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18th September 2011

Report by Sue Williams - East Cheshire Challengers

When we knew we’d qualified for the RC Endurance Final at Bedford it was a case of shall we, shan’t we? Bedford seemed a long way to travel from Cheshire, only one of our horses had corralled away from home before, the prospect of a sleepless night on the floor of trailer didn’t much appeal but we had enjoyed our qualifying ride at Wirral tremendously and the desire to do it all again and compete at the final settled the debate.

One of our team had not been able to keep her horse sufficiently fit over the summer so the East Cheshire Challengers were down to a team of three. We were asked and agreed to an individual, with no other club members at the final, riding round with us.

The journey to Bedford went smoothly with no hold ups and good directions. We were just about to set up our corrals when a thunderstorm struck. We sat it out in the cars and when it stopped put up the corrals and turned the horses out. We need not have been concerned as they settled in straight away and seemed to enjoy the experience of camping out in the company of others.

It was then off to the friendly and informative team briefing before another almighty downpour. After a team meal in the trailer the makeshift dining area was converted into my bedroom. We all managed to get some sleep.

Sunday dawned dry and clear. The vetting area was set out complete with white boards and floral displays. After the initial vetting we set off for a wonderful ride with lots and lots of cantering and very little roadwork. It was exhilarating cantering along side by side, two in front and two behind, through field after field. The course was well marked despite some white arrows being rather washed out due to the heavy rain over the previous days. We were met three times by two hubbies who did a wonderful job crewing.

TAfter the final vetting we settled the horses back in their corrals and had a leisurely lunch and time to view the official photos before the presentation. The presentation ran on time and was well organised and attended. To round off an excellent event Anne was individual runner up and our team 2nd overall.

Many thanks to everyone involved in the organising of such an enjoyable and well run event and we’re already looking forward to the first team qualifying ride of next year.

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