Friday, September 10, 2010

A French Endurance Ride!

Friday September 10 2010

"Let me see - is it easier to ride Tevis or ....... get a licence in France to be able to ride 20km at Le Grand Luce? Which do you think?" asked Carol Arthur, who runs a French riding club, and who's been helping to get me a French endurance riding license.

The answer is: it was much easier riding Tevis!

If one is not an FEI rider, which I am not, one does not just waltz into France and expect to do an 80 km (50 mile) ride like one is accustomed to doing. One does not do a 40 km (25 mile) ride. One does a 20 km. Doesn't help if you try to flash your 4000 AERC miles or your Tevis buckle. One starts off with a 20 km ride. (Twelve miles!)

And that only after some fancy footwork by a number of people. Before I could even apply to get a French endurance riding license, a doctor had to affirm that I am capable. Fortunately, I had the foresight to bring along such a letter from my doctor saying I was alive and kicking. I had her write that I am "capable of participating in extreme sports which would include hang-gliding, mountain climbing and endurance riding to a distance of 100 miles." (You know, just in case I have a hankering to join a climb up Mont Blanc, France's highest peak at 15,771 ft or jump off said mountain in a hang-glider.)

Unfortately, I didn't ask for the precise wording in the letter, so it had to be redone by a French doctor, who I had to go see. Next, Nicky Freud had to arrange for me to get a club license, which was done with Carol via emails, and - I am now qualified to ride 12 miles in France on Dougal, one of Nicky's horses! (Who, by the way, has already competed in 120 and 140 km rides.)

Don't even ask me to explain all the French endurance riding divisions (for example, at the 160-km Florac ride this weekend there are a CEI3*, a CEN3* Amateur and a CEN3* Pro, all at 160km) - for I will be riding 20 kilometers - 12 miles - on Sunday at Le Grand Luce. Stay tuned!


  1. Oh dear, how the French make things difficult. It makes me think of their TREC competition where (so we were told) the ability to make one's horse canter thoughtlessly between two parallel lines of jumping poles was "a test of one's ability as an equestrian guide" as one might have to gallop along the top of a precipice! But then, speaking as an FITE-accredited guide, I used to dread the arrival of French clients - all too often interested in nothing but galloping and the welfare of the horse didn't even warrant a mention.

    I hope that your trip in France goes well. You're amongst people who, given a suitable scoring system, will decide that they won at Agincourt.

  2. This does sound like a lot of hoops to jump through just to take part in a 20km ride.
    I hope you have lots of fun to make up for the trouble!

  3. Hey, 12 miles is better than none and it surely would be fine with me.

    Interesting always how other nations take charge of riding regulations with much more authority and interest than here in the USA...where anyone can try almost anything....for good or ill...

  4. I'm loving your travel's almost as much as you are! Good luck and keep having fun :)

  5. I love your stories. Can't imagine the red tape you have to go through. Enjoy the ride!

  6. I am probably the one person who likes the idea of various training levels, and divisions. It divides up the competition, and would make the rides very exciting! Alas...I will never see France...


  7. ...and so was it worth it ? - beautiful countryside ? Lovely people ? great sausages ? and how was Dougal ? can't wait to hear how you got on - Carole

  8. That's about what I can handle these days. lol

  9. Welcome to French bureaucracy!
    I'm all for the qualifying distances but if you can show them your AERC records, they should allow you to ride whatever distance you want to enter since you have ridden in 100s. If I ever move back to France, I... WILL have to go through the different distances. Silly French Federation!
    Well have fun riding the 20km!
    I hope you tell me all about it :-)

  10. Wow Merri, don't strain yourself lol.

  11. We all wish we were there!