ILDRA (the Irish Long Distance Riding Association) headed to the Mourne Mountains for their latest CTR on June 10. Beginning at Tollymore Forest Park, several CTR (Competitive Trail Ride) and pleasure riders enjoyed the spectacular mountainous views of the County Down landscape and coastline here, whilst other riders completing longer CTR distances ventured out of Tollymore Forest Park, along bridleways to the summit of Slievenaslat.
The longer ride distances across two venues introduces the need for a mobile crew car to meet the riders at designated locations, namely road crossings to provide assistance and also to offer water and cooling sloshes to both horse and rider. The longer distances of endurance rides would likely be unachievable without a mobile crew and an endurance rider’s crew is a vital aspect of the sport.
Veterinary duties were performed on the day by Michael Duggan BVSc, MRCVS. Given the longer distances being completed on the day, Michael was kept busy, as longer distances of over 40 miles require a mid-ride vet check to ensure that the horse is fit to continue over the distance and allow for a rest period for both horse and rider.
Helen McFarland on ‘J St Jake’ successfully completed a 50-mile CTR. Congratulations to Helen for completing this ride on one of ILDRA’s more mountainous rides. The Gold Shamrock award in endurance is achieved by the successful completion of two 50-mile CTRs by both horse and rider. It is a prestigious and highly coveted qualification and is the aspiration of many endurance riders.
Many thanks go to the Forestry Service for allowing access to the forest park and to the ride organisers of the Ulster Branch Committee for marking and running the ride on the day.
ILDRA has since held an evening Pleasure Ride along with their annual BBQ at Woodburn Forest Park on June 22.
For further details on forthcoming rides, please see ILDRA’s facebook page or website www.enduranceridingireland.com.
Sunday, June 10
16km (10 miles): Dermott MacGuinness, Shinook.
32km (20 miles): Mary Thompson, Horseware Iguazu.
40km (25 miles): Jocelyn Willis, Sam; Karina McVeigh, Cheyenne.
80km (50 miles): Helen McFarland, J St Jake.