On Station Road, in the paddock you will usually see four ponies grazing. They are all stars in their own ways but Arabelle, known as Bella, is a Superstar.
She is going to receive a glass engraved with her portrait as she has completed 5,000 kilometres in official Endurance rides in Scotland, England and Ireland.
This is an astonishing feat. She is a 13.2 half Welsh/half Arab pony ands is often the smallest pony amongst the Arabs and Anglo-Arabs who compete at long distances but she loves to go and enjoys her rides. Endurance riders are not allowed to carry whips for long distances so both horse and rider have to have the spirit and fitness to keep going. A season of hunting with the Fife Draghunt gave her a boost.
In 2008 Bella was Scottish Endurance Champion. She competed for Scotland in the Home Internationals held in Ireland and in 2009 she won the National 160km. (100 miles!) race in the Dukeries. She started at 6.30am and finished in the dusk, just after 9pm and then passed a tough vet. inspection.
She deserved a break and in 2012 she started her Maternity Leave and her foal, Flora, a chestnut filly, was born in June. She was back out doing Endurance Rides the following spring and has lost none of her drive and enthusiasm. She enjoys short rides of 20 or 30km with her Connemara friend Fennela but can complete 80km over Cumbrian Fells or Berwickshire Hills.
This April she rode 115 km round Loch Ness in three days and was the only horse to manage all three days.
The Scottish Endurance Riding Club (SERC) is not just about vast distances on flashy Arabs. Most people ride the very popular Pleasure rides of 20km. Many are happy to stay at this level. They have to reach a minimum speed. It not just a gentle hack. They win trophies for the km they accumulate or for riding in different areas. They enjoy camaraderie and wonderful routes. All breeds of horse and pony are having a great time.
Bella is 22years old and she still has lots to look forward to.