The supreme accolade at the Griffin NuuMed Golden Horseshoe ride was won by two relative newcomers to the sport. Gold awards went to Sarah Thomas, 19, on Solomon’s Ikey and David Yeoman with Eleazar De Landas after a ride that produced the best completion rates for many years.

After completing the famous ride, the final veterinary inspection proved too much for Sarah Thomas, who wept throughout the entire procedure.

“This has been a very emotional ride for me,” she said. “I never realised 12kph would be so hard to achieve.”

It so nearly never happened for them. Overcome by exhaustion, Sarah had just about given up a few hundred metres from the finish, but loud encouragement from Phillip Hirst, son of international competitor and the Arab/Welsh Ikey’s owner Tricia and David Hirst, and the crowd on the line, motivated her to get going again. She finished spot on 12kph.

This effort proved worthwhile, as Ikey was awarded the Golden Horseshoe premier award for the horse who, in the opinion of the veterinary panel, is most capable of travelling a further 40km.

“It was fantastic. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” said David Yeoman, who’s planning a holiday for himself and the French part-Arab “EZ”. “Even the rain was a challenge.”

Both riders had experienced crews. David and EZ were supported by the horse’s owner, David’s sister-in-law and international rider Chris Yeoman, and his brother, John. Sarah had the Hirst family’s help.

“The Hirsts are kindly letting me ride him again at Cirencester in the FEI 120km young riders class,” said Sarah. “I’m hoping to qualify for the young rider squad.”

  • Read the full report from the Golden Horseshoe Ride in today’s Horse & Hound (1 June, ’06)
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