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Daisha at her first 50km ride at Cirencester Park 2005. (Photo by kind permission of Eric G Jones).
Mimi (Ca Shia Merishia) - 14.3hh 14yo Arab mare
I have owned Mimi for 9 years, from an unbroken and rather portly 5yo up to the present slimline "endurance-machine". Mimi has great attitude, a will to win (she doesn't like to be behind anyone!) and a longer stride than her small size would suggest. She was easy to break-in, easy to bring on and has always tried her hardest no matter what the distance. Mimi's main problem is a tendency to tie-up, for which we now feed a supplement called Endurance Plus (www.equizest.com).
Having achieved a team 1st place in the Rufus Relay in the New Forest and then 2nd place in the 120km 2* FEI ride at Cirencester 2005, in 2006 we attempted her first 160km 3* FEI at Cirencester in June. Unfortunately she vetted out slightly lame at the last vet gate (150km!) but as this was the furthest she had ever gone, I was extremely pleased with her. The plan to take her to another 160km 3* FEI ride didn't quite happen in 2007, simply due to other commitments. However, Mimi did go to a few smaller rides and was 4th in the 100km Endurance Ride at Ludlow as part of the SouthWest team in the Interregional Championships, (which the South West won!)
At the beginning of 2008, Mimi competed at the St Meubreds 80km ride and won the Blue Chip prize for lowest pulse. Mimi continued her training at home and at the end of May I took her to the 160km 3* FEI ride at Dukeries where she unfortunately vetted out slightly lame after 105km. The lameness resolved within a few days and Mimi was rested for four weeks, only walking out gently when she was ridden. Mimi's next competition was Minions 80km ER at the beginning of July, where she came 6th despite thick muddy conditions, pouring rain, puddles up to her tummy (literally up to her tummy!!!), losing a shoe, getting stuck behind a farmer and his cattle, and putting one leg down a hole up to her knee.... I did wonder if we should have just stayed in bed! Although Mimi was sound the following day, she vetted out at Oatridge 160km FEI in August so was turned away until mid November.
2009 saw Mimi still knocking on the door of the elusive 160km ride - this time she completed 105km of the distance when she vetted out at Lindum Ride in July. Two days later she had the worst infected leg I have ever seen, as a result of a puncture wound to her pastern we think she picked up at the ride. This was a real shame as Mimi had been feeling so strong and comfortable out on the ride - and with humid weather conditions and stormy skies, we had an exhilirating ride through the thunder and rain before that vetting....
2010 heralded a change of fortunes however, with a good Grade 1 at the first 64km ride of the season, followed by a Bronze award at the Golden Horseshoe 160km ride in May..... at last, Mimi proved what I had always known she could do! Sometimes you just have to keep trying to get that 160km ride in the bag..... bad luck always changes to good luck - you just have to keep trying until that happens! Currently Mimi is on holiday to recover from the Golden Horseshoe and then she will come out to do a few smaller rides or even a little bit of showing later in the season.
Daisha (Ca Daisha) - 15hh 11yo Arab mare
Daisha is Mimi's younger sister and I have owned her for 6 years. Unfortunately Daisha fractured her hock within a few months of bringing her home, and after a period of box-rest spent 5 months just walking out to strengthen the limb again. To be honest, I was unsure if she would stay sound in work and am delighted she has reached Advanced level and her first International rides.
Our aim for 2007 was the World Young Horse Championships, Compeigne. Despite all the preparation, we only managed 10km before Daisha suffered a bout of azoturia which effectively put us out of the competition. This was a shame for us, but we did still benefit from watching the whole competition and it was wonderful to see one our top British riders, Georgina Hirst ride into 3rd place at the end of the day!
In 2008 Daisha was on the "back-burner" while Mimi took precendence so I aimed to take Daisha to her first two day 160km competition near the end of the year, at Red Dragon. Unfortunately life on the "back-burner" did not suit Daisha at all and having pulled like a steam train for over 20miles, (and up two mountains,) she finished the first day of Red Dragon with an irregular heart beat. This meant a full veterinary investigation until Daisha had the all-clear to start the next season....
2009 was a busy year for Daisha.... and without a great start! Our first 64km resulted in a fail for slight lameness. Our second ride, 80km was cut short by a riderless horse bolting into us and taking us both to the ground. Fortunately, this run of bad luck was abated when Daisha completed the 80km class at the Golden Horseshoe, but our luck didn't hold, and she put her foot down a hole at Cirencester Park one month later to vet out lame after only 55km of the 160km National Championship. Our luck changed back to good for the 120km "Ride With the Stars" at Euston Park in July; we came 59th out of 119 which wasn't exactly quick but we were both in one piece and we finished! We returned to the Red Dragon Ride at the end of the season to try and get further than the 80km Day One of the previous year, but once again, we were thwarted; slightly lame at the start of day two this time - at least it wasn't her heart!
In 2009, a good endurance friend of mine discovered that both of her horses had sustained injuries which would prevent them competing to 160km level. I decided it would be nice to take both my horses to the Golden Horseshoe 2010 and attempt the 160km together - so with Linda's help, that is what we did. Linda Kidd rode Daisha, and after visiting Exmoor to put in the longer training distances for several months beforehand, we were delighted when Daisha completed the 160km Golden Horseshoe Ride 2010. Daisha is now having a month off but I hope to take her to an 80km ER - and maybe another 160km later in the season....
Dee (Wickhams Just Distinct) - 16.1hh 16yo Irish Draught x Tb
Dee is owned by Dr Angela Osborne, who does ride endurance as well but has limited time for training and competing. As a result I did alot of the training with Dee and also competed with her. Our aim for 2007 was to take Dee to the 160km Golden Horseshoe ride in May. The Golden Horseshoe ride was held on the 14-15 May and we were delighted that Dee completed the ride at an overall average speed of 10.3kph. The course included some very hilly and stoney terrain as well as some sections over moorland and grass fields and I decided this was not going to be completed successfully at Dee's normal speed. Our game plan was to ride quietly round the first day and save as much energy as we could in her for the second day when the hills would really start to test her stamina.
We still actually achieved silver time in the first day which was fantastic, and bronze time the second day but we also got 1 heart rate penalty (by only 1 bpm!) at the end of the second day which gave us our completion result.
I feel Golden Horseshoe is very much a competition where you ride and manage your horse against the terrain you are covering, rather than trying to compete against other horses and riders, and we were absolutely delighted when Dee had a score of nil for dehydration and a consistant pulse on the ridegeway test at the end of the 160km (if you are not an endurance rider reading this and want to know what this means, please email me for the longer explanation!) As Dee is not the conventional type for endurance, this is a fantastic result for us.
In 2008 we repeated this success at the Golden Horseshoe 160km, with a faster speed earning us a silver award and Best Local Competitor award for the second year in a row. Dee's training began at the beginning of December 2007, over distances of 10miles and increased every month until she completed two 80km (50mile) rides in April, ready for the 160km in May.
In 2009, Dee returned to competing for her owner Angela, and completed the 80km class at the Golden Horseshoe. So,..... in 2010, Dee returned for the final time to the Golden Horseshoe to attempt the 160km once more....but this time with Angela riding her! Angela dedicated the time needed to train Dee and booked the necessary days off work to attend the competition.... and the hard work and training was all worthwhile when she achieved a completion award, the Top Veteran Horse Award and the Accumulator Award (for successfully completing 350 Golden Horseshoe miles). Angela also won the award for being the highest placed rider at her first attempt.... Dee will now be retired from Endurance, but in the 5 years she has been competing she has achieved far more than we ever could have hoped for - What an AMAZING HORSE!
Article on Training the Non-Arab for Endurance by Karen Jones, 2006
Last updated 31st May 2010