Friday, December 29, 2006

Sporting Linda helps Kiwis' rivals

By BETHANY MARETT - The Timaru Herald | Friday, 29 December 2006

It's not everyday you lend your "sports gear" to the opposition, but for Timaru woman Linda Pullar it's all about sportsmanship.

While Pullar will not be competing in the trans-Tasman 120km endurance horse riding event in Nelson next week, two of her horses will – carrying Australian riders.

While many poeple would question the rivalry, Pullar said it was all about sportsmanship and prestige.

Her Kishon Arabian stud has become internationally known for producing endurance horses with two already sold overseas.

The trans-Tasman event was a good way to enhance that reputation she said.

And athough she still hopes to be selected for the New Zealand team one day, in the meantime she has the satisfaction of seeing the horses she has trained taking part in the event.

Pullar has clocked up nearly 2000km on her nine-year-old horse Kishon Fashamatazz, which one of the Australians will ride.

Kishon Abigail, at seven years old, is not quite as experienced, but will be the ride for a second Australian team member .

While preparing two horses would be work enough, Pullar has also qualified a further two horses as "spare wheels".

Unfortunately one of the wheels has already fallen off as one horse has contracted mud fever due to the recent damp conditions and will not compete.

Kishon Brittany Blue, owned by her daughter Veronica will now be the sole travelling reserve.

The Australian riders will try out the horses the day before the race, then deciding on which to compete.

Pullar said hopping on a new horse was not a problem for experineced riders.

"They know how to drive, and where the gears are, they just have to adjust to the different model."

So is she right? While I haven't ridden for nearly two years and was never a spectacular jockey at the best of times, I took up the offer and saddled up for some endurnace training of my own.

I certainly hope the Australian riders are better than me because after I had spent two minutes on the sprightly Fashamatazz, Pullar suggested I board the somewhat more sedate Brittany.

But after going round the block at an energetic trot I soon understood how a well-trained horse made the rider's job that much easier.

While Brittany might be the "spare wheel" she gave me a great ride home – safely, securely and even left me without a sore bottom.

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