Friday, August 31, 2012

Great Britain: South West inter regional team win again at Barbury - Full Article

August 24 2012

The South West Endurance team triumphed again – for the second year running – at the Inter Regional competition held at the Ridgeway Barbury Castle Challenge two-day endurance meeting last weekend.

There were six teams competing and the South West won with 46 points, the Eastern Region team were second with 61 and the team from the Heart of England were third with 71.

Most of the 14 strong team of horses and riders travelled up to Wiltshire on Friday loaded down with full wet weather gear, rugs and tents only to find that Wiltshire was having a heat wave. So bad was the congestion on the A30 and the M5 that a journey that usually takes around four hours took up to eight. Fortunately all the horses stood the journey well, including several who had never been away from home overnight or been corralled on a hillside with dozens of other horses before.

Barbury Castle is one of the largest endurance rides on the Endurance GB calendar and there were a total of 28 classes, including a 126km 2* FEI ER and two FEI 1* 80km ERs. The Inter Regional competition, with six teams competing, took place over the two days, with competitors entered in a mix of classes ranging from a 100km ER to a 32km novice.

The ride mainly follows bridleways over chalky downland and across fields belonging to the estate. It includes the hillfort of Barbury Castle itself and goes around the point-to-point course. It's a ride that is made for cantering and competitors usually take full advantage. There are seven different loops that are combined to make up the different distances and this year there were around 200 competitors either staying at the venue or coming each day to compete. The weather was so hot on the Saturday that the veterinary team decided to lower the maximum heart rate at which horses were allowed to continue from 64 bpm to 60 bpm in the FEI 126km 2* ER, in the interest of horse welfare. The humidity was also extremely high at almost 90% which took its toll on those horses which had been ridden fast...

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