A few weeks ago when Theresa delivered my feed, she said “Did
you know about the 10 mile Endurance GB Inaugural Ride at Swingfield,
Perhaps Eldor would like to go?”
I immediately spoke to Gill, who is Eldor’s rider in competition
this year. As neither horse nor rider had ever done endurance
before, they thought they would have a go. “Should be fun”
As she and Eldor had been doing regular workouts
throughout the winter fitness wasn’t a problem. We also decided
that, as the event was only 4 ½ miles from home that he should
hack there and back to avoid any over excitement as the trailer
means in hand showing. The organizers were very helpful when entering
and suggested that as he is a stallion we should put a red ribbon
in his tail to let other competitors know that he is an entire.
Sunday 17th February dawned dry
and very cold with little wind; we were lucky as the weather
during the previous week had not been very good. We
all, including husband to take the photos, friend for moral
support and non-horsey mother-in-law because she happened to
be visiting, arrived at the venue in plenty of time, checked
in and Gill and Eldor set off.
At the venue there were refreshments, toilets
and a photographer available. The route
consisted mainly of bridleways and by-ways, when you needed
to cross main roads there were stewards to see you across.
There were several places around the route that you could wait
for the horses; we went to meet Eldor about halfway round.
Eldor seemed to be settling into the ride and was thoroughly
We then returned to the venue to wait for
the riders to come home and have a very welcome cup of coffee.
Eldor arrived back in 1 hour 52 mins after
having had a few disagreements with Gill because he thought
he knew the route better than she did!
All horses that finished, and
they all did, received a commemorative plaque for their stables.
Horse and rider then hacked home, Gill to veg out in front
of the TV and Eldor said, “Can we go round again!” It was such
an enjoyable experience that we are going to do it again. This
time the Primrose Ride at Canterbury on 24Th March.
Although endurance is usually linked with the Arab, there were
horses and ponies of all types and sizes and they all completed
the course.. Everyone young and old were made very welcome.
You don’t need any special tack at this level; we went in a
snaffle bridle and a working hunter saddle. So why not have
Eldor is a predominantly Polish stallion, he has been placed
at both National and International shows. He is by the European
Champion Stallion ELDON, who was also a winner on the racetrack
in Poland. He is siring some excellent stock, some of which
may be for sale.
For more photos of the Folkstone Inaugural ride please visit
The View from above
by Gill McLoughlin
Working with horses is great but sometimes
it loses it’s sparkle, through no fault of the horse, I must
say, so it was a great to feel the excited nervous state again,
I was about to take Eldor, the stallion I had backed and introduced
into the world of hacking and schooling, into a new adventure,
that of the endurance ride.
I had a route plan and I knew he would be fit enough. What
I didn’t know was how he would react to the other horses. In
the early days our rides had been eventful with Eldor either
wanting to increase his stunning crop of children, determined
to pick his own broodmares, regardless of any obstacles that
may have been in his way, or making sure that the geldings were
firmly put in their place with a skilful display of boxing,
snorting and prancing if you were lucky!
The organizers however, had liaised with Anne,
his owner, and we were so pleased with how helpful Endurance
We decided to take Eldor by surprise because as a European
qualified show stallion he knows what a bath usually means!
I even hacked him there to avoid the “Where am I going “ excitement
that he usually gets when boxed. It would also take away some
of his exuberance. I needn’t have worried as the organizers
were true to their word and we were able to keep his away from
the other entrants, I was also able to choose, within reason,
when we set off. I could have gone in a group but chose to
go alone, this was a wise move as during the first few miles
we had some difficulties, but the route was well marked and
we were even warned on the route plan of deep mud, there were
no real surprises, even the pigs had been mentioned.
The route was safe, there were stewards to escort you across
the roads. So with Eldor now settled into a steady pace, I
thoroughly enjoyed the ride, I know Eldor did too!
I told myself off after the ride for worrying
but hey, without that, I wouldn’t have felt the nervous excitement
that reminds you of the real joy of horses and that is having