A group of 58 riders from all over WA enjoyed a picturesque day at Mokine near Northam on August 5, for the Avon Valley Ride.
The competiiton has been held from Blair Wilding's property for the last four years and previously at Muresk.
At 7am, 13 competitors were immediately engulfed in a heavy fog only to emerge to a splendid sunrise across the town of Northam from Eric Fox's farm.
The first rider to cross the finish line and passing the necessary vet requirements was Lienca Nell a middleweight rider on her Arab gelding Ruoak Daryus in a ride time of five hours and eight minutes.
She was very pleased with the result as a month earlier her horse had vetted out at the Tom Quilty National Endurance Championships held in South Australia.
Overall there was a completion rate of over 90 percent and in the 20 kilometre event a 100 percent completion which showed how well the new comers to the sport were looking after their horses.
Many local volunteers and landowners stepped up to the task of gatekeeping, road marshalling and manning checkpoints until the last rider was safely back to base.
At the end of the day riders gathered to receive their awards which included local prizes contributed by many local sponsors.
A hot air balloon ride donated by Windward Ballooning was won by a woman manning two gates on the day and she has enthusiastically already booked her flight.
Event organiser Amanda Rayner said endurance riding is a lifestyle that consumes those that are passionate about the sport.
“With it comes the highest of highs and the lowest of lows and we gain lots from both of them,” she said.
“It is a test of our spirit, compassion and our communication with a creature with whom we share our life during the long hours and kilometres of training and competition.”
The ride season runs from early March to mid November with rides taking place every fortnight.
Over the next month two further rides will be held east of Perth, Greenhills and at Merredin.
Endurance riding is a family fun sport.
Without the support of the local landowners, the event could never have been held.
For further information go to www.waera.asn.au or contact organiser Amanda Rayner on 9622 9533.
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