A PANGBOURNE College teacher is believed to have set a new world record for the longest uninterrupted horse ride.
Head of riding Stacey Donnison’s time of 40 hours would be a new record by a clear four hours.
It remains unofficial and unaccredited by Guinness World Records for now, but it involved 12 different horses and a small army of volunteers of former college pupils and parents of former and current students.
Miss Donnison started at 7pm on Thursday last week from Hillfields Farm, the home of Pangbourne Equestrian, before finishing at the college’s Parade Ground at 11am on Saturday.
She said of her feat: “The achievement still feels slightly surreal.
“When I arrived back at the college on Saturday morning my emotions were a mixture of ecstasy and exhaustion.
“The reality of staying awake for 40 hours and spending all that time in the saddle is going to take some time still to sink in I think.”
Miss Donnison’s 100-mile-plus round route took in Streatley, Goring-on-Thames, Pangbourne, Woodcote, Henley-on-Thames, Wargrave, Windsor, Chobham and Laris Farm, home of the Chobham Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) branch, before retracing her steps back to Pangbourne.
The RDA is one of two causes she is raising money for, alongside the college’s own Centenary Charity.
Miss Donnison, who has so far raised £1,050, said: “It is such a big year for the college that I wanted to do something very special to help celebrate that – and also to raise money for the RDA, a charity close to my heart.
“The Riding for the Disabled Association does so much to enrich so many people’s lives.”
She added: “There were so many moments during the ride which made it special – like someone rushing out of their home to feed the horse an apple and very kindly make a donation.
“All those memories are still buzzing around my head.
“The horses’ welfare was absolutely paramount in my mind.
“I rode each horse for a maximum of three hours and there were at least eight hours, at the very minimum, before I rode that horse again.
“I had a huge support team helping me out along the route, so horses were immediately taken home at the end of their three hours and then very carefully monitored to make sure there were no problems with them or concerns.”
Changeovers for Miss Donnison, after three hours on one horse, were limited to only three minutes.
Two support vehicles were also constant companions, with one in front and one behind her and her mount.
“Every single horse gave me their all during the ride,” said Miss Donnison, who had previously completed a 24-hour charity horse ride.
“If they had not been quite so keen I would have had to use my legs much more and the ride would have been even more exhausting.”
Miss Donnison has created a page online where people can donate and sponsor her world record ride.