NEWS > Endurance
Posted by Equestrian Australia on 13/08/2014.

The Journey so far: Alexandra Toft's Account WEG 2014

Get to know our World Equestrian Games Endurance Team by reading this blog written by our youngest Endurance Team member, Alex Toft.

I remember when each of Charlotte, Dream Dancer and Centrefold te were born. Three beautiful grey mares bred for endurance, and now just 17 days until the biggest race of their careers to date, and mine; the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France 2014.  About each of the horses;

Dream Dancer te (DD) went to France in 2012 and completed her FEI 1 and 2*s with Jimmy Fabre and more recently Jean Michel Grimal. We are so lucky to have these French connections, sharing our knowledge and assisting too with some translations. And what a great team we have made, a partnership for WEG and beyond. I rode DD in her second 2* at a ride called Pontonx sur L’Ador in the South of France, December 2013. Here, she showed some sensational talent astounding us all with her freakish heart. In March of this year we did Fontainebleau finishing the 160km at 17.5km/hr with a recovering time of not more than 1 minute 30 seconds. Since then DD has done a ride with Mum on our most recent trip to France. DD is young, but has been consistently growing stronger and stronger. I think WEG 2014 is just the beginning for this mare.

Centrefold te travelled to France in anticipation for the World Youth Endurance Championships in 2013, however did not start due to a foot abscess. Obviously a tragedy at the time, but in retrospect not so bad, for Emily Jones te did so unbelievably well, and Centrefold a few weeks later competed in the WEG trial. The WEG trial was an invaluable opportunity to view the formidable track of Sartilly and gain knowledge of what awaits us later this month. Following this, Centrefold enjoyed a holiday over the cold French winter and has come back firing. We completed the most amazing ride, a 120km, Barre des Cevennes, 6 hours from her home in Artegnan in the Pyrenees. Sharing much of the Florac course, a ride I aspire to do, it was extremely challenging in terms of elevation set on top of the most picturesque mountains. This she completed just one month ago, super training for Sartilly.

Charlotte te has done a some 2*s and completed her WEG qualifications at Red Range and the New Zealand North Island Championship earlier this year. She is extremely tough, has a lovely nature and a great attitude, an important factor in endurance. Her training has consisted of a mixture of local rides, beach training and Banks Creek mountains.

Three horses with very different preparations and now for the final stage. Charlotte will leave Marburg today (Monday 11th August, meet Castlebar Contraband, Tonki Dee Boo Shania and the Australian Para-dressage team in Melbourne then fly to Singapore then Sharjah then London. They will then cross the English Channel on a boat and then finally a 13 hour truck drive to our pre ride base in Sartilly, right on the track 4km from the START. The European-based horses will arrive there on the 22nd of August as well as the remainder of the Australian Endurance Team, riders, grooms, supporters, everyone. And from here it is all stations go.

It has been such an amazing experience and journey so far, these rides in France have inspired me, riding among the very best and meeting some super people. And so, no matter the outcome I’m thankful for the times so far and for the fun to come.

Here are some random facts;

  •       All riders are girls!
  •       Horses are 5 mares and 1 gelding
  •       5 greys and 1 chestnut
  •       Horses are aged between 8 and 11 – young
  •       All riders at minimum riding weight of 75kg
  •       Australian owned horses sires are; 2xChip Chase Sadaqa, 1x Castlebar Gulf Straem (a Chip Chase Sadaqa son), 1x WN Dajmir and 1x Elphyn Comet.
  •       The tallest horse is Castlebar Contraband. The littlest horsey is Lotte (Charlotte te).
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