The future of Britain’s most famous endurance ride has been secured thanks to the appointment of a new event organiser, but the ride will not go ahead this year.
Exmoor’s Golden Horseshoe celebrated its 50th anniversary last year (17-19 May), but the continuation of the event hung in the balance after its long-serving committee chose to step down.
The committee, headed by Barbara Wigley, was struggling to find a replacement team.
However, Mrs Wigley confirmed to H&H that a new organiser had stepped in and the ride is expected to continue in 2017.
“It’s not running this year, but we think it will run next year,” Mrs Wigley told H&H.
“I’m really pleased — it is a nice feeling. The person who is taking it on is getting a new committee together.”
Mrs Wigley said she will be able to confirm the name of the new organiser and further information on the future of the ride in March.
“It’s a huge job to take on if you’re not already involved in it,” she added.
“I will still be doing the routes for the ride.”
Last March, Mrs Wigley cited rising costs, fundraising and spiralling paperwork and health and safety demands as reasons for stepping down as organiser.
She has been involved in the ride for more than 30 years and running it since 2007.
“All of us have decided to stop after the 50th anniversary, but we are hoping that someone will take it on,” she said at the time.
Finding its home in Exmoor
The first Golden Horseshoe ride was run on Exmoor in 1965 by the British Horse Society. Promoted by Col. Mike Ansell and poet Ronald Duncan, the first ride was so popular that entries closed a month early as they had reached the 110 combination limit.
The linear route began at Malsmead and finished in Welcombe, Devon, and riders had to find their own way.
At the finish, welfare campaigner Glenda Spooner and jockey John Oaksey checked the horses and the riders who completed at 6mph and above were all given a golden horseshoe.
The event moved each year until 1974, when it became permanently based on Exmoor.