On Sunday 5th September I attend the Badminton Endurance Ride which was only a few miles up the road from where my competition horses are in livery. I had entered my advanced horse Blue Chip Maarhabi into the 65km class and was looking forward to riding some new parts of countryside adjacent to where I train the horses because we’ve only been in this area since February. Unfortunately the weather was not like the day before and as my boyfriend Adam and friend Jane pulled into the venue field the heavens opened and out came our rain coats! My friend and fellow sponsored rider Jayme Bone pulled up in her trailer behind mine with her boyfriend who is also called Adam and her sister Mel. Jayme was riding her young grey Arab mare Dora who she was in the process of upgrading from Open to Advanced. Our horses had ridden part of the Barbury Castle route together in August so we knew they were well matched on pace so we decided to take on the 65km together. It was lovely to ride with Jayme because we’ve known each other since our early teens, ridden on the Young rider’s squad together at European Championships with Kruga and Silver Mistrahl in the late 1990’s and now in our early 30’s we are still going strong and hopefully producing future Team GBR horses.
The first loop was very soggy and unfortunately a few complicated routes and loops saw Jayme and I ride part of a loop near Sherston 3km in the wrong direction before we back tracked and re-rode the loop in the right direction!
Thankfully the second part of the course was better going and took us near to my yard and the Badminton Estate. We enjoyed long periods on cantering next to the stubble fields and even saw a few deer! Then unfortunately for me Maarhabi tripped and then slid on a soft bridle track only 5km before the finish. It all happened very quickly. One minute I was enjoying his long striding trot and the next minute I was looking at his ears and the floor and wondering if I was coming off or not! Thankfully he only endured a scuffed knee due to the soft landing at the time but by the time we presented to the vet he had stiffened up and was eliminated for lameness despite having an amazingly low pulse of 41 beats per minute within a few minutes of arriving back at the venue. Thankfully for Jayme Dora passed her qualifier and now has to complete an 80km ride to upgrade to Advanced. Maarhabi will finish his season at the Camelford ride in Cornwall this weekend (26th September) by riding a 32km ride to hopefully complete his great 2010 season on a high note – fingers crossed!