ARC riders enjoy stunning Cranborne Chase scenery
Almost 190 horses and riders took part in the inaugural ARC ride on the last Sunday in April. The riders, one as young as six, found themselves crossing parts of the stunning Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) that is in private ownership and is not normally open to the public.
Tisbury-based Nova Robinson, who piloted her mare Lily around two of the three routes that took in the Ashcombe, Rushmore and Chettle estates, said: “I’ve done quite a few pleasure rides, but this is the best one I’ve been on. It was really well organised and the routes were so well marked.”
Many of the riders had come along to have fun and admire the amazing scenery, while others were using the ARC Ride with more serious goals in mind, as a pipe-opening run and part of their preparations for the Endurance GB Golden Horseshoe Ride (18-20 May).
The ARC Ride was organised by Kay Allen and it had been eight months in the planning. Kay, who runs her own consultancy business, Diverse Advice, had pulled together a team of 45 volunteers and had enlisted the help of numerous friends and members of her family, including her husband, who marked out the route.
“It took him in excess of nine hours yesterday,” said Kay. “He’s already trying to work out how long it will take him to take all the markers down again.”
Thanks to the sponsorship money raised by Kay’s nephew, Phil Allen, the costs of running the event were covered and, with an estimated £4,000 raised from entry fees and the raffle, several good causes — the Dorset Air Ambulance, Wilton Riding for the Disabled and the historic local churches of Tollard Royal, Farnham and Chettle — were set to benefit.
“The whole idea of the ride came about when my friend Jennifer Molloy broke her back out hunting. She was rescued by the Dorset Air Ambulance. At the time I had no idea that air ambulance services were self-funded, but once I found out I decided that I wanted to do something to help,” said Kay, who tackled the ARC Ride herself once the last public entry had set off from the Tollard Park Equestrian Centre start point.
“I rode with my friend [GB endurance rider] Jackie Lloyd,” added Kay. “I was lucky enough to ride Jackie’s mare Redhouse Lily Marlene, while Jackie rode her well known Khalifa BJ. We had a wonderful time.”