by Vanessa Lunt

The club was invited to Jo Bryant's home and stables at Trebudannon to hear about endurance riding, as hosted by Rachel Farley-Claridge with vet Ruth Varcoe. The evening on Thursday, March 3 started in jovial mood with my car pool guests, Sian Harris and Sally Keat: we decided to bring wine!

On arriving at the host’s beautiful home we were met by lots of friendly faces in her barn, not to mention the fantastic Steve Heard and Chris Brewer BBQing delicious bacon baps for the team.

Rachel started the talk about Endurance riding.  She showed us some of the kit we could get. Synthetic tack is useful as it’s easier to wash, but not essential. Rachel suggested investing in a saddle bag to keep your map and hand book safe as well as a drink and snack for the rider as so many riders forget about their own wellbeing and become dehydrated. Also recommended was a stethoscope and heart rate monitor. Ensuring the horse kept hydrated was paramount advice from both Rachel and Ruth. Sugar beet water or a syringe to administer water to your mount, as well as carrying an empty plastic bottle to fill with water at checkpoints to pour over them.

Next up was Ruth, senior vet for Endurance GB.  She took the team through what to expect at the vet and farrier checks and nothing to be scared of. Ruth also talked about safeguarding your horse from azoturia or ‘tie-up’. Next, Jo and her horse stepped up to be demonstration models and she trotted up her lovely coloured mare, then Ruth took a heart rate. Jo’s Collie dog thought this looked like a great opportunity to boss round the mare so we secured him with a lead rope!!

I went to the talk because I’m so interested in taking Endurance up ‘properly’. Last summer I took, Meghan, my 18hh tb x Shire mare to over 5 different rides as a Pleasure Rider, over 16km:  I loved it and so did Meghan! Endurance GB if a fantastic institution. They do very thorough vaccination checks and are incredibly easy to speak to on the phone or contact over email.  Once you have your profile set up on The Clubhouse, it’s literally a couple of clicks to enter the next ride. I’m always quite nervous driving to these events with my precious cargo, wondering if I’ll get stuck if I make a wrong turn. No worries here though. Both signposting to the venue and once riding it’s incredibly well done and idiot proof. Parking and registration (where you receive a hi vis, numbered vest, emergency tags for both horse and rider) is seamless and on site catering delicious. 

I can’t recommend riding at Endurance GB events enough. It’s a fantastic opportunity to enjoy some beautiful rides with your best friends as well as giving your horse a fantastic work out, stimulating experience and most of all: Good Fun!!