Fishy tale! or The British Bid for the Route du Poisson 2003
is Hilton Herbs second Route du Poisson and the third time the company
has sponsored the British Heavy Horse Driving team. Company directors
Tony and Hilary Self just can't wait to get their feet on to the
backstep of the marathon vehicle, offer the team the benefit of
their endurance experience and cheer them onto victory.
The finishing touches have been put to the FEI marathon vehicle
and the brass on the 18th century horsedrawn Fire Engine has been
given a final polish, ( more of this later)!
last piece of harness has been polished and hung up in the HGV tractor
trailer unit and two spotless Percheron Heavy Horses have been carefully
loaded. Chef d'equipe Rowena Mc Dermott and her husband John are
on their way to Dover to join the rest of the British Heavy Horse
Driving Team for the short trip across the Channel to France.
Rowena and John this will be the 4th time they have participated
in the famous 24 hour relay race that re-enacts the route taken
by the dray horses when transporting fresh fish from the coast to
the Paris markets.
year15 teams of 20 horses from all over Europe will travel over
270 kilometres from Boulogne sur Mer to the famous Vincennes racecourse
in Paris. In addition to the relay each team is required to field
horses that compete in the "specials", these are tests
of skill that can range from pulling a 500kg wooden fishing boat
across the beach in Boulogne, to manoeuvering a large double decker
charabang through a series of hazards!
An additional highlight this year will be an attempt to beat the
World Record for the greatest number of horses harnessed to a vehicle!
Each team will supply 10 horses and the aim is to have 150 heavy
horses harnessed to one vehicle!!
help the British team keep the horses in peak condition throughout
the event, seasoned international vets Sarah Coombs and Rod Fisher
have hot footed it over to France straight from the European Equestrian
Championships in Ireland where they were part of the international
veterinary panel. Both of them agree that despite weighing a minimum
of 750 kgs the heavy horses have to be " endurance fit"
in order to successfully complete their legs of the relay and finish
with the required pulse rate of 80 bpm within 5 minutes of finishing.
and the Fire Engine! this machine drawn by the Mc Dermotts 4 Percherons
caused such a stir when they paraded through Le Toquet at the beginning
of the 2001 "Fish Run" that the organisers have asked
for it to lead the parade around the Vincennes Racecourse at the
end of this years event.