Year 8 student, Suzie Todd, has been named the Pony Club National Novice Endurance League Champion for 2017 and this week she collected her champion’s sash.
Suzie, who is a member of the Whaddon Chase branch of the Pony Club, successfully completed a distance of 277km between May and October, travelling to a number of venues around England and Wales. She won the league with a total of 228 points, a 28 point lead, on a New Forest pony called Crabbswood Zelma, known as Echo.
Endurance is long distance riding and for Suzie’s category, which included 43 contestants, you are required to cover a distance of up 31km per ride increasing to 35km at the championships. However timing is crucial as you must ride no slower than 8km or faster than 12km per hour and it is even more complicated as you have to follow a map and specified route at the same time.
Speaking about her achievement, Suzie said: “I was so happy to win as it is the first year I have entered the Endurance League and I was really proud of Echo as it was her first season, too. I travelled all over the country to take part but the hardest terrain was definitely in Wales.”
Suzie won the league not just because she passed the rides but also because she rode well technically and kept the pony fit by training throughout the season. She also gained more points for the pony having good vital signs after the ride. The grading system for Graded Endurance Rides is designed to reward both horse fitness and good horsemanship.