Competing at your first senior endurance tournament may have daunted some but 14-year-old Ollie Holman admitted he wasn’t too nervous as he headed to Euston Park.

The Imberhorne School pupil finished 22nd in the HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup 80km distance on his horse Grace.

The largest ever ride staged in Europe, endurance consists of three separate distances with riders competing in the 80km, 120km and 160km.

Endurance is a mixed gender sport and the winning is the first one to cross the finishing line while stopping periodically to pass strict veterinary checks which deem the horse fit to continue.

Once the horse crosses the line, its heart rate must be within a certain level and must pass a series of final health checks otherwise the competitor is eliminated.

The teenager, from East Grinstead, couldn’t hide his excitement at competing at a major senior tournament for the first time.

“It went really well, the course was fantastic. It was challenging but it was nice and flowing, it had twists and turned with it, you couldn’t switch off. You had to keep going,” he said.

“I wasn’t feeling too tired after it, I was on a high. I’m most nervous at pre-rides just to make sure. It’s so good that you have your horses checked all of the time.

“This was my horses first one-star event and I wasn’t sure how it was going to be because it’s so big but everyone has been so welcoming and so nice.

The relationship between rider and horse is fundamental to success and Ollie believes endurance is not just a physical challenge but a mental challenge.

He said: “The horse-rider partnership is the key, I had to hold her back at the start because I knew she would burn out otherwise.

“I think it’s physically tough for everyone. Doing a dressage test is quite mentally challenging but this is mental and physical, you can never switch off.

“You cannot do it without the crew, everyone talks about the backroom staff but you don’t believe it until you actually see them hard at work.

“This was my first time so I didn’t think about anyone else taking part other than myself, which paid off. I was feeling alright in the end, a little nervous.”

HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup Festival UK Endurance Masters was the largest Endurance event ever to be held in Europe. For more information visit