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Trio called up to Scottish team

By Alistair Whitfield

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THREE local teenagers and their horses have been picked to represent Scotland in an international endurance riding competition.

The dedicated youngsters have been selected by the Scottish Endurance Riding Club as part of the team for the Home International and Capercaillie Challenge.

The challenge is premier endurance event in the UK.

First time team member Faith Clark, who attends Banff Academy ,and her pony Jazz have only been riding together for 18 months.

However the pair will compete in an 80km ride held over two days.

Joining them in the same event will be Elgin High pupil Emily Barnes with her pony Jojo, who was also selected for the team last year.

Also picked for the first time is Forres Academy pupil Peter Cannard who at 16, is the youngest male ever to represent Scotland in the sport.

Meanwhile, the teenager's 25-year-old mount, Bryn, is one of oldest ponies to ever compete internationally.

Peter's mega-proud mum, Alison, said: "All three of them have worked extremely hard at maintaining their own and their ponies' fitness levels over the last year.

"That's meant competing regularly in rides over distances in excess of 30km.

"To qualify for team selection they had to complete a 50km ride in one day."

The Home International and Capercaillie Challenge involves teams from Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales.

It is being hosted this year by Wales in the mountains around Builth on October 5 and 6.

It's stressed that despite the competitive nature of the sport the welfare of the horse always comes first.

Riders have learn to keep a constant monitor on equine heart rates, dehydration levels and the animal's general soundness during a race.

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