SERC Championships 2011

Date posted: 17th July 2011

Scottish Endurance Riding Club Championships at Scone, 16.07.2011
19k Pleasure Ride

We had a very wet start to our day at Scone yesterday, when we arrived at the racecourse the heavens seemed to open. All four horses and riders looked asthough we had been dunked in a barrel of water but because it was still a pretty warm day it didnt effect us too much. Our jackets had been soaked right through in the short time it took to have the horses vet checked and so two of us decided we would be better off without them, thankfully it didnt really rain much at all while we were out on our ride.

The team this time were; Oscar and me, my mum on Yvette, Kirsty riding Romy and latest addition to our group is Gemma who rode Silke. This was the best horse and rider group that we have had so far, all horses and riders were on top form regardless of the miserable weather. The route was really muddy, it doesnt take long for ground to become churned up by horse hooves on a wet day like that but was a good test for us all. Each of the horses we had were sure footed and keen to work, they enjoyed the ride as much as we did. Oscar was on a mission to get around the course as quickly as possible, saying hello to all of the horses which we passed on the way. We had to walk the last part so that we didnt get to the finish too quickly and we spent some time with the photographer, Robert Kilpartik while we were waiting to be able to get home at the correct time (maximum speed is 11kmph for pleasure rides and our time got us in at 10.96kmph). Robert took some pictures of us messing around in the water which cleaned a lot of the mud from the horses legs and bellies, a few people commented on how clean our horses looked when we returned home and this is why!

Oscar and I were pretty clean but the rest of the ride were a complete mess when we were going round, I looked back at one point and couldnt stop laughing at the state of them. Oscar had been kicking up a lot of mud, most of which had been covering poor Gemma and Silke who were closest to us and the other horses and riders were also coated in mud.

Covered in mud, rain, grit, puddle water, sweat and goodness knows what, every one of our horses were still keen to go, with ears pricked forward and ready for action at the end of the ride and the riders didnt complain once. It was a great fast ride and we all had a very good day.

Scone last year was our first pleasure ride ever, so was good to be back one year on and see the difference in Oscar, now that he knows what these rides are all about. Last year he took offence at the small ditches and didnt fancy crossing them, this year he didnt even think about them and just flew across before I had time to question what he was going to do. One thing is for certain and that is that these pleasure rides do the world of good for the horses, it gets them out seeing lots of different things and I think gives them more confidence, this in turn gives the rider more confidence in their horse. I take Oscar to every pleasure ride now, this is because he really enjoys going and he makes it a lot of fun for me. Although I love my job and enjoy working with and training horses who will be sold to other people, I see pleasure rides as being time to enjoy my own horse and am very lucky to have found a horse who is my perfect match. He seems to like doing the same things as I do and is quick to let me know when he isnt happy.
I am sure some horses will not like pleasure rides but all of my Friesians have been quite happy so far. Its funny to think that last year when preparing to do our first ride I was worried that it was too far for the horses but it seems to be like a walk in the park for them. A few of my riders havent been fit enough on occasion but the horses have all been fine. Longer distances may well be on the cards for next year!

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