The second Dartmoor Derby successfully concluded last month to rave reviews from participants, including one rider who came all the way from Kenya to take part. Organised by seasoned adventure riding specialists Liberty Trails, the Derby is a three-day challenge in which small guided teams cover around 50 miles, with most guests staying in a purpose-built luxury camp.
Bettina Vadera, a flying doctor in Kenya, was one of five nationalities to join a number of British riders in the second Dartmoor Derby, which took place from September 22-25. Riders from America, Denmark and Germany took part besides Bettina, who drew parallels between Dartmoor’s beauty and that of Kenya: “It’s such a contrast to being in Kenya in so many ways, and yet at other moments, seeing the horizon on 360 degrees, with this yellow grass and these vistas, my friends at home would say ‘Isn’t this the Mara’?” The Dartmoor Derby is a proudly Westcountry event, with many horses, the guides and ground crew, catering, many cooking ingredients, yurts and more sourced in Devon. The extremely high water table on the moors this autumn meant that routes were planned with meticulous care, with the needs of landowners and farmers in mind besides those of the horses.
Founder and organiser Elaine Prior, of Liberty Trials, said: “We have been quite overcome with the magnificent feedback guests have given us, and the number of them intending to rebook for next year. “Though we experienced everything from glorious sunshine to fog and drizzle, the region has quite definitely worked its way into their hearts.”
Pictures: Polly Baldwin