Bishop Burton College student, Amber Sole, 17, from Hessle, East Yorkshire, took part in a 60km endurance ride in Dilbrugarh, Assam, India on the 2nd February riding a borrowed horse from the local area.
The invitation to ride in the International Endurance Championship at Dibrugharh came in November from the Equestrian Federation of Assam and Amber was eligible to take part in the ride through her membership of Endurance GB, (the governing body of the sport of long distance riding in the UK).
Amber an experienced endurance rider was given a local horse on loan for the ride in Assam, a thoroughbred called Aurum.
The ride was set into three 20km loops around a tea plantation with a vetting between each loop. Amber explained, “When setting off I felt slightly nervous and apprehensive as I was riding a different horse to one of my own that I am used to. The terrain was flatter than I expected and very dusty. The route was well marked out and was set out with flags and many check points which was reassuring”.
Amber and Aurum passed the vetting between the first and second loops well. Amber went on to say, “After my vetting I had a 30 minute compulsory hold before I could set off again. The second loop went well and I made up time with my speed increasing from 15km per hour average on the first loop to to 16.5km per hour on the second one”.
All was going well for Amber and Aurum, they passed the second vet gate but they incurred problems on the final loop just 2km from the end of the ride. Amber said, “I wondered if Aurum had become lame on his left fore so I slowed down as I didn’t want to hurt him. As I came over the finish line, I got off and he seemed a bit sore. The vets confirmed this and Aurum failed the final vetting, so we were eliminated which was a shame”.
All was not lost for Amber though, as well as competing individually on the ride there was a team event too whereby each competitor was drawn into a team with other riders. The winners of the team event were decided by adding up the fastest times from the members of each team, Amber was teamed up with riders from Switzerland and South Africa who completed in very fast times and so despite the fact that Amber failed to complete the ride, her team took first prize.
“I really enjoyed the ride as it was something different. My favourite part had to be meeting all the people from the other countries and working as part of a team. Everyone was very approachable and welcoming - I’ve made many new friends. If given the chance I would love to do it again as it was a really good experience and also allowed me to see part of the world at the same time as I have never really travelled before”.
Amber is aiming for a place on the British under 21’s, Young Rider team in 2014.
Further information about Endurance riding can be found at www.endurancegb.co.uk