We left the farm on the Thursday (27th) and took the long drive up to Kimberly. I think I spent much of the route on the way up asleep. On arrival, in the dark, we settled the horses first before setting up our camp.
On Friday, we took a drive into Kimberly. I was able to have the chance of being a tourist when we went to see The Big Hole. This was once a diamond mine and now looks like a very large hole filled with water. The mine has been closed for a number of years and Kimberly seems to have been built around this hole. It was an attraction to see and now I can say I’ve seen a real diamond mine!
Later on in the afternoon, we rode out our three mounts. Nile was extremely hyper, not his usual quiet self. Possibly would be a bit of a handful to ride on the Saturday.
Due to the days becoming hot here, the times for start were decided at briefing. The 120km would be leaving at 2am and the 80km would be leaving at 4.30am, followed by the Stepladders at 5am. Never have I started an 80km so early.
Bob and I would ride together to 1) make sure Nile would be manageable and 2) incase I ended up riding too fast and did not stick under novice speed, ( I have a habit of just getting into a canter with Nile and sticking to it for ages without realising how much ground I am covering).
No sooner had I fallen asleep than I was getting up ready for an 80km. Laura would be leaving first with Mabruk, whilst Bob and I would hold back and let the group go. Nile was as hyper as ever and would not stand still, however once out on course he was as good as gold.
Before heading out Nile had knocked my hat causing me to lose the batteries from my head torch, which I didn’t realise till I was out on course. This made things difficult when trying to work out the colours of arrows for the loops due to us doing half of the first loop in the dark, but we did the first loop completely without getting lost.
First loop Bob and I completed at 13kph, second loop at 14kph and the last loop was a short 16km. By this time we were over the 5 hour mark so we could up the speed on the last loop. We cantered the majority of the last loop so averaged at around 19kph and cantered into the venue side by side. Although I did have a breaking issue and missed the turning so almost went back out on the last loop again.
Laura had completed the course with Mabruk before we’d left on the last loop so we knew she was through. Just Nile and Matrix to take through the vetting. Thumbs up from the vets for both Matrix and Nile!!! Another 100% completion rate for Team PSV, with barefoot horses
We had all finished by lunch time, bang on 12 to be precise. This left the rest of the day to just chill. We had done 80km which was half of the distance us three had done the previous weekend, no wonder it seemed so short.
I was so pleased with Nile, despite seeming like a handful the day before and before the start of the ride once out on course his brain was on his job. He is such a great horse to ride and loved every minute of the 80km. He came in ears pricked and did not at all look tired. Nile is sure to be a fun horse to ride and will thrive in his endurance career with that attitude.
Another success for the day was that we had heard the first Perseverance foal had been born that day!