Friday, June 12, 2009

Australia: Record-breaker off to United States

David Lems | 13th June 2009

FOR record-breaking Australian endurance horse rider Linda Meredith, her latest success has been something special.

However, she's even more excited about her future after a stunning performance at the recent national titles at Imbil, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

By winning the 160km endurance event for the first time, Kalbar-based Meredith qualified to represent her country at next year's World Equestrian Games in the United States.

"That will be huge," Meredith said, delighted about the prospect of taking on the world's best in Kentucky next year.

"I'm absolutely over the moon."

Meredith has been competing in endurance riding since 1995, enjoying top 10 finishes at major events and competing in Trans-Tasman series at New Zealand championships.

She also won six Tom Quilty buckles (at national events).

However, her latest achievement is her best so far. She's ecstatic her husband Ted and rapidly maturing grey gelding Anglesea Trooper are sharing the journey.

"Ted is my strapper, coat person and taxi driver," she laughed.

"We're very much a team.

"We've just been waiting for our horse to explode out of the blocks."

Meredith, a registered nurse at Ipswich Hospital, said having nine-year-old horse Anglesea Trooper starting to peak gave her more confidence.

"I've always known he had potential and he's been very hard work to keep him under wraps," she said.

"He's old enough now to be able to race.

"I believe our best years are ahead."

Meredith's 160km endurance event is over six stages on different courses.

"It's a race against the clock or each other," the former Gold Coaster said, having been in Kalbar for seven years.

What satisfied her last weekend was clocking the fastest 160km time in Australia.

"It's the thrill of the race," Meredith said, explaining why she loves endurance racing.

Nationals course director Bob Sample said the Sunday of last weekend's competition "belonged to Linda Meredith and Anglesea Trooper" after they quickly took charge, leading all the way on the 160km course.

The rider and her horse completed the journey in eight hours, 56 minutes.

"Anyone who is familiar with the Imbil forest trails will know what a great performance this was," Sample said.

Australian endurance squad manager Barb Timms agreed.

"Linda Meredith and the big white horse Trooper established the lead well and truly in the first leg and never faulted for the entire ride," Timms said.

Meredith trains three to four times a week in the Kalbar area, often riding around Lake Manchester and up the Boonah hills.

'I believe our best years are ahead.'

- Linda Meredith

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