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Dartmoor Derby Hailed as a Triumph


Around 30 riders, including Sara Cox and Lucy Wiegersma, took part in the Dartmoor Derby pilot event (25 to 28 September, 2015) ahead of the first official running of the Dartmoor Derby in September 2016. USA endurance riders Steve and Dinah Rojek, and Lisanne Dorion also participated.

Inspired by the rugged and breathtaking annual challenge across the Steppes, the Mongol Derby, and the enduring appeal of chic African riding safaris, the Dartmoor Derby is a unique, luxury multi-day riding challenge to which you can bring our own horse, or rent a quality mount through the organisers.

The pilot event riders tackled over 20 miles each day, overnighting at either a luxury hotel (the Arundell Arms and Bovey Castle) or a specially constructed moorland camp and horse station. 


Here’s what our pilot riders said about it:

“I really could not recommend it more” 
 Radio 2 DJ and pilot event rider Sara Cox

“The Dartmoor Derby is a fabulous concept... I had a great time” British eventer and Dartmoor Derby Ambassador Lucy Wiegersma

“It’s been absolutely amazing. The horses and countryside were terrific, with lovely people in our group, but also plenty of opportunities to just zone out and take it all in.” Jason Meunch, Pilot Event rider!

“This is a fantastic way to see Dartmoor. It is so very diverse, across moor, through forests, and all of it spectacularly beautiful. This event has been beautifully organised with a super guide and horses. I want to do it again!”
Pilot Event rider Kate Rudwick

Bookings have opened for next year’s full Derby, with up to 100 places available. Riders may tailor their accommodation plan, customising the camping to hotel ratios according to their wishes. Each camp will have a different theme, from a Mongolian- inspired yurt camp to an African style bush camp. Naturally, there is full medical and veterinary support throughout the ride. Organizer Lucy Higginson said, "We were thrilled with how the pilot event went off.

We had sensational weather and lots of fun. We hope our riders feel they have really got to know and see Dartmoor now."

Price points vary from:

> £1,250 for three days riding and four nights accommodation on your own horse (£1,750 with horse hire included), to
> £2,500 for a six-day ride (£3,000 with a horse provided)
> There is a further mid-range option priced at £1,800 (£2,300 with a horse provided).

For further press information or high resolution images, please contact Lucy Higginson on 07974 227549 or Lucy.higginson@libertytrails.co.uk


Ride photos by Hamish Mitchell/Liberty Trails

Sign up for the 2016 Dartmoor Derby

Liberty-trails.com

“It really is the most wonderful riding you can imagine” Eventer Mary King MBE, Olympic silver medallist

Following its successful Pilot Event in September 2015, the 2016 Dartmoor Derby is now taking bookings.

This uniquely formatted event is inspired both by the international success of the famously rough, rugged and breathtaking annual challenge across the Steppes, the Mongol Derby, and the enduring appeal of chic African riding safaris.

The Dartmoor Derby combines the best of both. It’s an opportunity to navigate a carefully planned, three- to six-day ride around countryside that sent even Steven Spielberg weak at the knees. Through the course of it you may camp in a selection of specially constructed comfortable moorland camps purpose-built for the event, spend nights in luxury hotels, and enjoy fantastic, locally-sourced food.

Riders — limited to a maximum of 100, riding in small teams of four to six — are invited to bring their own horse for the Derby, or may hire a fit horse with plentiful experience of Dartmoor terrain through the organisers.

The Dartmoor Derby is a luxury riding challenge, and while participants will need to be established and fit riders, confident at every pace, this is not a race and there is no need to jump.

Price points vary from:
> £1,250 for three days riding and four nights accommodation on your own horse (£1,750 with horse hire included), to...
> £2,500 for a six-day ride (£3,000 with a horse provided)
> There is a further mid-range option priced at £1,800 (£2,300 with a horse provided).

The 2016 Dartmoor Derby takes place on either the second or third weekend of September (from the 8th or 15th September) with the precise date to be confirmed very shortly.

Please register HERE to find out more, email enquiries@liberty-trails.com or call (+44) 07967 823674

Dartmoor Derby At a glance

The Dartmoor Derby Ambassadors are eventers Mary King MBE, Lucy Wiegersma, and actor and British Horse Society President Martin Clunes OBE

Places will be limited to 100 riders, travelling in teams of four to six

Riders are invited to bring their own horse, or can be matched with a fit mount, with wide experience of Dartmoor’s terrain, by the organisers

Riders to choose which blend of hotel and glamping accommodation best suits their needs

Locally sourced food and suppliers are used wherever possible. This is a proudly West Country event

A number of specially constructed, and immensely comfortable, camps and horse stations will be built for the event. Each camp will have a different theme (Mongolian, African etc)

The event will run either over the second or third weekend of September 2016 (precise date to be confirmed and shared here very shortly)

Keep up to date with our news by following us on Facebook and on Twitter @DartmoorDerby

Horses will stay in specially constructed horse stations close to each safari camp at the end of each day

To be part of this special event, apply by clicking HERE. Or call us on (+44) 07967 823674


The Dartmoor Derby: Sheer heaven

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

Polly Portwin
5 October, 2015

Camping with your horse at the end of September might not be everyone’s idea of the perfect way to spend a weekend, but Dartmoor has long held a special place in my heart, so simply hearing the words “Dartmoor Derby” immediately made me prick my ears.

With fond memories of family holidays that always seemed to involve a stop by the River Dart and more recent hunting trips on the moor with our own horses, this magical area intrigues me. For that reason there was no doubt the Dartmoor Derby was an event I wanted to learn more about so it was great to get involved in the pilot weekend.

The brainchild of Elaine Prior — founder of the Dartmoor-based riding holiday company Liberty Trails — the event was loosely inspired by Elaine’s experience of African riding safaris which she combined with visions of the Mongol Derby. Having not experienced either of these first-hand, I was able to take a fresh look at the whole concept and to enjoy it rather than making comparisons in my head.

The brief was that we would be riding approximately 25 miles per day on two consecutive days with an overnight luxury camping trip, with hotel stays the night before and the night after the ride...

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/blog/the-dartmoor-derby-sheer-heaven-video-512383#D8oFRLvBXo5TfIw4.99


2015 Dartmoor Derby Pilot

Devon, England - Liberty Trails launches the Dartmoor Derby

American riders sought to take part in an exciting pilot challenge ride on Dartmoor, Devon, England, this September


Dartmoor Derby Ambassadors: Olympic silver medallist Mary King MBE, actor and British Horse Society President Martin Clunes OBE

Dear Riders,

Imagine a horseback adventure in one of Britain’s finest areas of wilderness. Imagine riding and navigating for days across moorland, through woods and valleys, crossing rivers, past ancient stone circles and through golden gorse and purple heather. It is countryside Steven Spielberg felt barely able to do justice in his wonderful movie, War Horse.

Imagine seeing the world at your feet, the sea beyond, and all framed to perfection between a horse’s pricked ears.

At the day’s end you reach a specially constructed safari camp, where luxury beds, superb food and plentiful hot water await you and your four-legged team mates.

This is the vision behind a spectacular new equestrian event taking place in 2016, the Dartmoor Derby. This year we are running the pilot event.

The Dartmoor Derby is inspired by the Mongol Derby, but is very different. The horses will be beautifully schooled, overnight stops luxurious and the food quite fabulous. It will also be a multi-day ride (much shorter) and not a race as such.

The information and learnings we gathered through an in-depth feasibility study in the spring, showed us this is a very viable and popular idea.

OUR NEXT STEP is to run an exclusive, pilot version of the event in September of this year (2015), specially invited group of riders, a foretaste of the full Dartmoor Derby experience. This will involve only 30 riders, including a range of celebrities and press, with some 15 or so places open to the general public. It has always been our aim that this ride would attract an international audience, and as such we would like to extend an invitation to members of the American distance riding community to be among the exclusive group riding in this year’s pilot event.

The dates for this year’s event are 24-28 September. The format is NOT the precise format that will be used in 2016, but will be as follows:

> The circular route will take in very varied terrain, through gorse (in full bloom), open moorland, forests, ancient stone circles, sites of historic interest and some of the best views in the world

> This year involves three nights stay with two full days riding over a total distance of approx 80km (about 24 miles a day)

> Two of these three nights will be in a luxury hotel, on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis. The other will be a night of very comfortable glamping in a specially constructed temporary camp in an exquisite spot on the moors. Your luggage requirements for a night in camp will be delivered to the camp for you. Superb food will be cooked (using local Dartmoor produce) in a field kitchen on site by a top chef.

> Riders will travel in teams of five, with a guide

> The event is very happy to provide horses for riders.

> There will be full veterinary and farrier support throughout the event

> While there is definitely a long-distance ride, this is not a race; while it will be necessary to maintain a reasonable pace to complete the ride within daylight hours, the aim is to complete the ride with your horse in first class condition and having had a brilliant time. It is not necessary for either horse or rider to have had experience of endurance riding.

> Riders do not need to enter as a team, but will be put into teams of like-minded riders by the organisers

> Riders may choose either to arrive in Devon on Thursday 24 Sept and leave Sunday 27th, with the 25th and 26th spend riding OR — may arrive on Friday 25th and depart on Monday 28th, riding on Saturday and Sunday 27 and 28 September.

> The cost is £1,800 ahead including dinner, bed and breakfast and horse. Flights are extra.

The Dartmoor Derby is organised by the team behind an existing, established adventure-riding business, Liberty Trails.

I am assisting the event founder, Elaine Prior, with the Dartmoor Derby. Until a year ago I was editor of Horse & Hound magazine, and this event is one of my subsequent projects; Dartmoor sends me rather weak at the knees.

Interested riders, contact Lucy Higginson at Lucy.Higginson@libertytrails.co.uk or input your details here.


The Dartmoor Derby

Experienced rider? Enjoy stunning scenery? A thrilling new riding challenge awaits!

Imagine a horseback adventure in one of Britain’s finest areas of wilderness. Imagine riding and navigating 100km or more across 3-5 days, across moorland, through woods and valleys, crossing rivers, past stone circles and through golden gorse and purple heather.

Each day’s ride concludes in a specially constructed safari camp, where luxury tents, beds, superb food and plentiful hot water awaits you and your four-legged team mates.

This is the vision behind a spectacular new equestrian event being planned for 2016, The Dartmoor Derby. Places will be limited to 100.

Pilot Event: 25th - 28th September 2015

A Pilot event is taking place this year for a small number of high profile riders, celebrities, journalists and specially selected paying guests ahead of the full launch next year.

Accompanied by a local guide, groups of five will set off at staggered times for two full days riding.

The route will cover a total of 80km or so across the two days (roughly 24 miles each day).

At the end of the first day guests will ride into a specially constructed safari style camp in the heart of Dartmoor.

A camp supper will be prepared by a top chef in the Field Kitchen with fresh local produce from the Dartmoor Farmers.

The inclusive price for this unique experience is £1800 per person

To be part of this special event, apply by clicking HERE to input your details.

With the backing of the Regional Growth Fund, UKTI and Dartmoor National Park, the event is being developed by the same team that runs Liberty Trails, an established adventure riding company on Dartmoor.

September is a stunning month on the moors. Dartmoor National Park is, quite simply, spectacular. The landscape here has changed little for thousands of years; exploring it on horseback is almost like stepping into the past. With its ancient woodlands, high granite tors, winding valleys, sparkling streams and vast tracts of rolling moorland, at more than 368 square miles it’s the largest and wildest area of open country in the south of England. Come join us!

The Dartmoor Derby