Tuesday, January 18, 2005

WEC: British Endurance team settles well in Dubai

The riders and horses of the Senior World Endurance Championship British team are settling in well in Dubai after all but two flew out via Heathrow earlier this month, Beccy Broughton and Sarah Kellaway having been out there since late last year with their horses.

The team are staying in the purpose-built Endurance City, at the Bab Al Shams Hotel, designed and built in just thirteen months and only recently opened. The City, like Athens, has hundreds of men working 24/7 to finish the complex before the Championships, which take place on Thursday 27 January.

Rachael Claridge, Sarah Tyson, Katie Smith and Pam James stabled their horses overnight at the Chiltern Equine Clinic based in Chalfont St Giles, where the animals were examined by the team vet, Hugh Salmon, and equine osteopath Gavin Schofield, before going on to enjoy excellent hospitality at RAF Uxbridge the night before departure. All the horses travelled well during their seven hour flight, cared for by professional grooms supplied by Darley Transport.

Since arriving, both horses and riders have been working on fitness and acclimatisation, power-walking some 10-15km twice a day through the desert with riders also going swimming and using the hotel gym. Daily temperatures are between 20-25 degrees (C) with a few spots of rain and a deceptively dehydrating cool wind, so everyone is drinking plenty of water. Team officials Jo Chisholm and Hugh Salmon have also been working on their fitness for the big day.

The team riders have been able to experience vetting procedures under race ride conditions already as a 120km Nation Day Ride took place on Thursday (13 January). Sarah Kellaway had a young horse entered, ridden by Phil Hurst, and Beccy Broughton crewed for Anna Williams, daughter of FEI Head of Endurance & Reining, Ian.

For more information on how the team are progressing in Dubai, visit the Endurance GB website: www.endurancegb.co.uk and click on "Jo's Diary".


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