Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Endurance in young rider’s blood as she takes on overseas competition

Long haul: Alex Toft, pictured with Magnum and her dog Perry Winkle, has been riding since age two. Picture: Sue Crockett

THERE’S never been any doubt that Alexandra Toft, 20, would take up endurance riding.

Her parents, Penny and Peter, run a successful endurance horse stable at Marburg in Queensland and compete internationally.

Toft has been riding since she was two and completed her first endurance event at seven.

She is just back in Australia after competing at San Rosorre, Pisa, Italy, in a 120km FEI two star young riders event.

She finished in a very creditable sixth place on the Toft’s home-bred mare, Dream Dancer TE.

There were 17 riders from Italy and Europe, five riders from the Middle East including the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, with one Australian in a field of 24 horses.

The race was won by a United Arab Emirates entrant at 22km per hour.

The first four places went to the Emirates, fifth to France and sixth to Toft.

Toft has represented Australia on four occasions at two World Youth Endurance Championships, receiving a team bronze medal in Abu Dhabi in 2011.

She also competed at the World Equestrian Games endurance test event in Sartilly, France, in 2013.

Her mount in the San Rosorre ride, Dream Dancer TE, has been stabled in France for three years and is trained by Jean Michel Grimal.

It was the first competitive race for the 11-year-old mare, who finished strongly at an average of 20.3km per hour.

“Dream Dancer TE was fresh at the end in a gallop finishing with the first of many local Italian riders,” Toft said.

“I was very excited with the ride and proud of my horse — she pulled up amazingly.

“It was a great experience riding among the world’s best.

“This was an important race in Dream Dancer’s career and will set her up for future competitions, she is a pleasure to ride and I am confident she will be a champion.”

Other events contested over the weekend included an FEI two-star 120km event and an FEI three-star 160km event.

Full article at The Weekly Times

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