Monday, November 06, 2006

Thrilling sprint finish to endurance ride

MORE than 100 riders, their family and spectators gathered at Green Valley farm recently for the final endurance ride event of the year.

This was the fourth year at this ride base and once again it proved popular.

On the Saturday afternoon 11 horse and rider combinations set off on the 10km social ride.

Bob Watters, Rosie Long, Stacey Walls, Jack Fryer, Sarah Dickens, and Stephanie Kramer were local riders who enjoyed the scenic track through private property.

It was a successful event with 100 per cent of the riders passing the final veterinary check, and being awarded certificates of completion at presentation.

A large field of horses and riders started out in the dark the following morning armed with torches for the first 50km leg of the endurance ride.

The training riders followed just after daybreak.

The weather was perfect with a chill in the air and overcast skies prevailing throughout much of the day.

The track went through joining private properties and Mt Toppa State Forest.

The track covered varied terrain with some hills to climb, creeks to cross and flat country to canter over.

Riders seemed to enjoy the ride through the local countryside, appreciating the well-marked and slashed track.

There was an 89 per cent completion rate in the 40km training ride. The only local rider was Suzanne McLachlan, who successfully rode a dark bay pony gelding known as Pipin.

Young Simon Blackly from Uralla, riding Steel The Thunder, was awarded the training ride encouragement award donated by Campbell Brothers Inverell.

The riders did a fantastic job looking after their horses, with an 81 per cent completion score in the 80km endurance ride an improvement on last year).

For the fourth year not one horse required invasive treatment.

It was a thrilling end to the 80km endurance ride with four riders galloping into base, all aiming to be the winner.

Wayne McKinnon, crossed the finish line by a nose, only to collapse and fall from his horse onto the ground. His body had cramped up from the strain of the ride.

His time of 4hr 18min was a record.

Wayne was presented with the perpetual Winners Cup at presentation.

Other results ? first middleweight rider: Wayne McKinnon (riding Dunbar Lexus).

Best conditioned middleweight horse award: Tami Parnell (Genet Zac).

First heavyweight rider: Selwyn Nix (Dunbar Mahadik).

Best conditioned heavyweight horse award: John Davidson (Heatherbrook Knight Rider).

First junior rider: Breonie McLennon (Desert Sand).

First lightweight rider: Terri Anderson (Ashwind).

Best conditioned lightweight horse award: Angela Hawks (Sikis Keeper).

Special mention to young Stacey Walls, of Inverell, who completed her first 80km endurance ride.

Helena South, also from Inverell, started the ride, but, unfortunately, her mare vetted out as lame during the ride.

Each best conditioned horse received a horse rug sponsored by the New England Credit Union, while the first three placegetters in each division were presented with towels sponsored by Harris Seeds, Inverell.

Best managed novice horse in the 80km endurance ride was Shardell Shahbarnah, ridden by an international rider from Japan, Sachiko Murai.

The horse's owner was pleased to receive the bags of horse feed donated by Gilgai Rural Supplies.

Helen South won the Baker's Barn local rider draw, while Jenny Annetts was runner-up for the bag of feed donated by Landmark, Inverell.

Terri Anderson's Arabian mare won a free service to the stallion River Oak Fame, owned by John and Sue Bell, of Coolatai.

The KFC Family Feasts volunteer vouchers were handed to Stacy Whiteman and Nicholas McGrath.

The State of Origin teams event proved to be popular this year.

The Girls and Gavin team of four riders were successful in being awarded the perpetual clock trophy.

Jenny Annetts, Tami Parnell, Sasha Laws King and Gavin Groth teamed up to achieve a winning average ride time of 4hr 41min.

The After Thoughts were runners-up. Helen South, Pip Lillyman, Dean Chamberlain and Alan Standfield received a family feast voucher from KFC, Inverell.
[original story]

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