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By DENISE GUNN - Feilding Herald | Tuesday, 02 September 2008
Clocking up the miles has paid off for Mangaweka endurance rider Andrea Smith and her 9-year-old anglo arab gelding Sierra Nevada, as the pair have earned qualification for the World Endurance Championships in Malaysia.
The championships are held every two years and are considered one of the toughest horse endurance races, covering a distance of 160km.
Although this is the first time a major World Endurance championship has been held in tropical weather, it is scheduled to coincide with the monsoon season in November to take advantage of the cooler temperatures.
Up to 150 riders from 43 countries are expected to compete in the event, starting on November 7.
Several veterinarians will be present and horses are thoroughly checked before the race starts. Vet checks continue at intervals throughout the ride and again after horses and riders cross the finish line.
The horse's heart rate must not exceed 64 beats a minute within a 30-minute recovery time.
Mrs Smith will head to Auckland with her horse and the other two members of the New Zealand team in early October.
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