The Ledbury Ladies complete Gaucho Derby!
The Ledbury Ladies – Laura Redvers and Louise Daly – finished a fantastic joint-sixth of 16 in the inaugural of the Gaucho Derby and are now on their way home!
The Gaucho Derby is billed as ‘the greatest test of horsemanship and survival skill on Earth’ and the first running certainly lived up to its promise.
The race was almost abandoned going through the mountains on night two after a ferocious snowstorm swept in. Local Gauchos helped guide riders to safe passage and an emergency shelter was created in a forest. Some riders – most of whom re-joined the race later – were air lifted out as a precaution.
Describing that night, Laura said: “We pitched our tent on the side of a mountain in a total white out. We had to hobble our horses and tie them together in the hope that they would stay together. I cannot stress how horrific the weather was – it was heart-breaking untacking our dear ponies, who had carried us over the most unspeakable terrain, in the worst conditions imaginable.
“This was the main reason I don’t think I got a winks sleep all night, thinking about them. I went out to check they were all ok around 3.30am and got totally disoriented in the blizzard and wind and couldn’t find my way back to the tent. I was yelling for Weasel (Louise) but she couldn’t hear me. Thankfully I found the tent......eventually!”
Later in the race, the Ladies joined up with fellow rider Rob Skinner who, after being injured in a bog earlier on, could not complete the mountain leg and was therefore just riding in the ‘Adventure class’.
After breaking away from the pack, the Ladies had a flying last leg to the race but didn’t know their actual finishing position upon crossing the line. The trouble in the mountains meant the race format had changed and it was down to the organisers to make their final calculations.
The Ladies were awarded joint-sixth placed behind winner Marie Griffis (USA, from Manhatten), Clare King (UK), Christ Peterson (USA), Courtney Kizer (USA) and Corie Downey (USA). It was a fantastic effort from all concerned and undoubtedly an unforgettable experience.
Laura said today: “The race was the easy part – it’s the getting home that’s proving much harder! I can’t quite put into words what an adventure it was from start to finish. The horses are amazingly tough and I’m full of admiration for them. And we definitely saw Patagonia in all its glory – good and bad.
“We certainly experienced the real Gaucho culture too – to borrow a quote from Erik Cooper, one of the Adventurists, “not through a guided tour but out of the raw necessity for our own survival!””
The Ledbury Ladies have currently raised £10,676 for the Midlands Air Ambulance and would like to say a big thank you to all their supporters. We cannot wait to have them home - it will be some party!