Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Great Britain: Teenager guides Olympian Mary King in Exmoor race

A 15-year-old champion rider is set to escort Olympian Mary King around part of a 100-mile horse race in Exmoor.

Organisers have asked Abby Chisholm, from Lydford, Dartmoor, to guide her for the first 40km of the Golden Horseshoe Ride because of her experience in the event.

Miss Chisholm said: "I am over the moon that I will be able to ride with her."

The endurance challenge will be held on 16 May and is regarded as the toughest race of its kind in Europe.

Although Ms King is an experienced equestrian who has won silver and bronze eventing medals at the Olympics, endurance riding requires different skills.

Eventing is made up of three disciplines - dressage, show jumping and cross-country which test the horse's ability in areas such as speed and accuracy, as well as balance, rhythm and obedience of the horse with its rider.

Endurance riding requires physical and mental stamina for long periods of time and the ability to navigate on horseback on rough terrain, while judging the horse's speed and strength, ensuring the horse does not become exhausted.

Competitors of the challenge will normally ride alone but Mary is taking part in the race for the first time in Exmoor to help raise its profile and needed someone familiar with the course to guide her through.
Mental stamina

During last year's event, Abby completed 80km in one day in the endurance challenge and the year before achieved 80km over two days.

"I've been asked to escort her round, and ride with her and show her the ropes of my sport."

It will be Ms King's debut at this type of horse-riding. She will be borrowing eight-year-old part-bred Arab mare called Ishtar Spirit, owned by Kirsty Wiscombe.

Speaking of endurance riding, Abby said: "You need lots of stamina, mentally as well to keep going all those miles."

In 2010, Abby was named Young Rider National Champion after getting the most points in all the competitions she entered.

She hopes to secure a place on the Equine Sports Performance course at Duchy College in Cornwall.

Ful BBC News article

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