Riders brave freak weather and demanding conditions at this year’s Golden Horseshoe endurance ride

An epic Hilton Herbs Golden Horseshoe saw riders brave some of the worst conditions seen during the event’s 37-year history.

Gale-force winds, driving rain that turned to hail and sleet, drifting fog and deep, boggy going conspired to test the limits of mental character and physical toughness.

In the FEI three-star race ride there were no successful completions from a field including the Malaysian rider Dato Kamaruddin, the current world points champion.

Just two riders crossed the finish line; Hilton Herbs team rider Claude Flaurie Deriaz of France with Floyd and Tricia Hirst on the diminutive Rohey Avagline. Sadly, both were out of time, despite the minimum speed having been cut by ground jury president John Robertson from 11kph to 10kph before the start of the ride.

Only two other riders got within sight of home – Endurance GB president John Hudson with Tigre and Dato Kamaruddin on Gusty, who both pulled out at the penultimate vetgate out of consideration for their horses.

John Hudson a veteran of six Horseshoes, said: “It was the most challenging Horseshoe I have done. 1996 was bad, but this was something else. Tigre gave me a really fantastic ride and went very well, but the weather beat us really.”

Dato Kamarrudin, whose Gusty came first at Montcuq last year, added: “It was just too much for my horse. The route was so mushy that it was too taxing. I brought a good horse because I wanted to see just how good he was, but I got the logistics wrong. We arrived too late on the Friday before the competition and because of FMD we couldn’t bring our own hay, but Gusty wouldn’t eat the local feed.”

Visit www.goldenhorseshoe.co.uk

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