Friday, January 15, 2010

New Zealand: Iron horse, iron rider

Ruralliving.co.nz - Full Article

Friday, 15 January 2010
By Crispin Caldicott

The infamous ironman contest sounds to be at the extremes of human endurance, but it is probably good training if you are an endurance rider about to set out for a 100 mile saunter through the night on horseback.

Rural Living spoke to Wendy Farnell, who with her husband John spent ten years abroad training horses for this very exacting equestrian discipline.

Today Wendy is secretary for the Counties Distance Riding Club which organises Endurance championships throughout the country.

"This club has been in existence for ten years, and started with mostly trail riding before concentrating on endurance competitions. Effectively these events are marathons on horseback, with several different categories from the longest of 160 km starting at 1am on Saturday to the more junior events down to 57km.

"Each Class starts at different times throughout the night - or early morning! Everything about this sport is very exacting. The horse may not even set off if it doesn't meet the vetting criteria, and there are several points throughout the ride at which it could be disqualified – including right at the very end - we say this is a great sport for bringing you down to earth!"

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