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GOLDEN HORSESHOE RIDE MAY 20-22ND 2022 by Jo Chisholm
The Golden Horseshoe Ride has been a large part of my life over that last 25 years – from competing in many of the different classes from the 2-day 80km to the ultimate endurance test of the 2 day 160k class, and to being part of the organisational team from 2017 to 2022, this being our final year. However, next year the mantle is being handed over to a new team headed up by Shelly Bates and Maggie Pattinson. We are very pleased that someone has stepped up to take on this iconic ride as it is a part of the history of endurance in this county, and indeed is amongst the few endurance rides globally that many in the equestrian world have heard of.
This year, sadly, there were no entries in the top class of the 160km/2-day Golden Horseshoe and only three in the Exmoor Stag 120 km/2 day and two in the Exmoor Fox class 80km/1 day. The main entries were spread over the more popular Exmoor Hind class 80km/2 day and the single day 40 km and 24k classes. The lower-than-normal numbers are probably due to various factors taking their toll – the last two years have meant that many riders have not kept their horses up to full competition fitness and also the cost of fuel may restrict many to local rides rather than travelling further afield. It was clearly demonstrated that Exmoor demands the fittest and best prepared horses and riders, with the ‘introductory’ novice classes seeing a higher attrition rate than the higher mileage classes, where more experienced combinations were competing. The conditions were just about perfect with Exmoor having had a reasonably quiet winter and so, apart from the usual areas that tend to stay spongy, the moorland still had plenty of grass cover with firm going and the tracks had not been washed out. The weather was also kind to us during the weekend with just the right amount of sunshine...
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