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Delamere Forest - 22nd September 2007
Kelsall Hill - 23rd September 2007

THREE Reports by Pat Guerin, Janice Clare and Sara Stanley.

Some of the winning Derbyshire Team being presented with the Junior Challenge Trophy at Delamere on Saturday - Caroline Dean       Some of the group who stayed on Saturday night (and helpers) enjoying the barbeque in the evening sun at Kelsall Hill - Pat Guerin

Report by Pat Guerin.

This event was run for the very first time on the weekend of 22nd/23rd September and Pennie Drummond and I are pleased to report that it was a resounding success. The idea of running a 2 day ride was rather daunting at first, and even more so in the week before the event, but our back-up team of helpers were wonderful - as expected - and all went well. (There were no horses lost in Delamere Forest this year!)

The big incentive to organise the ride came in the form of very generous sponsorship from Ashbrook Equine Hospital who provided free vets on both days as well as special Best Condition and Best Turned Out rosettes and a prize for the top rider competing on both days. In addition Estate Supplies in Ashley gave prizes for all categories. We are most grateful to both for their very generous support.

This new ride, situated in mid-Cheshire, uses the Delamere Forest venue on Day 1 and a new venue less than 3 miles away at Kelsall Hill for Day 2. The latter provides excellent overnight facilities for both horses and riders. Both routes have only small amounts of roadwork and are far from flat. Day 1 is mostly forest tracks with a section of hilly grassy paths on Old Pale and Day 2 incorporates an undulating farm ride with idyllic going in all weathers.

Planning forest routes is always a nightmare and we are most grateful to Jane Stewart who used her local knowledge to provide a very straightforward basic 18 km circular track for Day 1 with additional loops for the higher distances. All did not go quite according to plan however (does it ever?) as a heavy downpour after we had marked on the Friday caused some arrows to be washed out and subsequently some riders to be slightly confused. Fortunately no one was permanently lost and everyone returned safely to the venue.

Nearly 100 riders tackled Day 1 with just over 50 on day 2 with a good number riding on both days. About 20 stayed on the Saturday night and enjoyed our barbeque facilities on a balmy autumn evening. Wine and conversation flowed and a good time was had by all.

Due to the cancellation of the Peak District Ride earlier in the season it was decided to hold the North West Inter-Group Challenge on Day 1 at Delamere. Teams from Cheshire, Derbyshire and Lancashire took part and the result was a resounding success for Derbyshire who took both the Overall and Junior Trophies. Congratulations to all their riders.

A date is booked for next year so mark it in your diaries and come and frolic with us in the woodlands and hills of Cheshire.

Pat Guerin

[The "date" for next year is 13th/14th September 2008 I believe - Chris Taylor.]

Report by Janice Clare.

What a fantastic two day event, thank you to everyone involved with the organisation.

Day 1 at Delamere was great – I liked the way you had organised the vettings, it really took the pressure off rushing for a specific time. Must admit though when I saw it was Andy I thought Oh No!!! Daz’s heart rate may go through the roof! But no – he was as chilled as ever and it made a difference for Daz and Andy to meet and Daz not get jabbed with a needle!

Darius was well excited and looking forward to the day, as I left the venue though I was a bit rusty and got lost straight away!! Luckily met up with Kate Williams and we ended up riding together and having a real good gossip and catch up. The route rode well, got a bit lost, but to be fair it was well marked and if you kept your eyes peeled and read your map it was fine.

Lovely ride – great company – loved every minute. So we finished day 1, wishing we were staying over really as the atmosphere was great and the weather also fab.

Even better – got a call from Flick that evening saying Derbyshire had won the InterRegional – so we raised a glass or three ... great news.

Day 2 at Kelsall was mega, fast at the start – I went with Diane Gillings but we had to separate as Daz was getting too strong and het up. So we went our own way, and he soon settled. What a ride – anyone who missed this must be mad – lovely fast canters on the farm ride and forest tracks – some road work, bit slippy but not too much of a problem.

Daz well up for it – also rode with Ann who won best turned out, and that was great, the horses went really well together.

So the final vetting – all OK – Andy again ( ha ha !!! ) but for Darius, Andy, Clare, myself and my brilliant crew Paul and Millie it was very emotional. Daz tied up badly last year and had some weird infection too – it has taken 9 months to get him right. This 2 day event + Lindum was my goal for the year.

He did amazing – I am still on cloud nine , thanks to the individuals at Cheshire EGB for organising such a fantastic event , to Ashbrook for sponsoring and to Heather at Estate Supplies for our prizes.

Here’s to next years Frolic!

Janice Clare and Sassan (Darius)

Report by Sara Stanley.

I really enjoyed both the rides. It was unfortunate that my friend Sarah Reeve's horse stood on something in the forest and had to go back to the venue. She also missed Sunday as Leo was lame.

Delamere is a truly lovely place to ride and superb scenery to match with lots and lots of cantering! The only let down for Delamere was the route marking - it wasn't the best and we did get lost twice I think. I did the 20 miler and will definitely do it again.

Kelsall was really nice too and, because I hunt my horse, it was a great chance to brush up on my jumping skills too! I only started out intending to do the 10 mile ride, but ended up doing 13 miles as I did one of the loops twice. Again, lovely scenery and excellent going.

If you run the frolic again next year, my friend and I will definitely come along. It was a shame we didn't get to camp, but never mind.

Many thanks for organising it all.

Sara Stanley and George.

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