First Time Crewing in the Fast Lane

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Hatti I’Anson is the fifth-generation family member to join the Yorkshire based, family business. Travelling the country and abroad, building relationships with wholesalers and retailers, and attending events is the usual role but when the challenge was set Hatti jumped at the chance to learn more about the world of endurance riding. Here we find out about her experience…

There is a first time for everything and this certainly was my first experience ever crewing at an endurance event. Having come from an eventing background I had never really investigated or been involved in endurance riding.

As a complete newbie I was a little nervous as all the riders explained to me how important and vital the crew are to them! I was fortunate to have a great team to go out with; husband and wife team, Spencer and Vicky Ham, and their trusty endurance pony, Sharif.

The first part of my crewing journey began at the start of the two-day 130km ride. As soon as the rider had set off we were to jump straight into the car (packed full to the brim with equipment and water) and drive straight to the first check point. My first job was to hold up ‘slosh bottles’ (bottles of water) and pass to Vicky to pour over to Sharif to help cool him down.

Spencer and Vicky had soaked some Speedi-Beet and Fibre-Beet but made them very wet to encourage Sharif to drink and keep him hydrated throughout the ride. At this point I realised endurance wasn’t just as simple as a long hack!

There were a number of check points along the ride and Spencer and I met Vicky at each one providing the slosh bottles and the wet feed and of course bucket upon bucket of water!

There were two vet gates on course and one at the finish. At the vet gates it was all a matter of time. Vicky would collect a card to start the hold time of 40 minutes. As the crew, our job was to get Sharif’s heart rate down as quick as possible and prepared for vet inspection. Once we were happy with his heart rate (below 64 beats per minute) we then took him to the vet inspection.

There are three main parts to the vetting; taking the pulse, trotting up and checking for any abnormalities. This was the most nerve-racking part of the day as you need the horse to pass the vetting gates to carry on with the competition! It is all a balancing act, if you risk it for a slightly better time and present too early (the horse’s heart beating at more than 64 beats per minute) you will have to wait and represent, which of course will add more time!

My first experience crewing was a fantastic insight into the sport! I realised this type of competition does not only require the correct feed, stable, fitness and training management but a strong bond between horse, rider and crew is equally important!

Speedi-Beet and Fibre-Beet from British Horse Feeds are non-heating soaked feeds that can provide rapid rehydration for endurance horses whilst optimising energy release rate.

This is due to the soluble fibre in both products, which has a high water holding capacity increasing the amount of fluid in the horse’s hindgut. This reservoir can then be drawn upon during prolonged exercise to help replace water lost through sweating.

Adding small amounts of Speedi-Beet and Fibre-Beet to water may also help encourage horses to drink at events.

Both Speedi-Beet and Fibre-Beet have been approved by BETA, making them suitable for horses and ponies prone to equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS).