stunned by last minute decision to move Golden Horseshoe Ride
village is fighting back against a decision to move the prestigious
Golden Horseshoe endurance ride, scheduled for May 16-18, away from
the Exmoor centre it has enjoyed for more than 25 years.
has seen the testing contest - originally 75 miles and now 100 miles
over two days - develop alongside the sport now rated as a world
event. Competitors have traditionally been stabled in and around
the village for the three days and friendly inter-stable rivalry
over medals and successes has been intense.
we, like the competitors, were told only at the last minute that
the organisers, Endurance GB, have moved it to Dunster," said
Mrs Beth Horstman, who volunteered to chair the six-man committee.
want it back. Exford is the home of the Golden Horseshoe Ride. It
is an important event to the economy of the village and estimates
have put its value at about £100,000." Accommodation
is regularly reserved for Ride dates, and bookings which cannot
be recovered, have been turned away.
lot of money has been lost already and we know that competitors
like Exford and are as upset about the decision as we are,"
Mrs Horstman said.
committee is now working to answer some of the parent body's recently
admitted criticisms of the Exford venue, among them concerns over
Health and Safety aspects at its usual Auction Field venue, gradients
away from and into the start and finish points and alleged local
hostility. There is also an intention to "centralise"
the organisation and erect temporary stabling.
is not one thing we cannot solve, and had we been told earlier they
could all have been resolved for this year," Mrs Horstman said.
"We have already found a possible new site which answers all
the criticisms and promises of support are coming in all the time.
Our only real concern is the temporary stabling and we want to discuss
that with the organisers."
member of the committee has been delegated to circulate among farmers
and landowners as well as local businesses to identify and allay
criticisms, and Commander Jim Collins, the former Exmoor National
Park head ranger who originally helped set routes, has volunteered
to advise and help where he can.
committee plans to invite the chairman of Endurance GB to attend
its next meeting, and is asking Exford Parish Council, the Exmoor
National Park and West Somerset District Council to support its
is unlikely we could get it back this year," said Mrs Horstman,
"but we see no reason why we cannot provide all the facilities
to welcome the Ride back for 2004."