Royal Windsor Endurance took place today in the beautiful Windsor Great Park. The day started with a cool misty morning when the riders in the first CEI3* 160km ever to be held at Windsor took to the course at 6.00am. The event also hosted a CEI2* 120km, CEI1* 100km and also for the first time a CEIYJ1* 100km.
A total of 31 competitors were entered with 12 completing. The majority (28) were British riders but the event also welcomed riders from Australia, Italy and The Netherlands.
John Robertson, TD, said “In spite of the rain earlier in the week the course rode extremely well with lovely going. The views in this park are stunning and the variety of wildlife is exceptional”.
The winner of the CEIYJ1* 100km was 18 year old Alicia Reeves who has been riding since she was a 2 year old. It was her first ride of the season and her first appearance at Royal Windsor. She has been partnered with her horse, Oakley, for the past five years. Oakley was born at Bransby Rescue Centre and had to be hand reared and bottle fed. “We thought he wouldn’t make it when he was born”, said a delighted Alicia, “but he’s turned out to be a fantastic horse and we’ve had a great day today.”
Winner of the CEI1* 100km was David Yeoman with his horse, Trop Vite Azureen. “It’s been an absolutely great day and a privilege to be riding in The Queen’s Garden,” said David. “The views down the Long Walk from the Copper Horse Statue are stunning”. David has competed twice before at Windsor, coming 3rd both times, so was delighted with his win today. It was Trop Vite Azureen’s first ride in 18 months. “His fitness will have come on a lot today, he’s a fantastic horse, now 14 years old and I’ve had him since he was a 4 year old so I’m incredibly proud of him.”
Samantha Mowatt, winner of the CEI2* 120km aboard Lateral Thinking, said: “It’s been a challenging ride, the going was great but you had to keep aware. When the sun came out in the afternoon, the heat was tough but she gave me a really good ride. She’s a home bred mare and a very willing partner.” Samantha also took time to thank the Organisers, HPower, for putting on the ride under covid conditions and to thank the Officials and Vets as well as The Kingdom of Bahrain for sponsoring.
Sadly, none of the competitors in the CEI3* 160km completed the course. Brian Dunn, President of the Ground Jury said: “The ride was very well organised and the ground and marking of the course were superb. The weather was misty and cool in the morning but it became hotter in the afternoon. Because of the pandemic the horses have not had the chance to compete and had limited training over the last 18 months and this told on the 160km horses. I’ve spoken to all the riders and they have all said that the going was faultless and that they were pleased to have been given the chance to participate.”
Phil Nunnerley, Chair of Endurance GB said: “While it was a pity that the international field was reduced this year, the support from the organisers of Royal Windsor in staging this important fixture has been much appreciated by Endurance GB and our members. The range of distances gave home based riders a great opportunity for FEI qualification and while achieving the 160km distance proved elusive, the competition was a stepping stone to match fitness and we were pleased to see some encouraging performances from British combinations.”
HPower Endurance Director, Nicholas Brooks-Ward said: “We were very pleased to be able to welcome such a strong British field to Royal Windsor. It’s fantastic to be able to run the sport again and we have to thank our sponsors, The Kingdom of Bahrain, for their generous support despite the fact that none of their riders could compete. Thank you to all of the officials, vets and volunteer course marshals for their hard work. And thank you also to The Crown Estate for allowing us to run the ride in this beautiful park.”