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Hamiota woman rides in India

Sole representative from Canada participates in endurance ride

Excited to be the sole rider to represent Canada, Prue Critchley shared her passion for endurance riding on India soil this year.

Critchley, who lives between Hamiota and Shoal Lake with her husband Andrew, received an official invitation to participate in the Himalayan Endurance Ride competition from the Equestrian Federation of India. “Despite being at very short notice, I made the trip,” said Critchley. “We (myself and crew/groom member, Candace Oakes of Lyalta, Alta.) frantically collected donations for our flights to India, as based on the time frame we didn’t have time to save up.”

Critchley said while all expenses between Jan. 31 and Feb. 3 were kindly covered by the Indian Equestrian Federation — which in itself was a huge bonus to participants — flights weren’t included.

Since becoming involved in endurance riding in 1989, Critchley has competed in a number of events of varying distances. The international championship in India is a 60-km competition — taking in account the loops are a distance of 3×20 km.

Endurance riding is an equestrian sport based on controlled long-distance races and the terrain can be varied and challenging. In India, all international riders rode leased horses supplied by the Assam Equestrian Federation.

“The ride was very exciting,” said Critchley. “It was held in the northeast part of the country with a backdrop of the Himalayas! The ride went through tea plantations and along the Brahmaputra River.”

The first edition of the Eastern Himalayan Ride, an International Endurance meet, was flagged off by Dr. T.R. Barbora, principal of Assam Medical College in 2010. Assam is under the aegis of Equestrian Federation of India, with participation from five nations — U.S., Argentina, Switzerland, U.K. and India. The ride was developed to promote equestrian sports in general and endurance riding in particular in the northeast or the eastern Himalayan sub-region of India.

Critchley was one of seven international riders.

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