Thursday, May 07, 2009

Australia: Riders ready for Cooyal


Mudgee endurance riders dominated the ride held at Tooraweenah on April 19, a result that shows that the locals and their horses are in great shape for the coming Cooyal ride.

The Tooraweenah ride attracted 31 riders in the 80 kilometre ride and 34 in the 40 kilometre training ride.

Mudgee riders Mette Sutton, Garry Bennett and Gloria Mills rode together throughout the event accompanied by Bernie Harvey from Tooraweenah.

Bennett said it was a benefit to have Harvey ride with them as, being a local, it made it easier to find the track markers in the pitch darkness of the 5am start.

This made sure the Mudgee contingent didn’t stray off course in the early stages but they were faced with a rocky, hilly track that was affected by the dry spell of weather, which resulted in horses having to travel over loose stones underfoot.

Riders needed to be sensible in their approach to the course to ensure their mounts did not slip - especially when travelling down hill.

Middleweight rider Bennett riding 'Karabil Yaningi' pulled away from his companions after the final descent down Ned's Mountain and crossed the line ahead of the field to win the ride in four hours 58 minutes.

Sutton and 'Tuldar the Magician' were second across the line one minute after the winner and, much to Sutton’s delight, her mount was awarded the fittest horse.

Mills and 'Glendos Sabodie' arrived back at the base for the final time shortly after her Mudgee co-riders to take out the lightweight division and the fittest horse for that division.

Mudgee's only casualty on the day was Paddy Smith, whose horse was unfortunately vetted out lame.

Harvey, who rode the early stages with the Mudgee contingent, was the heavyweight winner.

Natasha Mitchell riding 'Rami' was successful in completing the training ride.

The Cooyal ride, hosted by the Mudgee Endurance Club is just over a week away and ride organisers will mark the course this coming Tuesday (May 12).

Local residents of Cooyal, Kains Flat and Botobolar are advised that endurance riders will be present on local roads on Saturday, May 16 and the following day.

Endurance spokesperson Pat Dickinson said the Mudgee committee hopes that anyone interested in taking up sport will participate in the 20 kilometre social ride at Cooyal.

"Endurance is not a race - it is a ride where the riders have to complete a course and do it in a way that the horse comes through the event fit and well," Dickinson said.

“In the social ride there are no winners or placings awarded - it is purely an introduction to the sport and is designed to give riders an idea of the way an endurance ride is conducted.

"An experienced pace rider will be appointed to accompany those taking part in the social ride.

"The social ride generally has an average speed of 10kph or slower - it is an easy course and is more like a trial ride."

Riders in the social ride receive a successful completion award to those riders whose horses who pass the veterinary examination after the ride.

"We hope these awards encourage participants to aspire to explore endurance at a higher level," Dickinson said.

"Our committee extends an invitation to all those riders who have been intrigued by the sport to come to Cooyal on the Saturday to find out more about this sport and perhaps take part in the social ride on Sunday."

For further information or to register for the Cooyal ride contact Mette Sutton (63724960) or Par Dickinson (63735346).

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