‘I like to ride with a purpose’ by Heather Parr, one of the Dartmoor Derby guides

By | 2017-06-01T14:55:55+00:00 May 14th, 2017|

Heather Parr, one of the Dartmoor Derby guides, has ridden on these moors almost her whole life. She explains the attraction, and why she’ll be guiding again this September It was hunting really that brought us to Dartmoor. My father’s a hunting nut — hunting came before anything else for him — and we moved to Moretonhampstead on the edge of the moors when I was about 10 so he could indulge his addiction. He was a farmer, then, and Fieldmaster of the Mid-Devon for 10 or 12 years. I had a pony myself when I was eight but before that I would ride sitting in front of my Dad on his saddle when he went out exercising — you’d never consider it safe enough these days. Hunting became a lifelong interest for me too, and really it’s through hunting with different packs on the moors over the years that I’ve got to know my way around so well — it’s a sociable thing, we all enjoy visiting different packs and regions. I’ve never been much of a walker but there aren’t many places I haven’t ridden. It’s always a challenge The riding here changes all year round, but it’s always a challenge because you can get any weather in any season. I don’t have a favourite season — though of course there’s some weather I prefer! But on a clear day, Dartmoor is about as beautiful a place as you can find anywhere on earth. In the summer I enjoy doing fun and charity rides and a gang of us take our horses away on holidays sometimes — it makes us appreciate Dartmoor all over again when we get [...]