RDA horses complete epic Man v Horse challenge

  • A team from a city riding school has completed a tough challenge across the wild Welsh countryside.

    London-based Park Lane Stables took three riders and five runners to participate in the Man V Horse challenge on 9 June.

    All the horses are regularly used by the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), one of the riders is an RDA member and the runners all volunteer for the charity.

    “It was absolutely fantastic to have riding school ponies who do RDA work and are used in a Pony Club centre taking part — they have to do a bit of everything,” Park Lane Stables proprietor Natalie O’Rourke told H&H.

    “We wanted to have a go and were a bit apprehensive, but they did absolutely brilliantly.”

    Man V Horse

    Credit: EquinePix

    The challenge follows a 21-mile route over mountainous terrain.

    Natalie explained they the team members have been working hard to get themselves and the horses — Eddie, Dougie and Ruby — fit ahead of the event.

    “To prepare the horses, as it isn’t hilly around here in London, we had to box them up to find a hill and canter them up there a couple of days a week,” said Natalie.

    Riders focused on getting themselves riding fit and the runners also came out to train on foot alongside the horses in the Surrey Hills and Richmond Park.

    “It was a real team effort. The preparation has been really great fun as well and made us realise how amazing the horses are,” added Natalie.

    “It was just amazing — such an adventure and it made us feel like anything is achievable.”

    Man V Horse

    The horses all passed happily through the vet checks during and after the event, finishing sound and well.

    “We might have got the bug now for it,” she laughed.

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    The squad stayed on a nearby farm where the horses could also enjoy some grass and a stretch.

    Man V Horse

    The riders were Chris Nunn, who has only been riding for three years, Charlie Knox and RDA member Rebekah Morgan, who has autism.

    “For her it was a big thing as she was out of her comfort zone in a completely different area,” said Natalie.

    “We are super proud of her and Dougie really did her proud.”

    On the running team were Nina Bradburn, Victoria Smith, Rowena Dorling, Charlotte Smith and Natalie.

    A total of 650 runners and 60 riders took part in the annual race, which was won by Iola Evans and her horse Rheidol Petra.

    Yorkshire’s Owen Beilby was the first solo runner to cross the line.

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