We reached out to our members with the question "How did you get started in endurance riding?" to inspire and engage others who might not be too sure how to get involved.
Kim Angove, who is now an Open level rider, responded with her story.
"I remember as a young girl looking through horsey magazines at the pictures of riders and their horses competing and exploring the countryside. My sister and I would imagine that we were cantering through woodlands, along sandy tracks, and grassy meadows. I would imagine I was riding one of those horses I’d seen in the magazines, and in my head, the horse I was riding was the most beautiful chestnut Arab mare. But as a young girl, in a non-horsey family, the dream was that, a dream..."
Kim went on to purchase Va Milotkha, a chestnut Arab mare, in 2007. Kim bought her home as a yearling and backed her and brought her on herself. She is now a spritely 15 year old, as bouncy and sassy as she was the day Kim met her!
"In 2013, sat on the plane heading to Jordan, I was reading Horse & Rider magazine. There on the front page - Endurance GB ‘Try Before You Buy’ I was immediately transported back to the excitable child, dreaming of cantering through the countryside on a beautiful Chestnut Arab Mare. I HAD to sign up!"
Endurance GB's 'Try Before You Buy' (TBYB) scheme is an opportunity for those new to endurance riding to enter a novice Graded Endurance Ride (GER) up to 40km before becoming a full riding member of Endurance GB.
This allows a Supporter or an Associate Member to experience a Graded Endurance Ride, to see what speed must be achieved and how their horse copes with a slightly longer distance than that of a social or pleasure ride.
Successful completion of the ride is rewarded with an appropriate rosette, with a grade being given based on the speed achieved and the pulse of the horse taken at the final inspection! This offer allows Supporters or Associate Members to experience what it is like to enter and enjoy a graded ride, but it is limited to a maximum of two rides per rider.
A Try Before You Buy entry can be only made online and the rider must not have previously been a member of EGB and competed in GER's before. Find our more about TBYB here.
"As soon as I landed, I spoke to my sister about it and we were planning our first ride. We decided on Clent Hills 16k pleasure ride. That was in 2013 and we have never looked back. 8 years in the sport and we love it."
We asked Kim what it was about endurance that she loved most of all:
"One of the most fulfilling aspects about Endurance is the learning along the way, each ride teaches you something new and strengthens the bond between you and your horse. And of course, the countryside, the varying terrains and excitement around each corner. Mila is the only horse I have ever owned, and we started Endurance together, she loves the thrill of a ride, covers the ground effortlessly and genuinely enjoys her sport."
And finally, we asked if there was one thing Kim knew now, that she'd wished she'd known when she started:
"To my younger self ‘One day you will receive this piece of advice and it will change the way you understand how to train your horses, it will make you relax more and not put so much pressure on yourself ‘‘you can walk a horse fit, gallop a horse dead’’. This is probably the best bit of advice for anyone starting off. Build up steady and slowly, enjoy the time you spend with your horse and do not put pressure on yourself to hit certain speeds. It will come when the time is right."
Thank you so much Kim for contributing your story! If you are inspired to give endurance a go and not sure where to start, join our Facebook group for friendly advice and support.
If you'd like to share your story please email your contribution to firstname.lastname@example.org