The Cloudy Bay Floats Marlborough endurance ride was held in near-perfect conditions earlier this month in the Waihopai Valley.
More than 50 horse and rider combinations competed across the two days in classes ranging from the 20-kilometre introductory class to the International 2* CEI 120km class. Entrants came from around the South Island as well as Australia and Saudi Arabia, with the foreign riders competing on Kiwi horses.
On day one, 10 riders started in the 120km class and it was fairly obvious from the start that Blenheim's Kevin Prangley was set to better his second placing in Canterbury last month against Canterbury-based rider Kylie Avery.
The pair came in together off the first 40km loop with a couple of other riders hot on their heels.
The second loop, after a 40-minute rest period, was 32km and the gap lengthened slightly between the two leaders and the rest of the field.
Heading out on to loop three (24km), Avery had a small advantage, but Prangley soon closed that gap and again the gap between them and the rest widened.
Unfortunately, a vet out for Avery after this loop left Prangley and his exotic stallion WD Amir Ibn Kaliph with little competition. By this stage, they had an hour's lead on their nearest rivals, with 24km to go.
As temperatures soared, Prangley and his little horse crossed the finish line and entered the vet ring for the final time to take the victory.
Ten years ago, on a neighbouring Waihopai property, iconic endurance rider Leo Nisbett died of a heart attack during a Marlborough endurance ride and his family donated a trophy to the 120km winner in his honour.
Prangley was also uncontested in the prestigious best conditioned ceremony.
Also finishing this gruelling ride were locals Penelope Valk, who rode Laanvin NZL to fifth, and Kim Swan on Roselea Shady in sixth.
Saturday also featured the a 1* CEI 80km and 40km classes. The victor in the 80km three-loop ride was South Canterbury's Nigel Kerr, edging out Waihopai's Linda Harmon in a gallop finish, after the pair had ridden the entire ride together.
Kerr's horse, Dahma La Ish, was also awarded best conditioned.
There was also a 1* CEI 80km ride on the Sunday, which was once again hotly contested.
Nigel Kerr, competing for a double, was narrowly beaten by Canterbury's Chris Musson riding Connie, both coming in under five hours.
Marlborough club president Heidi Bulfin claimed fourth spot on her horse's first start at FEI level.
Cloudy Bay Floats Marlborough CEI and CEN Endurance results, Saturday, December 18
Vet Centre Marlborough 2* CEI 120km: Kevin Prangley, WD Amir Ibn Kaliph 1 and BC, 7.12.21; Ian Grey, B/B Boy Named Sue 2; Robyn Marshall, Aquila Toby 3; Alison Higgins, Twynham El Desiree 4; Penelope Valk, Laanvin 5; Kim Swan, Roselea Shady 6.
Superior Covers 1* CEI 80km: Nigel Kerr, Dahma La Ish 1 and BC, 5.08.40; Linda Harmon, MF El Marees 2; Philip Graham, Rosewood Bashir 3; Carla Barakat, Naibara Silver Moon 4; Helen Bray, Sherwood Ayshah 5; Angela Head, CD Shaka 6; Ahmed Alanazi, Dahman Al Badi NZL Q; Kaye Blundell, Waitohi Sarina Lady Q; Hayden Watson, Masada Park Matador Q.
Georges Michel Wine Estate 1* CEI JY 80km: Helen Graham, Ra'oul Abu Rakheem 1 and BC, 5.34.37; Ingrid Ambrosiussen, CD Uproar 2; Ariana Ranui, Karamea Messala 3.
Saddlery Warehouse 40km open: Lorraine Stratford, Jay 1, 2.37.47; Donna Carter, GSD Espaarence 2.
Makana Confectionery 40km novice: Tim Blunt, Hundalee Calyx Q; Sally Blunt, Hundalee Pumpernickel Q.
Sunday, December 12:Wadsco's Holden 1* CEI 80km: Chris Musson, Connie 1, 4.57.12; Nigel Kerr, Rowallan Dee Jay 2; Vanessa Tiffen, Aztec Dreamweaver 3; Heidi Bulfin, Stonelea Sparkling Rose 4; Alison Higgins, Twynham El Jazeera 5 and BC; David Marshall, Forrest NZL 6.
NRM 1* CEI JY 80km: Ariana Ranui, Karim NZL 1 and BC, 7.40.23.
Winesale.co.nz 80km novice: Linda Kenney, Seawind Dancer Q; Peter May, GA Mahsaal Jack Q; Hamish Malcolm, Northwinds Apollo Q; Ahmed Alanazi, Makahiwi Tblisi Q.
Dominion Salt 80km novice junior: Charlotte Wadsworth, MF Zanbuck Q.
Hendersons Limited 20km intro: Fiona Radford, Chat by Chance Q; Lee Oldfield, PHD Q; Nicky Tennant, Ruby Q; Vivien Wadsworth, Leroy Brown Q; Glenys Parsons, Stirling McAvoy Q; Cheryl Payne, Abby Q; Deborah Pruden, Zahav Beech Babe Q; Jane Butler, El Etruscan Q; Pam Harris, Zilla D'Oro Q; Kaye Smith, Lucas Q; Emma Pilcher, Talk About Q; Sophie Andrews, Squirrel Q; Stoney Bourke, Arnie Q; Portia Barcello, Heineken Q.
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