Saturday, September 06, 2008

Australia: World's highest ranked rider coming to ride in Tom Quilty

August 2008

Margaret "Meg" Wade is currently highest ranking endurance rider in the world – July 2008 and a Tom Quilty Gold Cup Champion.

Meg’s record includes three Tom Quilty wins, nine M/Wt Points National Rider of the Year and she has completed 62 endurance rides over 160 kms each time.

Meg and her husband Chris Gates run three properties on the border of Victoria and New South Wales. They live in the homestead on “Dingley Maze” in the Upper Murray Valley at Burrowye, 95km east of Albury/Wodonga.

Castlebar Endurance stud is famous in Australia and overseas for its breeding of Arabian and Arab derivative horses. Castlebar’s major client base is the Middle East.

While Meg loves breeding horses and riding (August 2nd 2008 she competed in the Canadian championships flying home in time to head for Victoria to ride the following weekend), she has another passion, thanks to noted Australian aviator Dick Smith. He introduced her to flying, helicopters in particular and after 12 months of training at Heliflite, Bankstown she received her wings. Four years later she has just taken ownership of her second helicopter, a Robertson 44.

Meg was born and bred on the land and has been riding since she was old enough to walk.
Her mother, Betty Wade now retired and living in Canberra, grew up in Broken Hill and passed on her love of horses to Meg.

Meg’s husband Chris Gates grew up in Nyngan in western NSW and was a member of
the local pony club. This was when he first heard of the famous Tom Quilty endurance ride, the largest of its type in the world. “We all wondered why riding one hundred miles in a day on the same horse was such a big deal, as we had ridden many miles in the bush out to Pony Club camps and mustering cattle” he said. This was back in 1966. “After all that was only riding from Nyngan to Dubbo.”

But that was on flat land, and in a leisurely manner. “When we first did the Quilty held in the Colo valley, north west of Sydney, up and down hills and through rough terrain, we realised just what a challenge it is,” Chris said.

Meg has her name emblazed on the Tom Quilty Gold Cup three times. This year she aims for a fourth.

The Tom Quilty Gold Cup will be held 19th, 20th, 21st September 2008 Nanango Queensland Australia

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