Organisers of the Griffin NuuMed Golden Horseshoe endurance ride, which is to return to its traditional venue of Exford next May, this week submitted plans of the proposed route to Exmoor National Park Authority.
Problems with access, space and traffic in the tiny Exmoor village have dogged the calendar’s most renowned ride, which was controversially moved to nearby Dunster in 2003 pending changes at Exford.
However, organisers are satisfied that the Exford venue now meets health and safety requirements — largely thanks to one landowner, Chris Kirby, allowing access across his land, overcoming the problems of horses, traffic and pedestrians all using the same route.
Liz Hinings, chairman of the Wessex Group, which has taken over organisation of the ride, says: “Fortunately we’ve been able to address most of the issues, and the villagers are pleased to have the event back in Exford.”
The 160km class had suffered falling entries and few completions in the past few years, but Liz anticipates the improved route and venue will attract people back.
She continues: “It can be difficult to find good going now on Exmoor, but local riders Anne Newton and Chris Smythe — who know the moor well — have devised the new route, and we’re hoping it will be more achievable, yet challenging.”
Endurance GB chairman Wendy Dunham says: “Riders are thrilled that the Golden Horseshoe is back in Exford. We tried moving it away, but as long as we are welcomed by the village, Exford is the ride’s home.”