Press release – Boconnoc Ride:

Press release – Boconnoc Ride

Cornish Race Ride has an International Flavour

The Boconnoc Estate in Cornwall, near Lostwithiel, is a private and very unspoilt estate with no regular public access but once a year, owners Anthony and Elizabeth Fortescue, generously open the gates to over 150 enthusiastic endurance riders.

This year the ride went international, since the winner of the 50 mile (80 km) ER, was Isobel du Toit from South Africa on David Yeoman’s Haszah at an average speed of 17.36 kph – a new record for Boconnoc.

“It was an amazing achievement given the heavy rain the night before, many of the tracks were quite heavy going,” said Ride Organiser Veryan Barnaby.

Second was Sam Mowatt on Vavaar, third Karen Jones on Macadamia, fourth Nicky Sherry on her young homebred Arab, Silver Zourra, fifth Jan Kane on George 2nd, sixth Catherine Woodford on Denis 2nd and seventh Vicky Wyatt on Tricia Godfrey’s Nariadne.

Personally, if I could compete at only one endurance ride in a year, I would definitely choose Boconnoc.

Set in the idyllic parkland surrounding Boconnoc House, with views down to the house and the lake beyond, the venue must be the prettiest in the south west.

Competitors ride any of five different routes, depending which distance they are competing at. The longer routes continue outside the estate, taking in the delights of du Maurier country in the woods above Herodsfoot and the West Looe river.

This year I joined 70 other pleasure riders on my friend’s novice and rather over-weight little Arab mare to ride the 10 mile (16 km) route around the estate.

The Green route, which I rode, was aptly named since the woods were sparkling in the sunshine with new leaves and the May blossom, azaleas and rhododendrons were all in bloom. The well marked route (the work of members of the Trail Riders Fellowship) took us along winding trails through the woods, beside the lake and up a grassy undulating track that arrived, suddenly, at the Cricket Ground and Checkpoint One.

From here, we did one and a half circuits around the aptly named Paradise Field, which must be at least 100 acres. The sheep, very sensibly, stayed grazing in the centre of the field while the riders cantered around the outside.

By this time my rather over-excited mare had settled down into a sensible trot, which took us back into the woods and around some heathland to Checkpoint Two at Bodmin Lodge.

More woods, with winding tracks going steadily downhill, took us quite quickly to the bridge over the Lerryn river, and the driveway back to Bocconoc House and the finish.

It was a wonderful day, and judging by the smiling faces everywhere, all the other competitors enjoyed themselves as much as I did. And the horses were rewarded for their efforts by the lush green grass back at the venue.

Thanks are due to the Fortescue family and the 50 plus helpers, who made the ride such a success. A collection was taken for the Cornish Air Ambulance.

Jane Holden

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