Thursday, March 16, 2017

Great Britain: Annie Joppe’s endurance blog: what’s this all about? - Full Article

Horse & Hound 10:55 - 15 March, 2017

Endurance, what’s that all about? A long hack maybe or a madcap dash across the desert? The reality for one dedicated endurance rider is four beautiful pure Arabian horses and a sea of mud in deepest, darkest Cornwall. BUT the endurance season in the UK has just started, spring is upon us and the days are getting longer.

A quick intro to the four extremely ‘individual’ Arabs: leader of the pack is Dilmun who has achieved so much in his career culminating in representing his country at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in 2014, but is now 18 and having a slightly easier time; Fantom who is the current superstar, HS Chiara who is the future and Wizard, an older boy who makes occasional appearances either doing dressage or pleasure rides.

There was big excitement this weekend as the first squad session was upon us. Fantom was to attend this squad session having qualified for the European Championships to be held in Brussels in August. After having six months’ holiday doing absolutely nothing, he came back into work about four weeks ago and we have been steadily walking, starting with 10 minutes on the roads to now over an hour over a more varied terrain. In preparation for his assessment he had his expert massage, new shoes and a new haircut (very chic!).

Squad sessions are usually in the middle of the country which I guess is the only fair way and this time was no exception; Milton Keynes the home of the concrete cows. I have clearly led a sheltered life and Milton Keynes was a first for me. Definitely a doughnut city, with roundabout after roundabout; not what you want when towing your precious horse. However, the hub, where we were staying, was a revelation, more European than British in its outlook with outdoor eating and a huge variety of cuisine, happy days!...

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