Thursday, September 02, 2010

Australia: St Albans hosts horse riding marathon - Full Article

03 Sep, 2010 01:14 PM

Neil Clarkson from Glenhaven achieved a mighty milestone last week by winning a gold-plated buckle and the Halifax Hayes Fit and Well award riding his Arabian stallion Espirit Sherwood at Shahzada.

They came from all over Australia to take part in the annual 400 kilometre marathon ride held at St Albans. For 30 years, the little Hawkesbury village has been the ride base for the longest endurance ride in the world. This year 79 riders ranging in age from 13 to 73 took part in the event where the motto is To Finish is to Win.

Starting at 4am each morning, competitors rode 80 kilometres a day for five days in the picturesque Macdonald Valley and the Dharug National Park. Not for the faint-hearted are sections of the track such as Prestons and the Steps whose names belie the challenges they present. Participants are off 'tailing' their horses up and down rocky cliffs which test the endurance of both horse and rider. Twice daily veterinary checks ensure the horses are fit to continue.

Marion Lengronne from Anstead in Queensland, riding Arabian mare Sasam, lead the field from day one, completing the ride in 32hrs 19mins...

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