SERC- Benachie

Date posted: 14th November 2011

Scottish Endurance Riding Club- Grampian branch- Benachie


Yesterday we rode on one of the most challenging pleasure rides so far. It was another long drive up to Benachie, travelling with Oscar and I were Gail and new horse Yke Joukje and her husband Andy who was our photographer and dog sitter for the day. Meeting us at the venue was Edward with Elle.


Generally on the forest rides we are able to get up a good speed as Oscar enjoys the forest tracks and I had planned to get around the route rather quickly. However, this ride was a bit of a shock to the system as we had to walk most of the way up the hill due to having to navigate our way through big boulders and jagged rocks whilst on a very steep climb, I thought to myself at this point that I may have been better taking a mountain goat up here rather than a horse! There were lots of tree roots to get across, ditches, boggy patches and low branches etc etc. There was one big ditch which had running water flowing through and a pond on the other side of it, this was far too scary for some of the horses (including ours) in the end we had to dismount and jump across ourselves and then the horses carefully joined us. A forest ride isn’t complete unless someone gets hit by branches and the rider to be almost knocked off his horse was Edward, I know that I shouldn’t laugh but it really was funny and poor Elle didn’t know what was going on, she must have thought she had a monkey clinging on to her back. Poor Gail had a bit of trouble trying to avoid rather large clods being thrown at her by Oscar’s hooves. I am pretty happy to stay in the lead so to avoid being whacked by branches and lumps of mud, I can just sit laughing at everyone else being tortured along the way!


As we had to stay very slow for most of the uphill climb, as soon as we reached the highest point and then headed back down hill we had to really let the horses move. These three horses put in so much effort and headed off in thier huge trots all of the way down the hill. Thank goodness that they do have such big strides in trot as we we didn’t have to canter down hill, the ground that we covered was amazing, they were so willing and got us all safely home in good time. I was sure that the heart rates would have been a bit higher because they had been working so hard but all three were low at the end of the ride. In fact Elle received a special rosette for best condition of the day!


I would say this particular ride would not be good for people who were trying pleasure rides for the first time as it may put them off doing another in the future and horses must be fit and sure footed! I would not have liked that one bit if we had a breed who were not sure footed as it was a bit nerve-wracking even with our guys. It was a true test of horse and rider and a real challenging endurance ride. I don’t think that I would do this one again purely because I felt it was too risky with the rocks etc that said I think that every one of our group finished that ride knowing they have a very, very good horse and we were able to see exactly what these horses are capable and willing to do for us.

Edward and Gail are both new to pleasure rides, having only done one previously and so for them to manage this particular ride was a great achievement, well done to you both.

I also have to say thank you very much to Andy for taking some fantastic pictures in order for us to remember the day.

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