainage ditches three meters deep at the side. Jane nearly vanished into one when Sara shied. It was very exciting. We were so fast, our ground crew Ken Wyatt and Sarah Spearing missed the first two checkpoints. They caught up with us at the third and the horses had beet pulp flavoured water . Plus water for us. Then off we set again and nearly took a wrong turn when a parked car was partially  covering one of the orange arrows. At the end, heart rates and soundness are checked again and to our delight we all passed the vet. After we had settled the horses down ready for the journey home we had much needed sustenance ourselves. We had all completed with a grade one and averaged 11.5 miles per hour and have qualified to ride at Builth Wells in the autumn. Amazing! Can’t wait for the next ride. Thank you Pat for the introduction to Endurance Riding, to Sue and Jane and to Ken and Sarah.

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