Home International, Celtic Challenge and British Horse Feeds’ Riding Clubs Endurance Team Final all being staged next weekend (4-6 Oct)
With just three more rides left to take place in Endurance GB’s 2019 calendar, organisers have announced record entries for the sport’s traditional end of season classic, The British Horse Feeds’ Red Dragon Festival of Endurance.
This year’s Festival has the added bonus of the Home International which is hosted annually by either England, Wales, Scotland or Ireland, as well as the Celtic Challenge, contested each year by teams from Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Cornwall.
A total of 265 horse and rider combinations are set to take part in more than 30 classes over 365 ‘ride days’ taking in the iconic mountain grassland and heather track from the venue at the Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells. A total of 13 of the country’s leading riders will line up for the top Advanced challenge, the showpiece two-day 160km Speedi-Beet Red Dragon. Among those taking part in the top class are Nikki Malcolm with Oso Spiralling Wind, winners of the RiderCise Southern Championship and Alex Tennant winner of both the RiderCise Northern and Welsh Championships. Alex will partner Watibou Coutillas with whom she won the Welsh stage of the Championships at Pen Ddol Y Gader back in August.
A total of 23 riders will contest the other Advanced Class, The British Horse Feeds’ Little Dragon, while the largest entry of the weekend is for the Saddle Exchange Dragon’s Egg – a two day 78km (42km/36km) graded endurance ride which is open to Advanced, Open or Novice endurance riders and is set to have 37 starters. Sunday’s action features The British Horse Feeds’ British Riding Clubs Endurance Team Final with nine Riding Clubs vying for the top prize in the 36km Novice Graded Endurance Ride. The Riding Clubs to have reached the final are; East Mendip, Ellen Valley, Hampshire Combined, New Forest Hunts, Yorkshire, Wessex Wanderers, National Forest, Angels of the North and Red Kite.
Acting Chair of Endurance GB, Sue Box, who is competing for Wales in the Speedi-Beet Red Dragon 160km class said: “The strong entries for the British Horse Feeds’ Red Dragon Festival of Endurance reflect both increased membership and ride entries for Endurance GB across the board this season. It is a great privilege to be able to ride over this amazing course and we are very grateful to our sponsors, the organising team led by John and Jane Hudson, their wonderful team of volunteers as well as all the landowners without whose support access to the spectacular terrain would not be possible.”
John Hudson said: “We are delighted with the level of entries and would like to thank both our fantastic headline sponsor British Horse Feeds as well as all the other companies who are supporting the ride. We have built a great partnership with the team at BHF and it is rewarding to see the ride going from strength to strength. Hosting the Home International and Celtic Challenge is a bonus and this should be an exciting and close fought competition with established senior riders as well as potential stars of the future taking part. Given the weather forecast for the weekend, our challenge now is to deliver a safe and enjoyable event for all those taking part.”
Will I’Anson, Sales Director for British Horse Feeds said: “I am so pleased that we are continuing our long association with this prestigious ride. We look forward to the event continuing to grow and become even more popular as a celebration of endurance riding at all levels.”
Pictured Tricia Hirst a previous Red Dragon winner
Picture credit: David Saunders Photography