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Wadi Rum to Petra desert ride: Jordan Bedouin Challenge

PUBLISHED: 10:05 10 February 2014 | UPDATED: 10:05 10 February 2014


A 20-year-old Equine Science student from Keinton Mandeville, has completed a charity sponsored ride across the Wadi Rum desert, Jordan, raising £2242.60 for the British Horse Society

During the last week of October Poppy Newton-Clare completed a sponsored ride in aid of the British Horse Society, riding across the Wadi Rum desert up to Petra. In total she raised £2242.60.

Poppy says she was astonished how emotionally challenging the ride proved to be.

“Between Wadi Rum and Petra life, did indeed, throw many challenges at us, such as losing suitcases from support vehicles to our guide unable to find the camp not far from sun set!” she recalls.

“We could not have been blessed with a more suitable guide, Mohammed, having being brought up in the valley of Wadi Mousa (the village of Petra), and a genuine Bedouin complete with red and white scarf upon his head, riding the most beautiful Arab mare called Amber. He sure knew his way around the desert, to this day I fail to understand how he navigated!

“Throughout the week I rode three different horses, the first was a sweet, very young and very quiet pony which a less experience rider asked to swap with me. My second horse had an extremely strong, unexplainable friendship with another mare and unfortunately due to unknown reasons suffered from some sort of severe dehydration/exhaustion. Our wonderful vet, Daifallah, with his magic lotions, potions, pain killers and a gentle touch he did everything he could to keep them going. But on the penultimate day they went into a state of muscle spasm and had to be taken to hospital. I have been informed by Mohammed that they have both now fully recovered.

“For the last day I was delivered a fantastic marathon horse for our tough day riding at a high incline, from sea level to 2000 metres above sea level. Words cannot describe the views both my horse and I enjoyed, from which we could just about see a tiny dot in the distance which was our destination…. Petra!”

Poppy says that one of the most daunting moments was crossing the highway, which entailed lining up four at a time and waiting for a gap before running across.

“Followed by beeping truck horns travelling from Iraq, Syria and Saudi and the carcasses of two horses on the other side, I think our hearts stopped beating for a moment,” she adds.

“We soon arrived in Petra, an extremely tearful moment for everyone as we fed apples and carrots to our beloved ponies and said goodbye know that we may never see again. Finally our reward as we reached the rose red city of Petra with inexplicable beauty and history within a hidden valley! Although a few minor challenges were faced on our journey, they did not get in the way of the beautiful scenery we were surrounded by each day and night. These views caused feelings and emotions I have never experienced before, with natural beauty that will remain in my memory for as long as I live.”

Poppy says she must not forget to mention their chef, Mahmoud, who was up every morning without fail at the crack of dawn preparing a healthy breakfast of omelette, salad, halva, pittas and the occasional cake.

“We also enjoyed Bedouin tea (they liked to call whisky). Evening meals were outstandingly cooked, in spite of such limited facilities he never failed to serve food which topped every meal I have ever eaten at any 5* hotels.

“If I brought home anything from Jordan it is the huge aspiration to return in the future to help improve the economic benefit of working horses, donkeys and mules, by educating the owners to prevent welfare issues which are currently present. They play an important role in so many families’ lives and some suffer consequences. This is my life time goal to help make a difference in countries such as Jordan.

“If you ever wish to visit Jordan I highly recommend Mohammed, he is a caring gentleman with so much great understanding of nature and his country.

“Finally I would like to say a huge thank you to every single person who sponsored me, the journey was an emotional rollercoaster on which I learnt a lot about both myself and the horses, it could never have happened without you.”


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