Friday, February 08, 2013

Young British Rider invited to India International Endurance Ride

Amber Sole, 17, from Hessle, East Yorkshire, set off for India this week to take up an opportunity to compete in a 60km endurance ride in India on 2nd February, riding a borrowed horse.

The invitation to ride in the International Endurance Championship at Dibrugharh, Assam came in November from the Equestrian Federation of Assam. Amber’s mother, Allyson, herself a regular endurance rider, jokingly asked if Amber would fancy having a go. “To our surprise, Amber said yes, so it was then all systems go to get everything ready for her to travel to India. She has only been abroad once before, on a school trip to Paris, and she has never flown so we had to organise her passport and visa in quite a hurry”, explained Allyson. “Luckily her Dad has travelled extensively so I left it all to him to organise”, she added.

Amber first sat on a horse when she was just 18 months old and was learning to ride properly when she was 5. “I was competing regularly in endurance at a low level and so it was a natural progression for Amber to join in” said Allyson. Amber competed in her first endurance ride when she was 10 years old, riding a Welsh Section A pony called Tilly, and then started competing her mother’s Fiord horse, following Allyson during the rides. Amber soon moved on to the higher mileage rides organised by Endurance GB, the governing body of the sport of Endurance riding in Great Britain, and competed in her first 80km ride on a part bred arab called El Cavalier that she was given on loan. In 2010 she completed her first 2-day 160km ride at Dukeries, as well as several other 2-day rides and became National Junior Champion. She has continued to up her game, coming first in a 90km FEI 1* ride at Hayward Oakes in 2011 and completing her first 100km graded ride in 2012. “She is very determined and aims to do a 120km ride this year and try to qualify for the under 21’s team by 2014”, explained Allyson.

What better way for an aspiring young rider to start the 2013 season than a trip to India to represent GBR in their International Endurance Championship? Amber and her father will arrive in India on Thursday with a couple of days to acclimatise and find out what horse she will be riding in the competition on Saturday. “The terrain will be quite different to anything she has experienced, and it will be interesting to see what sort of horses they ride”, says Allyson, who has stayed at home to look after their own horses. “The ride takes place in the eastern Himalayas, along sandy river banks and through tea plantations, which I think will be terraced, so it is likely to be hilly. We have been told that the scenery is stunning”, she added. Getting on a strange horse will be no problem to Amber who is studying Horse Management at Bishop Burton College and regularly rides different horses.

Regular updates will be posted on the Endurance GB facebook and Twitter. or @endurancegb.

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