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So far Elaine Prior has created 21 blog entries.

‘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 [...]

It wasn’t just the participants that were challenged at this years Derby!

By | 2017-06-19T11:26:53+00:00 March 25th, 2017|

Click here for more information ALL through history, Dartmoor has been used as a place to test people. Just surviving here was a huge test to early settlers of course, but since then whether it’s Napoleonic prisoners of war building leats, or the British Army testing the mettle of recruits on exercise, Dartmoor has a way of showing people they can do more than they think. Amazingly, it’s fully six months since our first full Dartmoor Derby tested our inaugural riders, my organising team and I. It’s fabulous that several who rode last year have rebooked to do so again this September, some even asking for exactly the same horse. Our entries to date are evenly split between riders wanting to hire a local mount, and others who relish the chance to tackle 50-miles of Dartmoor on their own much-loved horse. Very pleasingly, several well-prepared older horses — in their late teens, and one of 21 — came through the ride brilliantly, lapping up the pleasure of a group ride on peaty going. Our riders last year all found something that challenged them, but many also reported how their bond with their horse was strengthened by having completed an adventure like this together: tackling four hour-plus rides in remote countryside is not something many of us can do very often. Need a solution? Ask a soldier People love adventure but with it can come challenges often outside your control: when the rain comes in, or a blister pops, or something you were sure would work, doesn’t. And when it comes to problem solving, you can’t do better than the British Armed Forces. The Dartmoor Derby (like many things in this [...]

‘Completely Awesome’ Sara Cox praises the Dartmoor Derby to the H&H

By | 2017-03-21T21:55:12+00:00 October 17th, 2016|

BBC TV and Radio presenter Sara Cox was among the 40 riders to complete the first Dartmoor Derby. “It was completely awesome; I loved it,” said Sara, who posted many photos and videos of the ride on her social media accounts” Following a successful pilot last year, the event returned for its first official running on 23-26 September. Riders, including a team from the Life Guards and the Blues and Royals, tackled a 50-mile route in guided groups, supported by ground crews over the three days. […]

Dartmoor Magazine features The Dartmoor Derby

By | 2017-07-07T13:56:48+00:00 January 8th, 2016|

"I hadn't predicted how spectacular Dartmoor would be.  It's quite a challenge to ride miles over such varied terrain... There are bit that really get your blood pumping". This was the verdict of Radio 2's Sara Cox, one of over 20 riders and journalists who tackled the two-day Dartmoor Derby pilot event in late September. Riding on horseback across some 45 miles of glorious moorland in small guided groups, participants from as far afield as Florida journeyed from the Arundell Arms in Lifton to Bovey Castle Hotel.  Their interim night was spent under canvas at a luxury Mongolian-style camp by the West Dart river. The Derby will launch fully next year, hosting up to 100 riders in what is anticipated as a biennial event.  Riders may bring their own horse, or rent a quality mount through the organisers, and can customise the length of their ride and ratio of luxury camping to hotel accommodation.    

Bonding with your horse on Dartmoor

By | 2017-07-07T13:57:28+00:00 December 30th, 2015|

Wide, expansive landscapes, rushing rivers, ancient forests… Dartmoor’s terrain is nothing if not varied. Dartmoor has long been the inspiration for many an author, poet and explorer, each entranced in their own way by her natural beauty and deep heritage. And Dartmoor’s variety extends beyond physical landcape, often touching at something much deeper… On hot, sunny days, you’ll find yourself in a luscious, green paradise - warm and welcoming. But when the weather turns, so can her welcome… Mist and heavy clouds shroud the moorland in an air of mystery, a bleak kind of beauty. This is, let’s not forget, the place that inspired Hound of Baskervilles… But it’s in this range of landscape and the emotions they evoke that the true magic of Dartmoor is revealed. As horse owners ourselves, we understand more than anyone the special bond between horse and rider. Having been fortunate enough to grow up riding on Dartmoor, we believe that this part of the world offers something truly magical and unique for both horse and rider. We’d be lying if we said Dartmoor is an ‘easy ride’… The weather alone can be a challenge. Often changeable from one moment to the next, mists can descend in minutes making it difficult to see which way you’re going. Hidden bogs are dangerous to those who aren’t familiar with what to look out for, and prolonged wet spells can make some rivers impassable at the wrong time of year. But all this simply adds to the sense of adventure that comes from riding Dartmoor… No two rides on Dartmoor will ever be the same. And with the right people, clothes and gear in place, memories made here are nothing short of [...]

‘What a way to explore Dartmoor’ – Lucy Wiegersma’s blog

By | 2017-07-07T14:03:50+00:00 September 28th, 2015|

British team event rider and Dartmoor Derby Ambassador Lucy Wiegersma finally gets to explore the moor she sees from home each day.. in some style I work in my outdoor school for around six hours a day, and we have a view across the valley to the north west of Dartmoor. We watch the seasons changing and I am fascinated by it, but I never really have had the chance to explore it. I grew up in Cornwall, and did not spend my holidays roaming this region as a child. So I was thrilled to be asked if I would be an Ambassador for the Dartmoor Derby, and take part in the Pilot Event. Here finally was a first chance to take on Dartmoor with abandon — lthough I was quite sure it would be rainy and foggy when I did! Pony Club camp — but rather more swanky Our overnight in the specially built 'glamp-site' was great. It took me right back to Pony Club camp days, albeit considerably smarter! No stone barns here but ornate swanky yurts, complete with lamps, flowers, mattresses, duvets and chocolate on our pillows. But I still had my crash hat by my bed and reverted to that old childhood trick of warming up my breeches under the duvet before climbing into them. After a hot breakfast in our lovely riverside 'dining yurt' we were off for our day's ride. The others in my group were really nice, from all walks of like and very easy to talk to, with a common interest in riding and exploring the countryside. It was amazing being out on the moors beneath such vivid blue skies. We crossed the terrain at a faster [...]

‘If Carlsberg did riding holidays…’ – Sara Cox’s blog

By | 2017-07-07T14:04:22+00:00 September 26th, 2015|

How did BBC Two Radio Presenter and DJ  Sara Cox get on covering 25 miles of diverse moorland terrain on the first day of the 2015 Dartmoor Derby pilot event? Here she gives her account When I signed up to ride the Dartmoor Derby pilot event, I suppose I was hoping to regress to being 15 again, out on my pony all day on sandy lanes and stopping at the chip shop for lunch — but with better scenery! I hadn't predicted how spectacular Dartmoor would be. The views and scenery are incredible and we haven't seen any road or sign of life for mile after mile. Apart from Dartmoor ponies scattering in front of you, and occasional herds of Galloway or Highland cattle, or the odd roe deer, it's just you and your horse; you really feel you can breathe better up on the moors. Why Tetley's just my cup of tea I've ridden a variety of horses over the years, from my farm pony when I was a teenager, to racehorses — I have twice ridden in the ladies charity race at Goodwood, the Magnolia Cup. But I am now officially in love with Tetley. Our group's horses, fit local hunters, arrived for us. Then off the lorry came this huge, gorgeous piebald hunk, Tetley — and he was for me... His name — apparently given because he was born at teatime — was a good sign because I do like a good cup of tea! I'm quite long-legged so I feel a bit odd on some smaller horses, but Tetley was a big old unit, and felt like an armchair. He's very sweet natured, but he's also a machine. On this sort [...]

It’s time for the vision to become a reality… by Elaine Prior, Founder of Liberty Trails

By | 2017-07-07T14:05:02+00:00 September 25th, 2015|

Our camp is constructed, the horses are gleaming, the champagne is on ice and even the weather is behaving... Finally, we are on the brink of starting the Dartmoor Derby Pilot Event. It feels a little surreal finally to have reached this stage. I began formulating the idea for a Dartmoor Derby in the summer of 2014. Having ridden many miles across Dartmoor in recent years accompanying guests from around the world to my established adventure riding business Liberty Trails, it often struck me how certain places on the moor would lend themselves brilliantly to hosting a luxury camp. With undulating, unspoilt vistas, and total peace - apart from the occasional contribution from resident wildlife - there is much in common with African bush camps that riders have loved for years. Dartmoor is such an amazing place to ride, yet very few people have the opportunity to explore it comprehensively because of the logistical support required to do so. Widespread support I began sharing my vision for a Dartmoor Derby - loosely inspired by the African riding safari format, and the success of the more rough and tumble Mongol Derby - to Liberty Trails clients. The idea received an emphatically positive response from everyone. The time had come to do something about it! The next step was to speak to Dartmoor National Park, Uk Trade and Industry, the Duchy of Cornwall and other stakeholders, and I am very grateful for the immense support they, and other organisations, have given. From the outset the idea was to create an event that celebrated the region, involved local suppliers, businesses, hotels and farmers, but had no negative environmental impact. In an in-depth feasibility study, we spoke with [...]

Discover the drama of Dartmoor

By | 2017-07-07T14:09:16+00:00 November 10th, 2014|

If you’ve heard of Dartmoor National Park, you’ll know it is southern England’s highest and least spoilt region with an expanse of heather-clad hills, historical legends, granite tors and wild river ways.  Filmed throughout 2014, the beauty of Dartmoor has been captured using state of the art aerial camera technology. This digital postcard encapsulates the stunning scenery and suggests some of the landscapes you could experience on a Liberty Trails horseback adventure holiday. Discover Dartmoor by clicking here Our two and three day exclusive riding safaris give you the opportunity to experience Dartmoor from the back of a horse with just your friends and your guide for company. Wish you were here?  To reserve your dates for 2015 visit www.libertytrails.co.uk