Gillian Bower and Shandy

Today we look at the Lancashire Ellie Trophy and our 2017 winner Shandy and Gillian Bower.
The Ellie Trophy was donated by Janet Bebbington and is awarded to the Lancashire horse or pony completing the most pleasure rides in its first season, only to be completing pleasure rides for the full season. Well done Gill and Shandy and we hope Shandy has got the Endurance bug following this fabulous first season.
Gillian told us a little bit about Shandy in her first year competing.Shandy’s not Gillian’s, Gillian is a familiar face in the Endurance crowd!
“Shandy, my bay mare, exceeded all my expectations at endurance this year after taking over from my palomino horse, Addy, who had to rest following a tendon sprain in April.
Shandy is an English Trotter, ride and drive, bought as a second horse with the idea that I would learn how to drive. I have attempted this with a little tuition, but I’ve learnt that there’s more to driving than sitting up high in a fancy cart!
Shandy’s early career for a number of years was as a working horse pulling a delivery cart daily round Halifax town centre, so of course she is quite confident on the road amidst the traffic, which is a great bonus for any endurance rider. I bought her about five years ago after she arrived in Lancashire and it’s been a tough journey on the riding front getting her into shape under saddle. For instance, Shandy had no conception of canter at all although she is capable of trotting at up to 30 miles per hour! After a great deal of encouragement and a very very fast trot she will break into a form of canter which is quite uncomfortable as her front legs seem to canter at the same time as her back legs are still trotting.
This past year on endurance rides I have attempted some canters but they are still rather unseemly. Nevertheless, I will need to persevere with her this season having lost Addy suddenly due to toxaemia in the New Year. Shandy is now my number one horse so winning the newcomers Ellie Trophy for successfully completing the greatest number of non-competitive kilometres is a great reward for her efforts and a big encouragement for me to continue with her endurance career this year.”