Jul 10 2009 by Alison Anderson, Perthshire Advertiser Friday
PERTH Racecourse was the venue recently for the two-day Scottish Endurance Riding Championships, with the flagship event, the two-day 160km endurance, going to Irish rider Helen McFarland on J St Jake with a speed of just over 14kph.
Endurance rides are run as race rides, with a mass start, timed vet gates and first past the post and passing the stringent vetting the winner.
As well as the longer endurance ride classes, it was a weekend festival of endurance, with supporting classes including pleasure rides and timed competitive rides, where gradings are awarded on the basis of heart rate and speed.
Around 150 horses and their riders, of all shapes, sizes and breeds, enjoyed the weekend, with an opportunity to enjoy a historic and varied route as well as watch some of the top endurance horses in Scotland in action and pick up some tips.
Belfast-based lawyer Helen and Jake finished comfortably ahead of the field in the two-day 160km while, in contrast, there was a flat out race to the line in the 80km endurance ride.
All riders in the 80km class made an error on course, so the pressure was on to make up time and speed. Four combinations battled it out to the line with Dumfries rider Nikki Todhunter snatching victory on her 17-year-old part bred Arab mare Fayre Savanna.[More ...]