Having slipped blissfully into Stage 10 of the ten stages of ride organising after the 2015 War of the Roses, Emily, Anne, Kezza and I decided that we may as well do it again. Entries started to come in earlier this year, and you could feel the excitement building on t’old interwebs. We were amazed to find that both days filled up quickly, and we ended up with even more entries than last year. Quite a few intrepid souls from last year came back to give the ride another try, so we must have done something right.
A few last minute panics in the week leading up to the ride and a bit of last minute re-routing on the moor, but by the Friday things seemed to be sorting themselves out and we had a very pleasant day marking the routes in the (mostly) sunshine, even making time for a very civilised coffee and cake at Stumps Cross Cavern Tea Room.
Saturday rolled around and it was like we had never been away. There were a similar number of entries from both Yorkshire and Lancashire so it really was all to play for.
Even the haylage bales got into the spirit of things
Saturday’s route took riders over the Yorkshire Water permissive tracks around Swinsty Reservoir and back over the moor.
That evening all the overnighters gathered in the barn for fish and chips served up by mobile fish and chip shop The Flying Pan.
Sunday dawned and it was time to send our competitive riders out over the hills. The views, particularly around Grimwith Reservoir, are to die for, and the last minute re-routing actually worked very well.
We counted them all out, and we counted them all back. Some very serious adding up and I was able to confirm that Yorkshire had indeed won the War of the Roses for the second year running. The Lancashire army were no-where to be seen so Yorkshire made a toast and there was much merriment.
The ride also raised much needed funds for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, whose services we thankfully did not need. Thank you to everyone who contributed.
We are very lucky to be able to use these tracks and thanks must go to Yorkshire Water and the local farmers, land agents and gamekeepers for their help and assistance in putting the ride on. Gates were opened, branches were cut back, stock was moved, and tracks were mown – we really are incredibly grateful. Our hosts Richard and Louise at Breaks Fold Farm pulled out all the stops once again and went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure that everyone had a good time. If there was a prize for best venue, you would get it – thank you, thank you, thank you.
Thank you to our army of amazing helpers and volunteers: from the gate openers who stood in the wind all day in some very remote places, to the checkpoint stewards who provided sloshes and water for the horses, to the road crossing stewards who saw all our riders safely across the road, to the venue team who ensured that the timekeeping and the parking and the vetting ran smoothly. Thank you to Sue Cunningham, Technical Steward extraordinaire. Thank you also to Brian Floyd-Davies who assisted with health and safety advice again.
Thank you to our riders and crews for supporting the ride and for keeping smiling. The atmosphere was amazing.
Thank you to our very generous sponsors who grow in number each year. Your support is invaluable. The main War of the Roses competition was sponsored by Little Oak Therapies, the West Riding Challenge team competition was sponsored by Top Spec, the 64km competitive class was sponsored by Robin Hood Horse and Country Stores, the Best Condition award was very generously sponsored by Equine Therapy Solutions, the ‘Best Feet’ award was sponsored by Harland Farriers, the award for Best Presentation to Vet was sponsored by North West Equine Vets, the ‘Most Polite and Courteous Rider’ award was sponsored by Breaks Fold Farm, the ‘Happy Helper’ awards were sponsored by Hoofbeats Horsehair Jewellery, and the ‘Special’ rosettes for the various classes were provided by Kerry Dawson. Thank you thank you thank you!
And lastly but by no means least, thank you to my co-organiser Emily Ferguson and our partners in crime Anne Ferguson and Kerry Dawson. We did it! Go team! And we’re still smiling! (I think)