Thursday, April 04, 2013

Great Britain: Sainsbury competes in the most prestigious endurance ride in the world - Full Story

April 4 2013

Dace Sainsbury who hails from Lyme Regis travelled recently to the Middle East with her horse Lottie for the United Arab Emirates Cup – this is her story.

In November 2012 myself and my horse Ballota were invited to ride in the most prestigious endurance ride in the world, HH The President of the United Arab Emirates Cup that was held in Abu Dhabi. This invite included all costs to and from Abu Dhabi and all accommodation for both horse rider and crew. The invite came off the back of doing so well in Belgium in the European Championships. It was a moment to remember opening the letter with the invite! My beautiful little mare is always surprising me with what her and I could do and now we were going to both go on an aeroplane and fly to the desert!

The travelling to Abu Dhabi went very smoothly, an unexpected surprise I must say. We were taken to a handsome hotel near Maastricht where we stayed for one night before travelling to Dusseldorf for our own flight. The transport stables were okay, could have done with bigger boxes but the grooms and the transporters were very friendly and were very obliging when I repeated instructions for the care of Lottie both before the flight and in travel. I think by the end of my lecture on ‘How and when to feed a horse a carrot’ they referred to me in Dutch as the crazy English girl. Nevertheless they must have done a good job as Lottie arrived in Abu Dhabi very settled, stabled next to a Swedish horse.

So, we arrived at 6.30am on the morning of the 12th and were picked up and taken to the Eastern Mangroves hotel. First word that springs to mind. Wow! The hotel looked like an Arabic postcard, not only was it huge but it had a real traditional Arabic feel, Frankincense burning, Arabic coffee freely available and the most enormous dish of dates piled so precariously that I was pretty dubious about taking one at risk of sending the whole lot flying. That was just the lobby. The hotel rooms were absolutely gargantuan, with beds that could fit about ten of James in!

Lottie wasn’t due to arrive until 7pm that evening. The hours in-between napping and collecting Lottie were jam packed with collecting hire cars, driving to Dubai to visit my family and friends and eating at the hotel restaurant which did not disappoint all week! We had a call at about 4pm to tell us that the horses now wouldn’t be arriving until closer to midnight so we had a long wait at the quarantine stables!...

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