Endurance Riding Ireland

News & Results

from ILDRA and the world of Endurance

Welcome to our news and results section.

Here you will find News and Information, Ride Reports, Photos and Results from the many activities ILDRA are involved with.

As a member you can send in stories to be included, must be ILDRA/Endurance related, along with any photos and we will try and include it.

Keep fully up-to-date with all our activities on Facebook as well.

Irish riders enjoy clean sweep at 25th anniversary Endurance GB FEI King's Forest Ride

02 Jun 19

Tom MacGuinness, the 67-year-old founder of Horseware Ireland, has won his first FEI CEI-3* 160km contest, with his 11-year-old chestnut gelding Horseware Sasha D'Aillais. The pair completed the route over grassland and soft sandy tracks at just over 18km/hr ahead of Spain’s Maria Alvarez Ponton (JM Bucefala) and Omar Blanco Rodrigo (Twyst Maison Blanche).

The Endurance GB Young Rider National Championship saw Madison (Maddie) Pomroy, with Angel’s Twilight Spirit on loan from Roz Plail, and Katie Bedwin, riding Sue Higgins’ Aberllwyd Ibn Phariz take the well-deserved titles of Champion and Reserve Champion respectively.

In the CEI-2*, Horseware HLM Iguazu, owned by Tom McGuiness and ridden by Martin McNamara set a record for Ireland - the first time riders from the Emerald Isle have completed an FEI double.

Tom, who heads up Horseware and also plays polo in his spare time, said: “As Sasha is trained in Spain, I think he was acclimatised to the conditions and this might have helped. It was warm and humid at times but there was a breeze in the forest itself. This horse is amazing, I’m very happy with how he went. He is just so generous, even when we got lost he just turned round and retraced our steps and got going. I didn’t have to dig into the well at all - he was just on the bridle and there was a lot more left in him which is exciting. After this he will have two weeks relaxing in the field and then come back into work with lots of walking out before he begins his training again. We will aim to do an 80km ride and then if we feel he is fit and ready to go, we will be at the European Championships.”

Tom’s entry at the 25th anniversary FEI King’s Forest Ride is part of the build up to the European Championships taking place over similar terrain at Euston Park in Suffolk in August. He also hopes to field an Irish team in the Nations Cup at the same event.

McGuinness says, “I thought I would give endurance a go and initially I thought I would find it boring but the more I discovered, it is anything but. I play polo but I am not born to it like I am to endurance. I love every aspect of it - the sense of adventure of riding one horse into the ‘unknown’ and the real team side of things behind the horse and crewing.”

Helen McFarland, Chairman of Ireland’s Long Distance Riding Association (ILDRA) said: “ILDRA is an incredibly small organisation and we greatly value all our athletes whether they are achieving their dream of completing their first 30km ride or as in Tom’s case realising their first 3* 160km win. An Irish sweep of the 2* and 3* at the prestigious King’s Forest Ride is a real tribute to the hard work put in by Tom, his trainer Jordi, by Martin and the rest of the team.”

Dianne Luke, who together with husband Paul supported by Karen Collier, has been organising King’s Forest for 25 years, said: “I certainly didn’t think in 1994 that I would still be running this ride today. Yet over the years despite all the hard work, so much fun has been had and so many true friendships have been formed.”

Paying tribute, Endurance GB Chair, Rebecca Kinnarney, said: “Well done to all those who achieved their goals here and particularly to our fantastic Young Rider champion Maddie Pomroy and Reserve, Katie Bedwin. It’s unfortunate that there were no finishers in the 160km Senior National Championships but endurance is a tough sport, particularly in a country with such changeable weather.

“Thanks to Dianne and the team, King’s Forest has become one of the high points of the Endurance GB calendar. The ride is not only renowned for its stunning course and fantastic organisation, but also the hospitality and real sense of camaraderie that epitomises our sport. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the team here for that and look forward to seeing the ride prosper into its next quarter century.”

top: Martin, Jordi and Tom.
bottom: Tom on Horseware Sasha D'Aillais (David Saunders Photography)


Cam Forest

26 May 19

ILDRA (Irish Long Distance Riding Association) headed to the North of the country for their ride at Cam Forest near Limavady on the 26th of May. A remote and rugged location, several Competitive Trail Riders and Pleasure Riders turned out to brave the four seasons of the weather on the day and enjoy the quiet forest trails offering views across the edge of the Sperrins Mountain range.

From a cloud-coated forest to bright sunshine, all the weather Northern Ireland has to offer was on show. The attending veterinary was David Nealon, MRCVS, who checked over all the CTR horses, with all competitors passing their respective distances. Congratulations go to Gail Hadden and her horse ‘Diesel’ who successfully completed their first Pre-Novice CTR with ILDRA, riding 11 miles through Cam Forest’s mountainous woodland. Gail was ably guided through the process of endurance riding and the vetting procedure by experienced endurance riders Karina McVeigh and Helen McFarland. There is always plenty of help and guidance available on the day of a ride to assist anyone who is interesting in trying endurance riding and learn more about the discipline.

Thanks go to the ride organisers of Kim Fields, David McAdoo and the Conly family for marking and running the ride on the day. Thanks also go to the Forestry Service for allowing access to Cam Forest. ILDRA’s next ride is on the 9th of June at Tollymore Forest Park offering CTRs and pleasure rides, for further information contact ILDRA’s facebook page or through ILDRA’s website.


18km (11 miles)

Gail Hadden on Diesel.

40km (25 miles)

Emma Hayes on Yasser Arafat.

52km (33 miles)

Karina McVeigh on Cheyenne.


ILDRA Directors' Report Spring 2019 Update

13 May 19

Further to the recent directors' Spring report, the ILDRA board has been asked to clarify the present position as regards its affiliate status. The board of directors is advised by Horse Sport Ireland that a stay has been put on its affiliate status pending the outcome of the implementation of mediation recommendations by the Endurance Implementation Taskforce. It was confirmed by HSI that the stay would have no effect on ILDRA's international athletes for 2019 and that ILDRA could continue to conduct its normal business.

The mediation recommendations, which have been available to members from their respective branches, contain a number of proposals which the directors (and the Ulster Branch Committee) consider to be financially and administratively unworkable and this has been communicated to HSI. HSI however requires those participating in the Endurance Implementation Taskforce to agree the implementation of the mediation proposals without any opportunity to vary them. This position is not acceptable to the board which is therefore effectively barred from participating in the Endurance Implementation Taskforce.

Representations have been made to HSI on the matter.

The board of directors continues in its commitment to serve the interests of all Irish Endurance riders and the Association and will continue to keep members advised of developments.


Team Ireland HI/CC Chef d

11 May 19

The Competitions Committee (Mary Thompson, Helen McFarland) is delighted to announce the appointment of Hannah Catterall as Home International / Celtic Challenge chef d’equipe for 2019 and would like to wish Hannah and her team a successful and enjoyable trip to Wales in October.

Hannah will shortly be in touch with all those who have expressed an interest in the team. If you would like to be involved in any capacity (rider, crew, driver etc) please contact Hannah directly at hannahcatt136@gmail.com.

Riders are reminded that, to be valid, any memberships, log book registrations or re-registrations must have been paid to the ILDRA Secretary (Kathy Conly). If you have paid any of these fees at a branch ride where Kathy was not present, you may wish to check with her that the money has been received. Any mileages ridden without a valid membership or log card WILL NOT COUNT towards qualifications, trophies etc.



05 May 19

ILDRA (Irish Long Distance Riding Association) returned for the second time this year to the magnificent Baronscourt Estate near Newtownstewart on the 5th of May 2019. Arguably one of ILDRA’s most stunning locations, Baronscourt Estate offers a range of varied trails and beautiful views for ILDRA’s riders to enjoy.

Springtime weather made for excellent riding conditions on the day. The trail rides at Baronscourt cover a range of environments from lakesides to mountainous views across the County Tyrone landscape. The Estate’s 3 lakes make for tranquil riding conditions with endless woodlands covered in bluebells making for some perfect photo opportunities. Vibrant colours of rampant rhododendrons planted close to the grand Baronscourt House also made for beautiful viewing. Deer could be spotted springing across the woodland trails along with young pheasants.

David Nealon, MRCVS, was the attending veterinary on the day and was kept busy checking over the several endurance horses. With increased competition distances, mid-way ride checks are required for riders taking part to ensure that their horses are fit to continue, keeping attending vets very busy! Helen McFarland on ‘J St Jake’ successfully completed a 50-mile ride at Baronscourt, both Helen and ‘Jake’ are very well experienced in the knowledge and training required to complete long distance rides.

Completing a ride of 50 miles or more is not the aspiration of every endurance rider, some simply enjoy covering 20-25 miles of beautiful ground with their horses, exploring hidden locations for riding across Northern Ireland. Such a competition which captures the inclusive nature of endurance is the Home Internationals and Celtic Challenge competition which offers riders of all ages and abilities the chance to represent Ireland. This year Wales is hosting the Home Internationals and Celtic Challenge at The British Horse Feed’s Red Dragon Festival of Endurance on the 5th and 6th of October. ILDRA strongly encourages riders to come and try endurance with several team positions to fill, including those specifically for novice riders and horses who have never competed in endurance before. The world of endurance is extremely friendly and ILDRA is always happy to offer support and advice to anyone wishing to try out CTRs (Competitive Trail Rides).

Thanks, must go to the ride organisers of Kathy and Alastair Conly for marking and running the ride on the day. Thanks also go to the Duke of Abercorn and the Estate staff for allowing access to Baronscourt Estate and its wonderful trails. ILDRA’s next ride is at Cam Forest near Garvagh on the 26th of May offering CTR and pleasure riders. A reminder to all CTR riders to enter online or via post. For further information check ILDRA’s website or ILDRA’s facebook page.


12 miles (20km) Pony Club Merlin

Amy Murphy on Sweet Honey Bee.

25 miles (40km)

Emma Hayes on Yasser Arafat, Jocelyn Willis on Sam, Karina McVeigh on Cheyenne, Ruth Lyness on Amber.

50 miles (80km)

Helen McFarland on J St Jake.


Shane Castle

28 Apr 19


14 Apr 19


10 Mar 19