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Harry Ingram with Chi Lin Tashiq NORTHERN CHAMPIONSHIP
Cumbria Challenge - 81km ER
26th August 2007

Report by Harry Ingram.
Harry Ingram crossing the finishing line on Chi Lin Tashiq

We arrived at the venue on a clear breezy Saturday. Tash [Chi Lin Tashiq - Ed]was happy and content in his corral with Ziggy.

I have to mention it was the best nights sleep in the trailer I have ever had apart from the inconsistent rumble from Dad snoring!! I awoke to feed Tash on the day of the race to see the 120kms off. Then it was our turn at 7.30am. I tacked Tash up and exercised him for half and hour before the start. Then with one minute to go all other seventeen horses continued circling behind me. I thought why not go to the line. ‘Ten’ still no one on the line but me. ‘Go’, I was off in front. Two others went racing off past me. I was now in front of the chasing pack! Cheshire was out in force in this race with Terry Madden, Josie Ratter and Liz Finney all riding. I rode most of the first loop with Liz but sadly she felt unwell and could not continue.

It was a lovely day and the terrain was excellent. Undulating grassy tracks with no major hills and with a few stony sections.

I stayed in the chasing pack even though I felt it a little too fast at times. I held Tash back and stayed just behind the pack. We were averaging about 20kmph now. Ahh! Past CP1 and under the motorway riding on large verges all I remember is Josie and Terry zooming past on my right! This in a way helped as it meant we had now caught the other two up.

The first loop of 40km seemed to go so fast! Into the first vet gate I was in the leading pack! I had a plan to take a chance and present quickly to the vet. It worked, Tash’s heart rate was 60 and every thing was fine. However, he scored a C for gut sounds which wasn’t very good - a D could mean being eliminated! Sue Broughton really helped with giving us her advice how to stop it getting any worse.

After the hold I tacked up and went to the line. I was first out with 2 minutes head start. That tactic of presenting quickly had paid off. Two other people caught me up which really helped give Tash a boost. All three of us were now well in front. And throughout that 25km loop we held our lead.

Into the second and last vet gate I presented quick again. Gut sounds still C but nothing to worry about as they hadn’t got any worse. Half an hour hold and off again for 16km more.

First out of the vet gate. I couldn’t believe it. The other two caught me up again as Tash had refused to move. All three horses were reluctant but we managed to get them round. Approaching the finish line I was so worried he’d be lame or something would go wrong. I was under strict orders not to race across the line from my crew after Wharncliffe Chase where I raced in and he was lame.

I was happy with third any way. It would have been an excellent result. The girl who had come in first however, got vetted out. We were all very sorry for her as it was her first race and she was very upset. But I was so pleased - my crew and I couldn’t believe it.

Coming 2nd was amazing; I never thought or planned to do this well. 16.5kmph was the speed not too far ahead of my 16kmph target I had set at the beginning. Mum and Dad who had been crewing along with Pat at the end were fantastic and I couldn’t have done it without them. [Pat Guerin had earlier completed the 40km ride on Zhiwah - Ed.]

I would also like to thank the organisers for a well marked and interesting route - definitely one for next year.

Well done to Terry Madden [on Estansa Abu Estasan - Ed] who came 8th and Josie Ratter [on Izaak - Ed] who came 9th (it was also her first ever race).

It was a brilliant end to the season for me.

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