Sam’s Big Ride: Festival of Endurance in Grampian & Highlands

RDA Scottish Festival of Endurance, Highland RDA Group on Saturday 9 September

It was a great experience for the Big Ride to be part of an RDA Endurance Competition at Highland RDA Group’s wonderful venue overlooking the Moray Firth. We were welcomed by owner Christine Anderson, who was carrying a home baked cake to sustain riders across her yard which stables 100 horses.

10 RDA riders and 6 RDA coaches were soon getting kit ready for the competition: maps, bibs, water bottles, ponies. We were supported throughout the day by crew from Scottish Endurance Riding Club, who were brilliant and I learnt a lot about endurance from them. Farrier and vet checks were completed before we set out on a beautiful route organised by RDA Endurance Committee member, Brenda Burnett. Brenda had a busy day not only running the competition, but also competing herself taking two RDA riders along at a cracking pace.

At their allocated times riders set out in pairs with a coach to ride 15km, 11km or 8km through woodland and along grassy tracks on the beautiful Rosehaugh Estate. We were met at check points by crew who helped refresh the horses with a wash off and drink of sugar beet water. I was able to ride with regional coach Lorna Clark and use these points to change the group of RDA riders we accompanied, so that we got to ride with everyone.

There was a really positive vibe and during the ride and afterwards over cake riders explained why they enjoy RDA endurance so much:
Jill who has also been an RDA trustee for 14 years said: ‘It is all about enablement. I can’t walk without sticks & splints, but I can go out on a horse and enjoy the countryside.’
Mary who had rheumatoid arthritis at 17 said ‘I wouldn’t have had the recovery I had without riding. Why wouldn’t you enjoy riding in the countryside!’
Lisa talked about the ‘sense of freedom’. As well as being an RDA rider Lisa is the group’s volunteer coordinator and a big cheer went up at the prize giving when Lisa was presented with a trophy and certificate for achieving 160 km total for endurance rides. The celebrations did not stop there as a delighted Stuart received his certificate for 200km!

Highlands tracks collage

Page Last Updated: September 12, 2017