AN USK rider who competed in one of the world’s toughest horse races will be speaking about her experiences next month.

Consultant gynaecologist, Charlie Fleming, competed in the Tevis Cup, in the USA, in August.

The 24-hour 100-mile endurance ride through the Crystal Range of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, is the toughest and most challenging endurance ride in the world, with only around half of all entrants finishing.

She became interested in endurance when she bought her first horse in 2004.

She said: “I was attracted by the combination of map reading in remote areas, horse physiology and pretending to be Dr Doolittle.

“Since then it’s become a passion and I’ve risen from novice, open, through to advanced and now I compete at FEI international level."

Five years ago she had breast cancer and now says she lives to seize the moment.

She said: "I wanted to do the Tevis after someone christened a bit of the route on the Christmas Cracker ride that we run at Staunton, near Monmouth, as Cougar Rock. When I looked it up and read that it was supposed to be the most gruelling endurance ride in the world, well, you've just got to do it haven't you?"

She described how the best moments were crossing the American river at night and choking up as she read the emails that friends and family had shared as they followed my progress.

“My worst moment was about a third of the way round I presented my horse Moon to the vet too quickly for one of the checks you have at regular intervals during the ride," she said.

"Moon simply would not trot up. I saw all my Tevis hopes melting away in front of me. The vets were very kind and let me have three goes, and it was only when one of my horse’s friends went ahead did he set off.

“It turned out I had twisted his bit by mistake which had rubbed his chin. After we sorted it out he was absolutely fine."

Next month she will be speaking about her experiences and helping raise money for Papworth Hospital at Wales’ Red Dragon Festival of Endurance, Builth Wells.

Her talk will take place at the Royal Welsh Showground on Saturday, 3 October.

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