Meet the 70-year-old from Inverness who cleaned up in this year’s Golden Horseshoe

  • A 70-year-old endurance specialist who won four awards, including the premier and top lady titles, at the famous Golden Horseshoe ride (21–22 May) has proved that age is no barrier if you have the right ingredients, including the right horse.

    Candy Cameron, who is a British Horse Society stage four coach, runs Loch Ness Riding in Inverness and she has been riding and training endurance horses since the 1980s. She first rode in the Golden Horseshoe, a 160 km endurance ride across Exmoor National Park, 35 years ago in 1988.

    In 2023, Candy’s horse Ell Daam (Al) also won the highly-regarded Best Condition award at the event, replicating the result of her former horse, White Trooper, who took home the Best Condition prize once during his career.

    Al, a 10-year-old pure-bred Arab, was brought over from France, as Candy explains: “This was his first attempt [at the Horseshoe] but he was brilliant. He’s the ultimate endurance horse. He doesn’t over do it at the start and he doesn’t try to race the others, which some horses often do. When you look at him you wouldn’t think he’s going to set the world alight, but he gets on with the job at hand. You need a horse who is going to cross the finish line, as in endurance to finish is to win!”

    The Golden Horseshoe is held over two days.

    “It can be an energy-sapping ride due to the weather and the rocky, stoney terrain, hard ground and deep heather we have to move across,” says Candy, who has also ridden from Windsor to Versailles, and in other rides across the world during her career.

    Candy Cameron drove from Inverness to Exmoor to compete in the Golden Horseshoe. She spreads the journey over two days, with regular breaks.

    “We stop over and turn the horses out so they can have a rest and a graze,” Candy says. “Training wise, I would usually take a horse on at least two rides of 60km or so in length ahead of the Horseshoe. I would space them out about three weeks apart. It’s not just about the fitness; a horse needs to get used to moving over the terrain. If you’re constantly riding them on surfaces, they won’t be able to cope with the twists and turns underfoot. I also advise riders to work on their schooling, incorporating lateral work so the horse becomes more supple and gets stronger.”

    When asked what makes her return to the iconic ride year after year, Candy says: “I love riding in beautiful places and enjoying the British countryside. We’re so lucky in endurance to be able to experience all the lovely terrain and stunning views on horseback.

    “Endurance is also a family sport. You often see generation after generation coming up through the levels. It’s something everyone can get involved in.

    “And of course, we love our horses. Their welfare is paramount.”

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