ENDURANCE rider Ginny Gidley praised her "amazing" horse after they helped the South West team win the Celtic Challenge.
Ginny and Desert Kudos, her super-fit nine-year-old horse, finished sixth in a 100-mile race over the Wiltshire countryside.
In a test of speed and stamina against the best from Wales, Scotland and Ireland, they led Devon and Cornwall to first place overall.
Ginny had trained four times a week to ensure they were ready for the arduous task of crossing the terrain of Barbury Castle.
Racing over two days, they had to cover loops up to 20 miles at a time and pass through various checkpoints where the horses were given stringent health checks.
"It's a bit like marathon runners the way you train," said Ginny, from Barnstaple. "You work on a programme to build the stamina up.
"My horse is amazing. He's brilliant. I enter him in smaller races to build him up through the season.
"We train quite a lot on the moor and if I need to do any speed work we go to the beach at Saunton Sands."
After finishing second in the 60-mile race last year, Ginny, 45, decided to step up in distance for her first 100-mile race.
"The first half we did at 22kph but I slowed down because I wasn't sure if my horse was going to do that speed for 100 miles."
They finished with an average speed of 13.6kph and even had a dash to the line in which they were just pipped for fifth.