The last week of August, 2012 saw the running of the 32nd Shahzada – the ultimate test of horsemanship – with 60 horses and riders from all over Australia covering 80kms a day for five days from the ride base in St Albans up and down the mountains that surround the MacDonald Valley in north west Sydney. There were two entrants from WA, two from Tasmania, three from SA, five from Qld, two from the ACT and 46 from NSW all embarking on long trips to experience the magic of Shahzada.
We had superb weather with some rain the week before to soften the tracks and then beautiful sunshine. The Committee and some of the wonderful volunteers without whom this ride would not go ahead, were there up to ten days prior to the ride erecting tents and gazebos, placing all the early birds in their campsites which continued right up to the start of the ride, putting water up in those mountains which is a major feat in itself as well as marking and still clearing after the savage winds that hit the area prior to the ride. 4am Monday, 27th August sixty riders took off up the Common Road…..what a buzz!!!
Kim Hagon on her part Arabian gelding Diamond R Boston recorded the fastest time of 34 hours for the 400 kms and was one of four horse and rider combinations to be called up for the Best Conditioned/Best Managed Horse award – the others were Sue Todd on her Appaloosa mare Shakista (six out of six completions), Cherry Cummins on her Arabian mare Winter Hill Alice and Jody Smith on her Anglo Arab gelding Rage On with Jody and Rage On taking out the prestigious award – a huge trophy and rug as pictured. There were 29 completions – each horse and rider earning a Shahzada buckle, acknowledging this amazing achievement.
The Halifax Hayes Fit & Well Award was presented to two horse and rider combinations this year – Ron Malone on Maringo and Stewart Lymbery on Garonne Park Walker with Maddie Hayes saying that both combinations were deserving of the recognition.
There were two encouragement awards for the ride this year….the Newscom Award for first time horse and rider combination went to Trish Smith from Tasmania on Beaucheval Akhiran and the Darryl Davis Encouragement Award went to Robert Catlin on Copperkahn Tiara. The First Australian Stock Horse across the line was Razorback Kadance ridden by Robin Young. There were a number of awards donated by the Knihinicki family – the oldest rider to complete was Karen Rhodes (this was Karen’s 17th buckle) on Stratfield Ghayth (Billy), the youngest was Tiarna Young on Burren-dah Narla who also received the Steve Locke Memorial Award, and Lyn Summerfield from WA took out the last rider home and the rider who travelled furthest on Orchid Park Silver Mecca. The Suncrest Arabians Award for the First Stallion to Finish went to Burren-dah Gladiator ridden by Martin Gregson.
There were 86 entrants in the Mini Marathon which was held over three days of 40kms per day and gave riders and horses the opportunity to get the taste of marathon riding with the idea that they will take up the challenge next year and attempt the 400 km Shahzada……63 riders were successful.
Shahzada is put together by a small committee and a large number of dedicated volunteers – thank you to everyone involved in the success of the 2012 Shahzada.
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