Thursday, May 07, 2009

Australia: Sutton rides for Australia


Mudgee rider Mette Sutton has been invited to ride in the South Africa national championships in July.

Sutton was a member of the Australian support team at the world championships held in Malaysia last November.

She said yesterday that it was during the world championships that she first became aware of the possibility of Australian riders being invited to ride in South Africa.

"The president of the Australian Endurance Riders Association met with his South African counterpart in Malaysia about the possibility of some of our riders riding at the South African championships," Sutton said.

"They then called for Australian members to nominate.

"To nominate you had to be a member of the Australian Endurance squad, which is a squad for endurance riders who aspire to ride at representative level for their country.

"I received my invitation yesterday (Wednesday) and had just 24 hours to accept.

"I can tell you it didn't take me long to make the decision - this is too good an opportunity to miss."

Sutton is one of six Australians that have been invited to ride at the coming South African championships.

The South African championships are to be held at Fauresmith on July 7, 8 and 9.

"We arrive in South Africa on June 26 to give us time to meet and familiarise ourselves with our horses, which are being supplied by the host nation," she said.

"Their championships, like our Shazada, are three rides of 80 kilometres a day.

"While they are run like the Shazada, they are considered to be the equivalent of Australia's national ride - the Tom Quilty."

Sutton began her love of Endurance at age 15 and had a break to rear her young family and resumed in the sport in the year 2000.

She is now one of Australia's leading Endurance riders and was named the Mid-Western Regional Council’s sportsperson of the year during the Australia Day celebrations in January.

She won the popular Cooyal ride last year and on Sunday week will be out to defend that title.

She then will ride in the Gulgong ride on June 14 - her last ride before she leaves for Johannesburg.

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