Mary Chowne and her pure-bred Arab mare Lumahla Gold achieved gold and took the Golden Horseshoe premier award in the famous ride’s 160km class — the toughest endurance ride in England.
The Griffin NuuMed Golden Horseshoe Ride is Endurance GB’s flagship event and this year the feature class attracted a strong field of 21 to its traditional home of Exford in the heart of Exmoor hunting country.
There were nine finishers, with three riders collecting gold, three taking silver and one taking bronze, plus two special completion awards. The other golds went to Chris Yeoman and her experienced Eleazar De Landas and Liz Cooper with her home-bred part-bred mare Song Of Fire.
Two special completion awards were given to Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen and his brother, Robert, who are more usually associated with racing and hunting rather than endurance. The brothers undertook the 160km ride as part of their fund-raising efforts to build a new childrens’ ward at the Oxford Childrens’ Hospital in memory of Robert’s son Thomas who died of cancer last year. They used their hunters and took “second horses” every 40km, looked after by experienced crew provided by EGB. So far, they have raised more than £400,000 for the appeal.
This years’ route was very similar to the highly acclaimed 2004 course. Unfortunately, four days of heavy, squally showers in the run up to the event made the going very slippery and resulted in several falls that put horses out with minor muscle strains. It also created a tricky boggy patch near the river crossing at Lanacre that required some very careful riding on the second day, when high winds taxed riders and horses alike.