Click to return to Home page CHESHIRE GROUP of ENDURANCE GB


By Anna Collins

            Lily and Sandy                                       Lily and Sandy at Lindum                                 Lily and Sandy in training          
Courtesy of

Eleven years old Lily Gibbons completed a phenomenal 120km over 4 days on her 13.2hh barefoot Icelandic cross at this year’s Endurance GB Lindum Spirit ride which was sponsored by feed supplement manufacturers TopSpec and held at Market Rasen Racecourse from 4 – 7 August.

Lily, part of the winning North West team in the Inter-Regional Championships has only been riding for three years and has owned her horse Sandy, a solid gelding with bags of personality, for the last two years. She discovered endurance riding last year and this is her first full season.

Training for the build up to Lindum and the Inter Regional Championships involved lots of hacking out for distance training and sprint training to improve Sandy’s fitness and recovery. Lily and her family live on the Pennines so hill work is a natural part of Sandy’s training. He is fed Equidgel, Allan and Paige Performance Mix, Dengie alfa-a chaff, biotin for his feet and garlic. Lily says “Sandy loves his feed and it helps keep him in brilliant condition all year round. I also like to spoil him with treats but the dentist has told me not to do this too much”.

Lily is supported by her parents. She often rides in red, so they can easily spot her from a distance and can prepare the crew points ready for her arrival. They also take charge of Sandy during vetting before and after a ride as he can be a little strong and can get bored easily.

Lily’s first ride during the Lindum Spirit was a 22k pleasure ride. This ride was to help warm sandy up and get a measure of the terrain.

Day two saw Lily ride as a novice in the 34km relay team for the North West Inter Regional team. To ensure safeguarding, all Junior Riders must be accompanied by a nominated mounted adult. Lily and her escort averaged 11.72kph. After the ride, Lily and her parents cooled Sandy and presented him to the vet for inspection. All competitors must pass a vet inspection before and after each ride. Sandy was cheeky, nipped Lily’s mum and accidently head butted Lily on her nose. Despite the excitement, he had a finishing heart rate of 42bpm giving them second place.

The third day was a 42km novice graded ride. Their average speed was 12.60kmph and on the final day she completed a 22km pleasure ride.

Lily has also been selected to be part of the England team in Northern Ireland. She says she is not nervous, just excited and looking forward to a learning experience which will help develop her riding.

Lily says “I love endurance riding. It’s a sport that involves understanding your horse, keeping them well conditioned all year and teamwork between the rider, horse and crew. You don’t need any special equipment or need your horse to do fancy moves you just need to be able to ride in all weathers and love your horse.”

TOP of page

Click here to return to Articles index.

Click your browser's Back button or the Cheshire Group logo to return to the Home page.