Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Scotland: Neigh bother representing Scotland at horse riding

Forres Gazette

(photo: Preparing to represent Scotland at a national event being held in Swindon are endurance riders from left: Sarah Norris, Diane Michie and Tilly Hepburn-Wright, with their horses: Maddi, Disco and Tenba. The picture was taken by Diane's husband, George Michie.)

By Tanya McLaren
Published: 18 July, 2007

A LOCAL woman is saddling up for a horseback challenge which will she her representing her country in a British event against English, Welsh, Irish and other Scottish riders.

Diane Michie, who runs the Hardmuir Livery Yard just outside Brodie, and her horse Disco, are hoping to do well at the 100-mile endurance riding competition taking place in Swindon during August.

“I am really looking forward to it,” she said. “We were competing last weekend in the Highland Fling competition and Disco did 75 miles in one day. At the Swindon event we will be doing the one hundred miles over two days.”

Diane, who is a member of the Highland branch of the Scottish Endurance Riding Club, is not going to the competition alone as she has been selected to do the challenge along with her club mate, Sarah Norris.

Sarah’s eleven year old daughter, Cawdor Primary School pupil, Tilly Hepburn Wright has also been selected to ride a shorter distance in the junior event.

While Sarah’s horse is a Highland Cross Anglo Arab, Tilly and her mum and daughter are taking their horses, Southolme Blossom and Tenba, which are fell ponies - traditionally quite hardy and native to Britain.

“It is very unusual that three people from Highland have been picked to represent Scotland to start with,” said Diane.

“It is even more unusual that they are not taking Arab horses which usually compete at endurance.”

Her friend, Mandeigh Wells, who keeps her own horses at the Hardmuir yard, said Diane had done extremely well to be selected.

“She’s not good at blowing her own trumpet,” she said, “but it is a major achievement. Its not everyday you get to represent your country in a major competition.”

Diane said she thought she and Sarah, who will be working as a team, stood as good a chance of finishing the event as any of the other competitors. Both are experienced endurance riders and last year Disco came second in the 100 miles, after originally setting out for the 75 miles.

The event is being held over the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, August 10 and 11.

There are several watering and sloshing points along the way where Diane’s husband George will be the one man crew making sure that horses and riders are fed and watered, before continuing onto the next stage.

Also taking part from Scotland are riders from the Grampian and Tayside branches of the Scottish Endurance Riding Club.

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