In the summer of 2017 I decided I wanted to have a go at Endurance riding with Aurora. I spent the rest of the year reading everything I could about the sport and started to build Aurora’s fitness up. I made us members of EGB in January 2018, bought a trailer, took my test, set up the blog in February and we have never looked back!
Our first ever ride was a 21km pleasure ride at Wooten in Lincolnshire in March 2018, it was totally nerve racking, I had never done anything like this previously and only passed my trailer test a couple of months before, but off we went all on our own for the 2.5 hour trek to Lincolnshire! We had the most amazing time and although not a full vetting we passed the trot up and rode at a speed of 9.69kph, I was so happy with this for our first ride – I had the bug!
I decided to go straight into my novice season and start competing in Graded Endurance rides, so my second ride was a 32km GER at Croal Irwell near Bolton, we passed the vetting and gained a Grade 1, the best you can possibly get! We were over the moon!
Our next ride was at the Wirral, we decided to try a 40km and passed with a Grade 3 riding at 10.91kph, so increasing our speed a little from last time.
For our forth ride we headed all the way down to Cirencester in Gloucestershire, we had been offered a place as reserve for the North West team at the Inter-regionals, an offer I couldn’t refuse! It was a 4hr journey so we went the day before (on our own) and I camped the night in my trailer with Aurora in a corral. The camaraderie of the whole event let alone the whole team was just amazing and I think this was the event that secured my love and addiction of endurance. Sitting around with the team, eating, drinking and getting to know everybody was a great experience, but sitting and sleeping with your horse right next to you was awesome!! Initially I was a little scared being on my own and not knowing anyone but I needn’t have worried, everybody made me feel so welcome. Aurora was also well recognised through the blog at this point and people were shouting “that’s the no idea girl” as they rode past - which was rather amusing! We did the 40km ride at 12.39kph gaining a Grade 2, it was super-hot weekend and I was thrilled with our results. Our fastest ride yet and in very hot conditions.
In the August I travelled even further afield and headed down to Suffolk to compete at Euston Park, now this is THE endurance venue of the UK! Wow, what an eye opener this event was. On the Saturday there were people competing in FEI competitions from all over the world, it was a great experience and a real insight into the top level of endurance. Unfortunately it wasn’t our day and whilst we had the most amazing ride around an incredible course we were vetted out at the end on her gait. Aurora had felt the best she ever had out on course but our average speed was 13.87kph, maybe a little too fast a little too soon? She was fine later on and after having checks with her physio on our return she was deemed completely sound – just one of those things.
What a year we had, I never thought when I did my first 21km pleasure ride I would be competing at Euston Park a few months later!
In January 2018 we attended the Lancashire EGB awards night, we were just expecting to pick up our mileage rosette and to my complete surprise came away with a heap of awards including a 1st, three 2nds and a 5th!
My Facebook blog has been the absolute making of Aurora and I, we have had, and continue to have the best support from the endurance community and I can’t begin to tell you what a great supportive family they are! I have met so many people who I consider great friends and I couldn’t have done it without them.
I look forward to sharing our 2019 season later in the year!
Bye for now
Rach & Aurora x