Thursday, August 22, 2013

Riding high on State success

Drew Timbs
22nd Aug 2013

photo: Young gun James Coop in the saddle.

THE Gympie region's horse riding talent continues to thrive after local endurance veteran Ken Moir and up-and-coming rider James Coop recently won the Queensland Endurance Riding Championships.

Winning the middleweight category and junior category respectively, Moir and Coop have a special relationship they formed three years ago.

After showing interest in the sport when he was 12, Coop asked Moir to be his mentor and after some practice on a small pony, the youngster was ready to tackle some of the bigger events.

Only finishing fourth at last year's Queensland Championships, Coop has now stormed to the front of his competition and Moir says the promising 15 year old has a bright future ahead.

"He is showing incredible talent and I'm actually in awe of his impressive race last weekend," Moir said.

"It's one of the fastest 160km I have ever seen in more than 15 years of endurance riding and racing."

Averaging more than 18kmh, Coop led from start to finish which was another incredible feat.

"We headed out together and our game plan was to go out hard and maintain the lead," 61-year-old Moir said.

"On the fourth stage I told James to push on and he did exactly that which is amazing to see such a young rider going so well on his own."

In anticipation for the event, the Gympie duo trained on their horses up to five days a week travelling more than 30km to condition their horses Shian and Cameo Helmzman.

When asked where they get their inspiration, Moir said they can always look up to Alwyn Torenbeek.

"He's the oldest endurance riding going around at the age of 76," he said.

"It's an honour to know him and ride alongside him. He hardly ever misses an endurance ride and has a true passion for it."

The local duo hadn't planned what they are taking on next but whatever it is, they are likely to succeed.
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