Audi Q7 on Horse Endurance 2018 Event Route

Bob Rupani Updated: February 12, 2018, 09:50 AM IST

The Horse Endurance Championship was held in Lonavala, Maharashtra on 28th January 2018. This was the second edition of this exciting annual event and we were invited to open the route. The vehicle we chose to help us execute the role of 'Route Official' was the Audi Q7 TDI, which is powered by a V6 turbo charged diesel that generates 245PS and 600 Nm of torque.

Audi Q7 on the Horse Endurance 2018 route

Organized by the Indigenous Horse Owners Association, the 'Horse Endurance' started at the first stroke of daybreak giving the horses and riders enough cool weather to set a good pace and show what they are capable of. And they did. The energy was unrelenting and the challenge immense, given the uneven nature of the terrain and the difficulty of the cross- country course.

Going round the dirt course was great fun and the 245 horses under the bonnet, ensured we could drift in delight

Over fifty participants on their fine Indian pedigree horses took to the field in three categories – the 20, 40 and 60 kms courses. The Audi Q7 packing 245 German horses under its bonnet was in its element in such elite company, and thankfully we had many opportunities to unleash its well engineered horses on the route. The Quattro all-wheel drive system ensured the Q7 was as sure footed as the best competing horses and thanks to the adaptive air suspension, we could raise the ride height and increase the ground clearance to safely negotiate the off-road dirt track course that the 'Horse Endurance' was run on.

The Q7 sure can kick up some dust. But how many owners will actually enjoy doing that in their SUV's?

Interestingly, the top riders achieved timings of less than an hour in the 20 kms course event and the 40 and 60 kms participants did repeat laps of the well marked cross-country course with half-hour cooling periods in between each lap for both the horses and riders to recover their energy.

Almost all riders participated on Marwari horses, which are one of India's finest indigenous breeds and are known for their stamina and ability to run long distances. Like we said earlier, the Audi Q7 with its 245 horses was in really good company at this 'Horse Endurance' event.

The Horse Endurance 2018 was very well organized and had over 50 participants

The cross-country route even had some wet and water bound stretches

The riders tried to keep pace with each other and often rode in groups

The riders in the junior category were most impressive and not only displayed enthusiasm but also lots of skill

Whatever the challenge, the horses and riders were up to it

Bakhtiar Irani of Parsi Dairy Farm was the well deserved overall winner. Last year he had finished 2nd

Riders have to be very careful not to injure their horses on the rocky and stony sections

Tanmay Vandre is amongst the most committed and brave junior riders

The event also saw participation from the fairer sex and they were cheered all the way

Colonel Ashok Kumar Yadav (FEI 2-star international judge) from the Equestrian Federation of India was the Chief Judge

Dr. Ramanathan the principal vet of the event, has a modified Tata Xenon pick-up to cater to most medical needs of horses

He even has an on-board furnace to help him fabricate custom made horse-shoes

Dr. Ramanathan heating a metal strip in the furnace

Dr. Ramanathan fabricating a horse-shoes from a metal strip that has just been heated in the furnace

Dr. Ramanathan is the only vet making custom made horse-shoes in India

Dr. Ramanathan is very passionate about his work and loves talking about it

Dr. Ramanathan's forged horse-shoe made thanks to the furnace mounted in the Tata Xenon

Meheru Patel was in charge of hospitality at the event and did a splendid job. She used a Polaris ATV to move around the vast event area

Ajay Nensee, a horse owner and one of the organizers has a nice Maruti Suzuki Gypsy

Ajay Nensee also has a fully equipped horse ambulance which was on standby during the event

Photos: Ajay Raut and Bob Rupani

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