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CRANWICH. 15th-16th August 2015


Report by Lily Gibbons age 10

A On Friday morning my mum got out the big checklist and we started to tick things off. The list was huge because we did not know what the weather was going to be like and my mum did not want us getting cold and wet. I was a little worried that everything wouldnít fit in her little car, but she squeezed it all in.

We arrived at Croft Top in Hyndburn to collect Sandy from his stable and wait for Kath and Izzy Wilson. We had agreed to travel together to the competition and Kath was going to show my mum how to crew. We were also going to sleep in the back of the trailer and Sandy would corral alongside Izzyís horse, Gizmo. I was very excited about setting off, but I do not think my mum was, as she is not used to camping out and getting mucky. Plus she is allergic to horses!

Kath arrived and we put Sandy in the trailer and all our equipment in the car. It looked like we were going away for a month. It was raining really heavy and we all got soaked. We got in the car and drove to Kathís house where Izzy re packed the car and trailer. Kath says that Izzy is ďsuper organisedĒ so it is best to let her make sure everything is done before we go.

At 12pm we set off. The weather was awful. There were traffic jams everywhere. The radio announced that it had rained so much in Manchester that a road had collapsed due to a giant sinkhole! The further south we went the weather seemed to improve. By mid-afternoon, Izzy is half-asleep and I am trying not to ask if we are nearly there yet. I am so bored. At about 7pm it has finally stopped raining and we come off the motorway. The postcode on the Sat Nav took us to a row of houses. Kath says she doesnít think we are in the right place and asks mum to check the postcode. Izzy double checks it and it turns out that my mum has put in the organisers postcode and not the event postcode! Everyone finds this very funny - except mum. She says sheís sorry, but Kath and Izzy are laughing at her saying that they wanted to check out the local beauty spots. Itís another 30 minutes before we finally make it to Cranwich.

Kath teaches mum how to set up the corral and we get the ponies out. We get their feed and water ready before we sort out the sleeping arrangements. Iím really tired and hungry. Izzy is like a machine organising everything, whilst mum is setting up our beds and Kath is preparing something to eat on the BBQ. Itís about 11pm before I finally get to sleep. Izzy and Gizmo are riding today with Shaun Walsh and Abby. Iíve met him before and heís funny. They are doing a really big ride (65k) with a vet gate in the middle. Mum, Kath and I are going to crew them both. Iím looking forward to seeing them ride but I am not looking forward to crewing. It looks boring and wet, plus there is all those bottes to fill and everything is heavy.

Just before we set off for the first crew point, we receive a phone call, Sandy has decided to escape his corral and go looking for Gizmo. He must have been really lonely on his own. Mum, Liz, (the team manager) and me, run from the vet gate to the corrals to sort him out whilst Kath waves Izzy and Shaun off over the start line. When we get to the Corral area Sandy looks really annoyed and is mad! He does not want to be in the corral on his own. Liz speaks to the other inter regional teams who have horses left in corrals to see if someone will look after Sandy and keep him with their ponies whilst Gizmo is away. I donít know if they will though as Sandy looks really cross! I think Liz is really good at asking nicely as the Cotswold Team agrees to look after Sandy. They love native ponies and they all recognised that he is an Icelandic pony so they know that he can be a grump.

Once Sandy had been moved across to his new corral we jump into the car and drive to the first crew point to wait for Izzy and Shaun to arrive. We set out buckets of sloppy sugar beet water, clear water, and take lids off the slosh bottles. My job is to see if Izzy and Shaun need drinks or something quick to eat. When they arrive, everything happens so quickly and before I know it, the horses are sloshed and they are off again. Mum and Kath pack everything up really quickly and mum directs Kath to the next crew point. We crew at a couple more points and help at the vet gate. Then we are off again to do the route once more. Everythingís so fast and Izzy and Shaun look like they are having fun. They are doing around 16.96 kph at this point.

At the next crew point there seems to be some trouble, Izzy telephones Kath and explains that they have gone the wrong route and missed a checkpoint and to correct it that will have to do a huge section twice. When we finally meet them Izzy looks really upset, Shaun looks tired and Kath cross. Mum tells me that I need to keep quiet, carry on crewing and give them whatever they need to finish the race. They finish but they are both tired and unhappy. I really hope that it doesnít happen to me.

We have a BBQ later that night and mum and I get to talk to everyone on the team and make friends. It really important that we get to know people because mum and dad donít ride and I need escorts to be able to compete. If people canít ride with me then I would not be able to compete and that would be so disappointing as I love endurance riding.

Itís my race day! I am so excited!! I like riding with Jean Spalding, as she doesnít mind me chattering when we ride and Sandy likes Harvey, her horse. A lady called Lesley is also riding with us on Daisy. She seems really nice, and I hope she doesnít mind me chattering too. I wish there were more children riding though. It would definitely be even more fun. Sandy started the ride with a heart rate of 40. The weather was perfect Ė not too hot with a bit of cloud. We went fast and averaged around 14 kph. We seemed to canter the whole of the 33 k route. It was great.

When we finish my mum and Kath had set up 3 areas for us, all with loads of water. The aim was to keep the horses together whilst they were cooling off so that their heart rates can come down quick. When I got off Sandy, mum told me to sit on the chair, keep quiet and have something to eat and drink. She pours bottles of water all over Sandy and tries to encourage him to drink. She then starts walking him around so he can eat the grass and calm down. Heís still really excited and keeps trying to nudge mum out of the way, plus have a good old rub on her. Itís really funny watching her shout at him for being naughty and I know thatís sheís going to be itchy because sheís allergic to horses but itís funny watching her. Izzy uses a heart rate monitor to measure Sandyís pulse and already dropped to 50 in less than 5 minutes. Thatís really good and we still have about 25 minutes before we have to take him to see the vet. Mum keeps pouring water over him, then scrapping it off, and then walking Sandy until itís time to see the vet.

Kath holds Sandy whilst the vet checks his heart rate and metabolic rates and I have to do the trot up. I have noticed that Kath has a packet of polos in pocket and this has kept Sandy quiet - so I think mum needs to try that trick too. The vet checks Sandy and says how lovely he is and he has a heart rate of 41. He said ďhe looks like he enjoyed the ride and I think he could go around again!Ē Iím really happy with him; heís such a good boy.

Once every one has finished itís the team presentation time and my mum tells me that there are about 35 other people in my Class and I have achieved a Grade 1. I donít think Iím going to win the class but Iím very pleased with my rosette and medal. They call everyoneís name in the different classes and then they call my name as the winner of my class. Iím shocked but Iím really happy that super Sandy and me beat all the grown-ups. The NW team came 2nd and only beaten from 1st place by 1 point!

I love riding endurance, to me itís not a race, itís hacking out, meeting people and having fun on my super pony. Heís a barefoot Icelandic with a dorsal stripe and a big grumpy face. If you see us, say hello and give us a wave. Itís the Pony Club endurance champs next week and John Illingworth from Cheshire EGB has agreed to escort me in the intermediate class. I canít wait!!

Inter Reg 15 5 2015 Inter Regional North West Team

My winnings                                                      The NW team            

2015 shirt legend

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