Rachael Claridge Update

Wow what a mixed few days of weather we have had in the South West, and presumably across the rest of the country too? On Saturday Leah and I took Mel & Charlie cubbing at 7am with the Beaufort Hunt. It was an amazing sunrise as the early morning mist hung over Badminton Estate and slowly rose as the 80+ field rode off from Manor Farm, Alderton. However, Sunday was a completely different tale – drizzle greeted my crew and I as we drove through Bath and onto our destination of Stourhead Estate near the A303. After the vet check, Charlie and I commenced the 68km route and the heavens opened, with the wind quickly building up. Alfred’s Tower is usually a beautiful area with breathtaking views, however the rain was at times horizontal and relentless. I was soaked to my underwear within minutes! Two 34 loops and riding in wet clothing is not really my idea of fun! Adam and Jane remained in the crew car until the final seconds of me riding up to them at crew points to avoid being drenched themselves, and the Labradors refused to get out of the back of my pickup! Charlie, despite looking like a drowned rat, forged on and we continued onto the second loop whereas others retired. My crew did joke and said that if I was to retire they would back me, however they suspected because of my background I wouldn’t and true to form we continued. That said, the endurance rider in my horse and I quickly navigated the course, which was quite challenging in areas and returned home in just under 13.5kmph with a heart rate of 50bpm. I could have reduced his heart rate further due to it being a graded ride, but didn’t want to risk Charlie getting cold and he had already expressed his interest in his trailer upon our return the second time! That said, we did gain a grade 2 for our efforts for which I am very pleased with. The training has set us both in good stead for Red Dragon next month where we hope to complete an 82km ER.

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