THE 2019 endurance season for ILDRA (Irish Long Distance Riding Association) kicked off brilliantly on February 17, with all 10 CTR (Competitive Trail Rides) riders and horses successfully completing their distances. Tollymore Forest Park had an initially misty start to the day, however, this soon transformed into sunshine with perfect riding conditions for both horse and rider alike. Riders enjoyed the mountainous views across the County Down landscape and coastline, whilst meandering through the forest park trails along the River Shimna.
Veterinary duties were diligently performed on the day by David Nealon, MRCVS, who was kept busy throughout the day with the high number of CTR entries. Congratulations must go to Susie Kinley and her horse ‘Tippy’, who completed their first Pre-Novice CTR with ILDRA of 16km. ‘Tippy’ showed excellent promise as an endurance horse, beginning and finishing on the same heart rate of 44 beats per minute.
ILDRA strongly encourages everyone of all ages to try out endurance. There is always advice and help on offer and the ILDRA endurance Shamrock qualification system ensures that horses and riders build fitness correctly as they progress through the grades. Many of ILDRA’s competition horses are ‘golden oldies’ still completing distances of 50 miles, testament to the success of ILDRA’s grading system.
Thanks must go to the organisers, Neil and Tasha Anderson and to the Forestry Service for allowing access to Tollymore Forest Park. ILDRA’s next ride is on March 10 at the magnificent Baronscourt Estate near Omagh. Pleasure rides along with CTRs are on offer, with a reminder to all CTR riders to enter online or via post with the ride organiser.
For further details, please contact the ride organiser, Kathy Conly, or through ILDRA’s facebook page or website www.enduranceridingireland.com.
16km (10 miles): Susie Kinley, Tippy.
32km (20 miles): Emma Hayes, Yasser Arafat; Ruth Lyness, Autumn Whisper; Karina McVeigh, Cheyenne; Helen McFarland, J St Jake; Jenni Cunningham, Just C’Mall; Susan Hunter, Lucy; Mary Thompson, Horseware Positano; Dermott MacGuinness, Shinook; Jocelyn Willis, Sam.