Friday, September 18, 2020

Great Britain: The 'highly addictive' joys of endurance racing

BBC.com - Full Article

By Padraig Coyle
BBC Sport NI
Last updated on17 September 2020

The mysterious and mystical woodlands of South West Brittany are famous for the legends that connect them to the ancient dolmens - Merlin's tomb and the Knights of the Round Table.

On a recent walk in the Forêt de Floranges, we came upon ribbons hanging tantalisingly from trees and strange, arrow symbols painted at crossing points on some of the paths.

The sudden emergence of cantering yellow-gowned figures, who disappeared back into the morning mists in an instant, was startling.

As we discovered later, these ghost riders were French, Belgian and German competitors in an endurance race over a 100km controlled course that had been organised by the Fédération Équestre Internationale.

Dungannon-born horse woman, Avril Bray, knows the terrain well. On that particular day though, she was involved in another endurance riding event nearer to the Normandy farm she runs with her husband Anton.

"I began riding when I was three and would spend several hours a day in the saddle. When I was 17, I made the choice to focus on judo," explains Bray, better known as Avril Malley back in the days when she was winning Commonwealth gold in Edinburgh and competing in the Seoul Olympics...

Read more here:
https://www.bbc.com/sport/equestrian/54194556

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