Published: 10/06/2011 15:00 - Updated: 10/06/2011 16:44

Saddle man rides to pick up national accolade

A ROSS-SHIRE man has battled his way to a major endurance riding accolade.

Joe Newlands and his horse Bluefire Midnight Shadow, also known as Spirit, made the long trip to Nottinghamshire to successfully complete and win a 160km ride at The Dukeries, an international ride held at the stunning venue of Thorsby Hall.

Joe, a facilities manager with Isleburn, only started riding 10 years ago on a Highland pony. Some eight years ago, he purchased Spirit, a part-bred Arab, and has not looked back.

After been picked to ride for the Scottish team three years in a row, Joe and Spirit have travelled to Ireland, Wales and now England to compete in long distance riding.

The dynamic duo, crewed by Karen Graham, Lorna Templeton and George and Diane Michie, started at 6.15am, riding five loops of different lengths.

Spirit was vetted within five minutes of completing the course with low heart rates and won the race with a total riding time of 11 hours and 32 minutes.

In 2010, Joe and Spirit successfully obtained their Gold Thistle Award and later that year, riding for the Scottish team at Burgie, completed and won their two-day 120km ride class.

The pair have now obtained their Diamond award and are having a long rest before deciding what's next!

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