September 17 2014 Latest news:
Friday, August 8, 2014
It is a sport that pushes both animal and rider to the limit but for one Norfolk woman it has led her to the international stage.
Carol Chapman is set to compete in this year’s endurance riding Home International competition in Scotland.
Endurance riding sees riders and their mounts travel over long distances through all kinds of conditions and types of countryside.
Although she has been riding since the age of 11, this will be the first time Mrs Chapman, now 57, will be competing at an international level.
She said: “I am really proud and pleased to be selected.
“Of course now I am thinking that I mustn’t let anybody down but all you can do is the ride to the best of your abilities.”
Endurance competitions come in different forms with some requiring speed while others involve monitoring the horses heart rate.
Mrs Chapman and her horse Silver Prince Sadik, a cheeky Arabian known as Prince for short, will be covering 80km over two days next week.
To date the longest ride the pair have done was 100km in a day but the competitive element will make this their biggest challenge yet.
It is only in the last ten years that Mrs Chapman, who lives in Queensway, Watton, has been involved in the sport.
She said: “A friend suggested it to me and said why didn’t I come along.
“I thought ‘why on earth would I want to do a 40 mile ride’ but I was hooked right away.
“You get to ride through countryside that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to and it can be quite amazing.”
A major concern of the sport is with the welfare of the horses who are checked by vets during a ride.
If a vet decides a horse is not fit enough then the rider is disqualified.
Although it is a team sport due to the distances involved riders can end up on their own for large amounts of time and both they and their horses carry a contact card should they get in to trouble.
Mrs Chapman, a care worker, said: “The difference between endurance riding and other disciplines is the amount of time you are on the horse and having to deal with obstacles, like opening a gate, whilst staying in the saddle.
“Prince just loves work, it doesn’t matter whether he has done 20 miles or 60, he just throws his heart and soul in to it.”