29 December 2015
2016 kicks off with two of our most experienced British riders travelling their horses to the UAE to take part in the ‘HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup’. The competition takes place on the 9th January 2016 at the Dubai International Endurance City in the UAE. It is a CEI 3* 160km event organised under FEI rules, with much of the course running through the desert.
As in previous years, the Dubai Equestrian Club has extended an invitation to riders around the world to join them for this major annual event on their Endurance calendar. The Organising Committee have stipulated a preference for previous medal winners and Elite endurance riders. The invitation includes the cost of transport and accommodation for the horse, rider and two crew members.
Endurance GB is pleased to announce that we will be well represented at this International event by two very experienced riders, Carri Ann Dark and Nicki Thorne.
24 year old Carri Ann has clocked up an impressive track record. In 2012, she was the highest placed British team member in our Bronze medal winning team at the FEI European Young Rider Championships in Mont le Soie. She has been competing at FEI level for many years, including representing TeamGB at Championships on four occasions. She competed at this event in 2015 so will be able to draw on that experience. “To say I was thrilled to be invited would be an understatement. I am hugely grateful for the opportunity. Our Christmas has definitely been put on hold as there is also a lot of preparation to do, not only with training and packing but also with making sure we have complied with various regulations in order to travel the horse to Dubai, such as vaccinations and blood tests.
As the time till departure nears, it is becoming more and more exciting.
My crew are my fantastic mum and dad, who are always there to support me. They have been super helpful and are getting excited (plus a little anxious and stressed) with all the last minute preparations before we hit the road. We are looking forward to the challenge and will do our best. We just hope to do ourselves, our country and everyone back home proud.
Thank you to everyone that supports us. It is lovely receiving your positive messages and comments.”
Nicki Thorne, 44, from Norfolk, has also been competing in FEI events for some years and has travelled all over the world
to competitions. She is currently ranked 4th in the World in the ‘Open Riders World Endurance Ranking’ and was the only British finisher at the FEI European Championships in Samorin, Slovakia 2015. Nicki is very much looking forward to the trip, “This is a first for me, so it is very exciting and interesting sorting all of the details out. Training has progressed as well as possible given the time of the year and the weather challenges. I know that we are headed to extremely different, challenging terrain and weather conditions. However, all is good so far and I am very privileged to be given this invitation and opportunity. I love a new opportunity and the chance to compete somewhere total different, most especially to ride in the desert - the home of the Arabian horse - is incredibly special.”
Carri Ann has elected to take her previous Dubai mount, HS Drift, owned by her mother, Ann Dark. “It was a tough decision but after a lot of thought we have chosen HS Drift. I feel there is a lot to take into account for an event such as this as it is not only the fitness for the ride itself but the travelling to/and from as well as the mental ability of the horse, to feel relaxed for the duration of the stay and for the ride itself.” HS Drift is an 11 year old grey gelding by HS Etiquette out of Gai Radiant Dream. He has several wins to his credit, including coming 1st in the CEI3* 160km at Madine, France, in 2014.
Nicki’s chosen ride is LM Bolena. She is a 10 year old chestnut mare, originating from Argentina. Nicky successfully competed her several times in Buenos Aires before importing her back to the UK in 2015.
Carri Ann and Nicki’s horses will meet up with the specialist transporters in Holland for onward road transport to Belgium, from where the horses will fly to Dubai – a total journey of around 4,000 miles. On arrival they will have access to the best facilities to help them acclimatise to the hot Dubai conditions.
We have every confidence in our two talented riders to make us proud of them and trust them and their crew to take the best care of their horses in this tough environment. We feel it is a great opportunity for two of our International Squad members to get valuable experience ahead of the World Endurance Championships scheduled to be held at the same venue in Dubai in December 2016. Their experience will be of value to all Squad members.
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