Sunday, July 17, 2016

Great Britain: Across Dartmoor with a da-da-dah drumbeat ringing in my ears - Full Article

Across Dartmoor with a da-da-dah drumbeat ringing in my ears: A splendid weekend of West Country riding, on a 50-mile pony trek

• Dartmoor National Park is the most wild and pristine portion of Devon
• It adds up to 365 square miles of grassland - only two roads crossing it
• The Dartmoor Derby is a new 50-mile pony trek across the moorland

PUBLISHED: 12 July 2016

Finding the right man is nearly as difficult as finding the right horse, says Lisa. I nod earnestly in agreement. Lisa is the warm, engaging wife of the farmer whose land we are camping on and, over perfectly pink roast lamb and red wine, we are having a lively chat about life and love and horses.

I'm here for the pilot of the Dartmoor Derby, which is taking place for the first time in September.
It is inspired by the Mongol Derby, an annual 1,000km endurance horse race based on Genghis Khan's postal route in 1224.

We are not racing and we are covering only 50 miles over two days - so it's a day shorter than the real Derby and not an endurance in any sense; instead, it's a great luxurious adventure.

We are divided into small groups, setting off from different locations on a mix of Arabs, hunters and American quarter horses. My group starts on the north-west side of the moor, heading south-west.

Dartmoor comprises 365 square miles and has only two roads crossing it, so it is wide open, safe and welcoming...

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