South West EGB:

Gare Training Ride 2007 – Rachael Claridge

Photographer: Kim Goostrey kim.goostrey@googlemail.com

On Sunday 2nd September Silver Mistrahl and I headed down to Lesley Hawkey’s Gare Training Ride near Truro. I was particularly looking forward to it because I missed out last year due to an injury which brought my 2006 season to a somewhat abrupt close (trapped sciatic nerve!). Lesley had kindly allowed Carolyn Paget and I, plus a few others to ride the route twice (minus the final section of roadwork which would have put us over the permitted mileage for a training ride). At that stage we were getting Misty and Shrimp (Midnight Mischief) ready for the 80km Veteran Challenge at 3 Rivers, Salisbury (unfortunately due to foot and mouth this event has now been cancelled). Mum and Dad kindly drove Misty and I to the venue which was very quick to get to now that the new A30 is fully open. We arrived and unloaded in a huge newly cut straw field. Unfortunately for a few early birds Lesley’s husband was out on course when they arrived at the venue so they parked neatly inside the gate and didn’t realise Lesley and the Secretary’s caravan were down the far end…oh well good for fitness I suppose!

So at 9am Carolyn and I embarked on the Gare Training Ride. To start with it was a figure of eight around the edge of some enormous fields before descending down into the valley. Boy was this steep. Both Misty and Shrimp worked hard to climb down the first of many descents. The next one was nearly missed due to a flock of sheep surrounding the key orange marker. Annie Joppe who’d started just in front of us on Wizard had fallen for the sheep trap and had over shot along the top of the ridge but together we spotted the marker at the bottom.

It reminded me of Exmoor on occasions, and was definitely a case of “Geronimo” as we encouraged the horses to go down the hill! They certainly didn’t mind the upward pull, and a few squawks were heard us and many others as our horses made the most of the great going and accelerated out of corners to get up the hills. The scenery was also one not to be missed. Once we’d navigated our way up and down and round many challenging fields, we then dropped into Lamorran Wood which took us along side Ruan River.

It was a lovely sunny day and we greeted many fishermen who sat enjoying their morning coffee whilst waiting to catch the first bite of the day. After this little interlude we then wound our way back up the valley to the venue. On the second time round the horses certainly knew where to go and at times Misty and Shrimp took the reins and made the most of the excellent training. Thanks must go to Lesley for organising the ride and to her husband Peter, who manned a gateway in the middle of the woods and directed ‘us women’ out and in on the Ruan Lanihorn loop. Thanks must also go to the landowners and volunteers, without whom this event would not have taken place. Anyway as I mentioned before it is a great shame that the rest of the EGB calendar looks doubtful due to the current climate but for next year make sure you add Gare to your calendar because it’s a secret weapon for getting your horse fit for Salisbury or Red Dragon!

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