The first ever Bilsington Fun Ride took place over the Bilsington Priory Estate near Ashford, Kent on Sunday 3rd June. Chris Lawson reports…
Over 100 riders took up the challenge of an eight mile hack through woodland, over grassland and up the grass gallops used by racehorse trainer and managing director of the Bilsington Estate, Libby Lawson. “It came about following a suggestion put forward over dinner a few months ago with Dan Watson and Craig Messenger who run the Priory Equestrian Centre here on the Estate” said Libby.
Originally scheduled for early May, the event was postponed due to waterlogged ground at the time, but there were no complaints from riders on Sunday, many of whom had travelled from distant parts of Kent, Surrey and Sussex to take part. Jan Barlow, a member of the Maidstone and District Riding Club admits to being “quite a nervous rider” but accompanied by a friend agreed “It was really fantastic. We had a fabulous time. We enjoyed eight miles of walk, trot and canter, with a good old gallop up the grass!” Many remarked how well the course was marked and, on what proved to be a scorching day with temperatures touching the eighties, how cool it was to be riding through the woods.
“The response from riders completing the course was terrific” added Libby. “So many said they’d love to come again that we now have to think about a date for another ride to keep them all happy!”