Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Australia: Wade returns to Tom Quilty Gold Cup

Weeklytimesnow.com.au

Kim Woods | October 5, 2011

LEGENDARY endurance rider Meg Wade has staged a remarkable comeback from a near fatal injury to ride at the Tom Quilty Gold Cup.

Meg, who suffered a brain injury in a horse riding accident almost three years ago, completed a "celebrity" 5km ride at the prestigious event.

Still aided by a walking frame, she completed the ride aboard an Anglo Arab mare called Actress.

She was accompanied by fellow competitor and friend, Ron Males, a winner of 25 Tom Quilty buckles.

Meg was buoyed by her stable rider Kristy Taprell winning this year's 160km Tom Quilty riding Kurrajong Concorde in 10 hours, 10 minutes and 42 seconds.

The Cup was held at Mt Pleasant in South Australia on September 30-October 1 and attracted 193 entries.

Staged in adverse weather conditions, the race resulted in 60 per cent of competitors completing the course.

Meg is the only person to win the Tom Quilty a record four times, and was ten times awarded Australian Endurance Rider of the Year.

She suffered a fractured skull in a fall from her horse during a 100km endurance ride at Tumbarumba, in southern NSW, in April 2009.

Meg was airlifted to Canberra in a coma and then spent nine months at Epworth Hospital in Melbourne.

Defying medical opinion she would never ride again, Meg took her first steps aboard a horse at Riding for the Disabled in Melbourne last December.

"I had my first 5km introductory ride in Victoria a few months ago and it was pretty special to be back in the saddle," she said.

"The best thing was I wasn't scared at all.

"I am taking things step by step."

Meg is aiming to complete a 20km introductory ride.

"I am walking now and need to get to the point where I can trot first – it will take time," she said.

Meg runs Castlebar Arabian stud with husband Chris Gates at Burrowye, in the Upper Murray.