She may have not finished herself but Nicki Thorne was delighted with the impact the HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup Festival will have on endurance racing.

Thorne, 46, was taking part in a home race at Euston Park, in Norfolk, and had been going well on her horse Crazy Girl in the 160km discipline before retiring with 40km to go.

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.

Despite the disappointment of not completing the ride, Thorne, who grew up in Wicklewood, near Wymondham, thinks the competition has helped grow the sport.

“It was just an amazing event, there were so many people there and it’s a glorious park,” she said.

“It’s so kind of the Duke of Grafton to allow us to ride around his grounds. The whole area looked amazing, it’s such a great place to ride in.

“The incredible atmosphere we had was great and it was an opportunity for us to showcase the sport.

“The organisers maintain such a lovely demeanour in the way they look after us and stay calm and keep everything moving swiftly. It’s a huge testament to all of them to put on such an event.”

The three-day event held at Euston Park saw more 400 riders from 35 nations take part.

And the former world No.1 believes the competition was more than just about the tournament itself.

The businesswoman said: “It’s one of the fastest growing FEI sports and based on numbers that was one of the biggest events in the UK this year. We’re really hoping this will help more people join the sport and come to venues across the UK and ride in different terrain.

“It’s so fun to meet new friends and learn about different people and their horses – you have a great venue there with the party the night before as well so there was plenty of time to socialise.”

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