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15 September 2014

Strathdon 2006 Ride

Report from ride organisers, Karen and Tony Comerford.

From the organisers’ point of view, the ride on 15th October was a breeze! A small entry, all of the riding variations on a 36km loop, and we had lots of helpers. I even had to suggest to some volunteers that I would rather they rode than helped. Many thanks to Tracy Banks for her great help as coordinator of the press gang!

OK – so where’s the problem? This was meant to be a big ride with horses at the end-of-season peak fitness, testing themselves and their riders over some fairly tough terrain. Potentially exciting stuff turned into a damp squib. There were two entries for the 64km, none for the 48km, and 5 for the 32km.

So we had to do some radical rethinking, route changing, class cancelling, personnel reducing and money saving at the last minute. It was a disorganisational nightmare, and a disappointment after spending a lot of energy in putting together a big ride.

Anyway, water under the bridge, as they say. As to the ride itself – it was a fine day, dry, mild and we hope everybody had a good time. We offered two different pleasure rides as an experiment – a long one and a not-so-long one. Interestingly, four out of the five entries for the long route were non-members, where there were four non-members out of 13 riders on the shorter route. This tells me that most people prefer to ride a shorter route of about 12 miles. Also it tells me that there are 8 people out there who are not members but are interested enough to come along and try out endurance riding – I would like to encourage them to come back again.

The route seemed to ride well and there were some positive comments about the new eastern section in Glenbuchat. There could be scope here for another ride in the future. The landowners were quite happy with events although one gamekeeper living on the 64km route said he’d been looking forward to seeing the horses pass his house and was disappointed when they didn’t come – unfortunately I had forgotten to tell him that I had cancelled that class. 

I now have to announce that I intend to retire from organising this ride. We have been running it for ten years now, so it is time to do something different. It has been a learning experience, a challenge and a bit of stress – but also it’s been fun to do an interesting social event, and I have to admit that it is actually very satisfying. I hope everyone who has been involved feels the same way.

The helpers this year were:

Organisers                              Tony & Karen Comerford

Admin                                      Karen & Alison McKelvie

Chief Steward                         Clive Pollitt

Vet Writer                              Janice Thomson

Starter and Timekeeper           Robert Keeler

Road Crossing                          Craig Gordon

Marking                                  Tony, Karen and Amber Comerford

Demarking                               Kate Robertson, Tony and Karen

Very many thanks to you all!


The raffle in aid of Equine Grass Sickness Research raised £54 – many thanks to all who contributed.


Photos:  Sian Broderick of Animal Snappers can be contacted by ‘phone on 01466 771424 or by mobile on 07914254202. Her day job is driving a train in Glasgow (!) so she may not be at home during the week. Her email is .