The ride would be 2 loops of 32km with a vet gate back at the venue in between. The route went through the Cannock Chase forest following the forestry tracks. The course was hard underfoot and was not as flat as expected.
Barik vetted, although was a little excited so pulse was a bit high. We set off out of the venue along the forestry track taking turns left and right, whilst also watching out for the cyclists who were also about. I missed my crew at the first 2 places (due to them not finding it) so we were about half way round when we finally met each other for a slosh.
Larissa Whiley caught me up and we did half the route together talking about future plans and our horses (the usual rider talk). Larissa had ridden the ride before so was a great help in telling me about the route before we'd even got to sections.
Both of us came into the vet gate slowly so our horse's pulses would drop. I dismounted a few yards back to give Barik time to chill and I could loosen off my girth. This has proved for me a very effective method in the past with Chador, although Barik is still not used to me dismounting whilst he's moving.
Barik vetted within a few minutes of being in and we went into our hold time. Barik chowed down on his endurance mix whilst I ate my mango strips, a new favourite food of mine which I had been introduced to whilst I was in South Africa. Before leaving Barik was electrolyted by mixing his electrolytes with greek yoghurt so it would be palatable for him and would be swallowed easily.
Off we went onto loop 2 and we knew our way. Barik and I took off at rather a fast pace out of the venue and along the forestry tracks.We trotted on in Barik's usual extended trot, crossing the stream and reaching our first crew point. A slosh, drink of water and off we went again.
As the second loop was the same as the first Barik knew his way round and before we knew it we were back at the venue. Trotting casually over the finish line and then quickly taking saddle off to begin the cooling down process. Washed off and a sweat sheet put over him and I listed to his pulse dropping before taking him to the vets.
This was Barik's second ride of the season and passed with his second grade 1 at a speed of 14.9kph.
This ride proved to be a bit more of a challenge than I anticipated due to an undulating course but it was a very pleasant ride. Having not done this ride before it was nice to go somewhere new and will hopefully do it again.
Next ride would be Barik's first Endurance race and also first FEI!