Sunday, July 31, 2022

American and South African win world’s toughest horse race

Shari Thompson photo

July 331 2022

After a two year absence, the world’s longest and toughest horse race, The Mongol Derby, has been thundering across Mongolia’s steppe for the last eight days. In one of the closest ever races, an American and South African rode in joint winners yesterday.

Based on the ancient horse messenger system used by Genghis Khan, in a country where the horse is king, at 1000km the Derby is the toughest test on the planet for equestrian endurance riders. Whilst horses are changed roughly every 35km, at checkpoints strung out throughout the country, riders must endure being in the saddle for up to 200km a day and face the challenges of riding over twenty-eight different semi-wild horses, with varying temperaments and bucking abilities, the inevitable falls and mishaps that happen along the way and navigating through challenging terrain, from giant sand dunes to freezing mountain passes.

After the pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 editions, the twelfth Mongol Derby kicked off on the 23rd of July and looked set to be one of the most fiercely contested races to date, with 46 riders, from ten different nations, competing for the prestigious win.

Day one saw young Kiwi pair, Sam Edney and Annie Hackett, take an early lead, as other racers suffered navigational errors and falls. By the end of day two riders had found their groove, and four had caught the Kiwis, as six riders bunked down together at station six - the race is made up of twenty eight stations, strung out along the route. Riders aim to be at one by the end of the riding day, but can opt to, or unintentionally, wild camp or try and find a friendly Mongolian family with space in a ger.

By day three riders were pulling out of the race with bruised and battered bodies (some chose to ride on with broken bones) whilst others served time penalties for riding past cut-off times the night before. The names changed, but the end of the day still saw six riders neck and neck, amongst them experienced riders Irishman Patrick Heffron and Brit Chris Walker.

The pair’s navigational nous saw them take a slender, but clear, lead on day four as the race hit some serious mountainous terrain and the weather deteriorated to ‘cold, wet and miserable’ - a sudden change for a field up until now more concerned with getting enough water on board than shaking it off.

Day five and the pair kept their lead, just, as they chose to wild camp only 18 minutes ahead of a chasing pack of seven, including American Diedre Jackson and South African Willemein Jooste. Patrick and Chris rode out front through days six and seven, but never with enough of a lead to relax and, with just a few hours riding left, on the final day (the morning of the 30th), Diedre and Willemein passed them - a perfect example of how tackling the Derby as a team can carry you a long way (sharing navigation, helping each other out of scrapes and generally keeping up moral). They crossed the finish line together to win the toughest horse race on the planet, leaving Chris and Patrick to finish just behind to take joint third.

Diedre, 34 from Jackson Hole, became the second person from Wyonming to win the race in a row, after Bob Long in 2019 (whom she spoke to before the race) and made an incredible recovery during the race, after being right at the back at the end of Day One. Willemien Jooste, 38 from Philipstown, became the fifth South African to cross the finish line in first place.

Comments from the finish line:

Diedre Jackson on being at the back of the race on Day One

“That was demoralizing. I decided with fellow rider Lena Haug at start camp that we would head the straightest route. We underestimated the elevation and so it look us a long time to reach station 1. That was one of my best horses of the Derby and it’s a bit of a shame I didn’t get to race him against the front of the pack. Overall though, I think it was a blessing as I wasn’t then running with the front runners and pushing my horses out of competitiveness. My strategy never changed throughout the whole race: Race my race & ride the horse I’m on.”

Overtaking the leaders right at the end of the race was a stand-out moment for her

“The high was the last day at HS 27 where we made a great nav choice and had an opening to overtake the front runners we’d been chasing for so many days.”

| Whilst motivations for taking part on the Derby included inspiring her children,

“This race has always piqued my interest as an epic challenge both mentally and physically. Travelling horseback I think is the best way to see a new country, and getting to interact with the locals in such a horse-oriented culture was really special. One of my main reasons for competing in this race is to show my girls (5 & 6 yrs old) that they should dream big, and they can achieve anything they set their minds to with hard work & determination.”

and raising funds for the hospital in Jackson

“I raised money for the hospital in Jackson, WY to begin a mental wellness program for new parents. This helps screen new parents for post-partum depression and connect them to subsidised mental health care. This was very important to me after I struggled with PPD after having both my daughters. We raised over $100,000 and the program launched in March 2022!”

Willemien Jooste also had tough moments in the race,

“It’s very tough, no doubt about it. It’s getting up every day and pushing on no matter the heat or cold or tiredness. It was a constant mental game telling yourself to stay positive, smile no matter how tired you are and keep going.”

Whilst the Mongolian culture and teaming up with Diedre were highlights for her

“My high was teaming up with Deidre. We got along great and sharing the load made it so much lighter work. We shared jokes and kept each other motivated to keep going. It helped when the going got tough to share the moment and get over it and smile at what you have already achieved by just being where we were.

Our last night with a family in a valley was the best, they were extremely friendly and showed and shared every part of their lifestyle with us. The husband even got up early the next morning to help us saddle our horses and see us safely on the road. To watch a day in the life of a Nomadic Mongolian family is a rare experience. I am honoured to have been allowed to see and experience it to the full.”


On chasing down the leading pair of Patrick Heffron and Chris Walker, Willemien commented:

“It is always better to be the hunter than the hunted. We tried not to think about it too much though. We rather tried to focus on our own race. We would select good horses that would keep up with each other and looked like athletes. This usually worked well and we would have one in front of the other if needed to keep each other motivated and keep up the pace. Deidre would keep an eye on the navigation and select the best route to the next horse station- preferring to select the best route for the horses and to spare as much energy as posssible whilst still setting a good pace. We kept our focus on ‘steady but consistant’, and had two basic motivations to keep us going:

“How do you eat an elephant? Bite by bite” and “don’t sit down””
For more details on the race, which is run by British company The Adventurists, visit
www.equestrianists.com

Royal team rider wins French race

GDNonline.com - Full Article

Fri, 29 Jul 2022

SHAIKH Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa won first place in the 160km race of the Jullianges International Endurance Championship in France, leading the Royal Endurance Team to victory in an event which featured elite European jockeys.

The victory was praised by His Majesty the King’s representative for humanitarian works and youth affairs and Royal Endurance Team captain Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa...

Read more here:
https://www.gdnonline.com/Details/1128667

Friday, July 29, 2022

July Mongol Derby Day 6: Run for the hills

Equestrianists.com - Full Story

Holly Conyers
29th July 2022

Day 6 of the July 2022 Mongol Derby, and the tension is ratcheting up a notch. Chris Walker (CWA) and Patrick Heffron (PHE) are clinging on to their lead by a nose, having made it into HS20 this evening. Deirdre Griffith (DRG), Tiffany Atteberry (TAT) and Willemien Jooste (WJO) are camped between HS19 and HS20, holding off the rest of the front runners right behind them at HS19. Will CWA and PHE keep their cool to shake off the ladies doggedly stalking them across the steppe, or crumble under the pressure? It’s all to play for as we enter the final stages of the Derby, with just eight horse stations left between the leaders and the finish line. But this is no cake walk: the riders have hit the mountains, throwing some major spanners in the works...

Read more here:
https://equestrianists.com/updates/july-mongol-derby-day-6-run-for-the-hills/

Thursday, July 28, 2022

July Mongol Derby Day 5: Hump day

Equestrianists.com - Full Story

Holly Conyers
27th July 2022

The brave yet bonkers riders of the July 2022 Mongol Derby have broken the back of the beast. They are over hump day, with five of the maximum 10 riding days behind them. And what a day it was: a beautiful, clear morning heated up into a warm afternoon, with just a smattering of refreshing showers as riders sped through lush, verdant valleys and negotiated sandy tracks. The going was good and the horses pleasantly co-operative, but our leaders have struggled to extend their lead from the tenacious chasing pack. Chris Walker (CWA) and Patrick Heffron (PHE) remain out in front after seizing the lead last night, but they have a fragile 18 minute advantage on the seven gritty riders stubbornly clinging onto their tails, camped just behind them at HS16.

Race HQ elected to extend riding hours by an extra 60 minutes until 19:00 today in light of the pleasant weather, to give riders more time to get flying through the course. Bringing up the rear of the field with irresistible good cheer, Alexa Towersey (ATO), Eleanor Aitken (EAI), Tobias Endress (TEN), Marianne Finch (MFI), Sara Beck (SBE) and Brandy Dobbyn (BDO) were allowed an additional hour to be accounted for in the final totting up of riding times, in order to bunch the field back together a little more...

Read more at:
https://equestrianists.com/updates/july-mongol-derby-day-5-hump-day/

Mongolia: World’s Longest & Toughest Horse Race Returns



July 27 2022
Daniel at New Chapter Marketing

After a two year absence, the world’s longest and toughest horse race, The Mongol Derby, is back with a bang, with two races running back to back.

Based on the ancient horse messenger system used by Genghis Khan, in a country where the horse is king, at 1000km the Derby is the toughest test on the planet for equestrian endurance riders. Whilst horses are changed roughly every 35km, at checkpoints strung out throughout the country, riders must endure being in the saddle for up to 200km a day and face the challenges of riding over twenty-eight different semi-wild horses, with varying temperaments and bucking abilities, the inevitable falls and mishaps that happen along the way and navigating through challenging terrain, from giant sand dunes to freezing mountain passes.

After the pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 editions, the twelfth Mongol Derby kicked off on the 23 rd of July and looks set to be one of the most fiercely contested races to date, currently proving too close to call, with no clear breakaways formed.

Riders from ten nations are competing for the prestigious win, with young Kiwi pair, Sam Edney and Annie Hackett, having taken an early lead, before age and experience took over in the form of Irishman Patrick Heffron and Brit Chris Walker. Leading the way at the end of day four, both are experienced riders in multiple disciplines, but with several days riding left anything could happen and a strong American and Australian contingent are breathing down their necks.

Follow the race live at https://equestrianists.com/mongol-derby

The second edition of the Mongol Derby kicks off on the 10 th of August

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

July Mongol Derby Day 4: The eye of the storm

Equestrianists.com - Full Story

Holly Conyers
27th July 2022

Four days into the July 2022 Mongol Derby and we have our first major shake-up of the leaderboard since our 46 riders blasted off the start line: Annie Hackett (AHA) and Sam Edney (SED) have fallen off the pace for the first time, as we come up against some mountainous terrain. There is a new double act in town. Chris Walker (CWA) and Patrick Heffron (PHE) have ridden a blinder to launch themselves clear of the rest of the field, camped roughly halfway between HS12 and HS13. But they’re not out of the woods yet, closely stalked by a pack of three very determined riders snapping at their hooves.

Deirdre Griffith’s (DGR) calculated early morning horse selection has clearly paid off. Riding alongside Sean McBride (SMC) and Willemien Jooste (WJO) since they hoofed it out of their campsite between HS5 and HS6 yesterday morning, the group have pulled off something of a miracle to propel themselves almost to the head of the race. Camped just outside HS12, they have raced through a formidable four horse stations in just one day, having set off this morning from a campsite between HS8 and HS9...

Read more here:
https://equestrianists.com/updates/july-mongol-derby-day-4-the-eye-of-the-storm/

July Mongol Derby Day 3: Golden hour

Equestrianists.com - Full Story

Holly Conyers
25th July 2022

Day 3 of the July 2022 Mongol Derby, and the drama just keeps coming. Six riders remain locked in battle for the lead at the head of the race, but there’s been a change in the line-up since yesterday: Chris Walker (CWA) managed to catch up to the leaders to join their camp at HS9, while Tyler Donaldson-Aitken (TDO) has dropped off the pace and finds himself camped somewhere between HS7 and HS8. We recount the day’s highs and lows below.

For the third day in a row, riders awoke to blazing sunshine on the steppe. Taking full advantage of permitted riding hours, Ashton Garner (AGA), Kristin Carpenter (KCA) and Morgan Kelly (MKE) bolted out of HS4 where they had spent the night at 07:00 on the dot. Michael Field (MFE), Claire Vile (CVI) and Lena Haug (LHA) were the first to depart HS5, leaving behind their 10 other campmates still busy wrangling their horses and wolfing down some breakfast. CWA, Deirdre Griffith (DGR), Sean McBride (SMC) and Willemien Jooste (WJO) were quick to hop onto their mounts this morning, making a punctual exit from their campsite somewhere between HS5 and HS6. Nancy O’Neill (NON) and Janet O’Neill (JON) were back in the saddle, leaving HS4 after NON’s sojourn to Ulaanbaatar hospital yesterday which left her unscathed but riding in Adventure Class...

Read more here:
https://equestrianists.com/updates/july-mongol-derby-day-3-golden-hour/

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

July Mongol Derby Day 2: Who needs stirrups anyway?

Equestrianists.com - Full Story

Holly Conyers
25th July 2022

Daybreak on Day 2 of the July 2022 Mongol Derby was a sight for sore eyes (and even sorer behinds): bright sunshine, a cool breeze and wispy clouds. The perfect weather to cover some serious miles across the rolling steppe, stretching as far as the eye can see. By sundown, a hot afternoon had slowed the pace of the field, but the two leading riders from close of play on Day 1 would see their lead clawed back by the chasing pack: we now have six riders vying for the lead, camped together at HS6. The race is on.

At the head of the race this morning at HS3, Annie Hackett (AHA) and Sam Edney (SED) had no option but to sit out a late riding penalty from the previous evening, incurred by riding past 18:00 in order to reach shelter at HS3 rather than risk camping out in some serious rain. A sensible tactical decision last night, an agonising wait this morning watching the seconds tick by and praying the chasing pack didn’t appear on the horizon before they were released. They managed to make it out before their pursuers appeared, but how safe was their lead?...

Read more here:
https://equestrianists.com/updates/july-mongol-derby-day-2-who-needs-stirrups-anyway/

July Mongol Derby Day 1: A family affair

Equestrianists.com - Full Story

Holly Conyers
23rd July 2022

The July 2022 Mongol Derby is officially underway. Day 1 has been a real rollercoaster. At close of play, with riding hours limited to between 07:00 and 18:00 local time, we have an early breakaway: Annie Hackett (AHA) and Sam Edney (SED) have set a blistering pace to rocket all the way to HS3. Riders have been treated to some of the most pristine green rolling hills and sunny, cool conditions Mongolia has to offer. Read on for all of the day’s notable events.

Before kick-off, riders lined up for their final weigh-in, this time for their riding kit. A strict 5kg limit resulted in emotional goodbyes to some treasured but stubbornly weighty snack items. The riders’ bridles were honoured with a traditional Mongolian blessing, before riders packed up and headed for the horse lines. Easier said than done for some: Eleanor Aitken’s (EAI) horse threw a bit of a tantrum when introduced to his saddle...

Read more here:
https://equestrianists.com/updates/july-mongol-derby-day-1/

Monday, July 25, 2022

Cirencester man taking part in Mongol Derby

a href="https://www.wiltsglosstandard.co.uk/news/20297597.cirencester-man-taking-part-mongol-derby/">Wiltsglosstandard.co.uk - Full Article

23 July 2022
By Huw Mabe

A Cirencester man is taking part in the world's longest horse race to raise money for a local charity.

Chris Walker is competing in the Mongol Derby, which gets underway on Saturday.

He is one of 46 riders from 10 different countries who will race 1,000km through the Mongolian Steppe.

Known as the world's longest and toughest horse race, competitors use local herder’s ponies and change them every 40km to recreate the messenger system used by Genghis Khan in the 13th century...

Read more here:
https://www.wiltsglosstandard.co.uk/news/20297597.cirencester-man-taking-part-mongol-derby/

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Horse rider from Shropshire set to race in brutal 1,000km Mongol Derby

Shropshirestar.com - Full Article

By Paul Jenkins
South Shropshire
Published: Jul 22, 2022

Never mind the Grand National, a Shropshire horse rider will be taking on the challenge of one of the world's toughest races next month.

Zoe Geddes is one of only 40 people to be accepted into the Mongol Derby, considered the world's longest and toughest horse race and following a course of 1,000km on the Mongolian Steppe. It recreates the horse messenger and postal system developed by Genghis Khan in 1224.

Competitors - who have to demonstrate a high aptitude for riding - spend thirteen to fourteen hours a day in the saddle on wild horses, and the race lasts ten days - with generally only half finishing the course. Zoe will jet out to Mongolia to make her attempt on August 3...

Read more here:
https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/local-hubs/south-shropshire/2022/07/23/zoe-ready-to-ride-the-wild-plains/

Saturday, July 23, 2022

CAS uphold FEI Tribunal decision in horse abuse case

Inside.FEI.org

07 July 2022
Author: FEI

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld the FEI Tribunal decision issued on 2 February 2022, in the Horse Abuse case involving the athlete Esam Zbibi (FEI ID 10184793/GBR) and his support personnel Hicham Gharib, regarding the horse HH Sigma (FEI ID 105XP18/UAE) at the CSI3* in Abu Dhabi (UAE) 23-26 February 2021.

The athlete had engaged in horse abuse, and the trainer in incorrect behaviour in relation to horse abuse, by using boots with sharp pins on the horse during the competition.

In its final decision the FEI Tribunal ruled that Esam Zbibi had engaged in Horse Abuse and imposed a four-year ineligibility period on him starting from the date of the decision, meaning he is suspended until 1 February 2026. The athlete was also fined CHF 10,000 and asked to pay costs of CHF 2,000.

The FEI Tribunal also ruled that Hicham Garib had engaged in Incorrect Behaviour and imposed a one year ineligibility period on starting from the date of the decision, meaning he is suspended until 1 February 2023. He was also fined CHF 5,000 and asked to pay costs of CHF 2,000.

The final decision of the FEI Tribunal is available here.

The operative part of the Arbitral Award issued by CAS can be found here.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Clare Fleming experiences a multitude of Quilty success

ArmidaleExpress.com.au - Full Article

By Ellen Dunger
Updated July 13 2022

"Comradeship", "horsemanship" and "sportsmanship" were just three of the words Inverell's Clare Fleming used when describing her recent Tom Quilty championship experience.

Fleming and her mount, Flemingo Bomsaway, completed the prestigious 160 kilometre national endurance riding event over a difficult course at Tooraweenah on Saturday. Mud, sinkholes and rocky terrain made a normally difficult ride even more challenging.

"It was a difficult track, but I thought the horses handled it really really well. When you start a ride like that in the dark, there was 180 riders, there's lots of things that go wrong - you can get kicked, in the dark you don't know what the track is like so you can you can go too hard and fast on rocks that are sharp and end up with stone bruise," Fleming said...

Read more here:
https://www.armidaleexpress.com.au/story/7818242/fleming-claims-eighth-tom-quilty-buckle/

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Jo Bailey and Claralee Honeymoon conquer the Quilty

GlenInnesExaminer.com.au - Full Story

By Ellen Dunger
Updated July 12 2022

Jo Bailey's first Tom Quilty buckle has been a long time coming.

Bailey started endurance riding as an eight-year-old in the 1980s but didn't manage to get her hands on the prestigious buckle until 2022.

The Tom Quilty is the peak of all events on the endurance calendar and it was run on Saturday at Tooraweenah.

It runs for 160kms and this year was particularly tough with rocks as well as sinkholes and boggy terrain to navigate.

But Bailey and Claralee Honeymoon managed it to earn their first Tom Quilty buckle.

The Red Range local described the feeling of finally crossing the line "amazing. Very, very sweet..."

Read more here:
https://www.gleninnesexaminer.com.au/story/7817822/bailey-bags-her-first-quilty-buckle/?cs=423

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Rachel Brown and Houdini earn their second Tom Quilty buckle

Tenterfieldstar.com.au - Full Story

By Ellen Dunger
Updated July 11 2022

Swapping a saddle for a horse proved to be one of the best deals Tenterfield's Rachel Brown ever made with now two Tom Quilty championship buckles to her name.

Brown and her little Arabian, Houdini, finished the 160 kilometre national championship event at Tooraweenah on Saturday, three years after earning their first when Queensland hosted the event...

Houdini, affectionately known as Harry, is Brown's second endurance horse.

She started the sport on her stockhorse before ending up with Harry after advertising an old saddle for sale.

"The lady who bought the saddle, she wanted the saddle but couldn't afford to pay me for it until she sold her horse," Brown said.

"But no one wanted to look at the horse because it was an Arab," she said...

Read more here:
https://www.tenterfieldstar.com.au/story/7816815/swapping-a-saddle-for-a-horse-turns-into-two-quilty-buckles/?cs=1640

Monday, July 11, 2022

Mongol Derby horse race entrant Sarah Carroll ready for tough event

ABC.net.au - Full Article

ABC Radio Brisbane / By Jessica Hinchliffe and Kate O'Toole
July 10 2022

Preparing for "pure madness" in the saddle is a dream come true for Queenslander Sarah Carroll, who will take the reins in the world's toughest and longest horse race.

Ms Carroll is one of only 40 riders selected from across the globe to ride in the Mongol Derby next month.

Riders will find their way through 1,000 kilometres of Mongolian steppes while changing horses every 40 kilometres.

"The premise is probably pure madness and it's not for the faint-hearted as only about 50 per cent make it to the finish line," Ms Carroll said...

Read more here:
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-07-11/mongol-derby-horse-race-entrant-sarah-carroll-tough-event/101200636

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Slovakia: Historic Win for Bahrainis

DGNonline.com - Full Article

Sun, 10 Jul 202

HIS Majesty King Hamad’s representative for humanitarian work and youth affairs and captain of the Royal Endurance Team Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa has added a new chapter to Bahrain’s accomplishments in the endurance sport after winning the Samorin International Endurance Championship’s 160km race, in Slovakia.

The victory confirms Shaikh Nasser’s readiness for the upcoming World Championship in Italy, while this win doubles Bahrain’s Eid Al Adha joy.

Shaikh Nasser clocked 7 hours, 55 minutes and 42 seconds to win the event. He was riding Bolt in the 5-stage race...

Read more here:
No comments:

Friday, July 08, 2022

Murdoch sets team for Tom Quilty

TATimes.com.au - Full Article

By Jeff Hanson
July 8, 2022

Tumut endurance rider and trainer Ellen Murdoch arrived in Tooraweenah on Tuesday ahead of the 2022 Tom Quilty Gold Cup, which will be held on Saturday and Sunday.

Murdoch will come up against well over 400 other endurance riders in the 56th running of the Tom Quilty, which will see horses and riders tested over a gruelling 160km journey.

The Tumut horsewoman has prepared three horses, and she will jump aboard nine-year-old Arabian, Henley Farm Janazah, while Jessica Williams will ride 10-year-old Arabian, Alzarah, and Susan Woodward jumps aboard the 15-year-old Anglo-Arabian, Castlebar What’s The Goss.

Murdoch said it was important to get to Tooraweenah early so the trio could have their horses in the best shape possible...

Read more here:
https://tatimes.com.au/murdoch-sets-team-for-tom-quilty/

Royal Bahraini team set for Slovakia challenge

GDNonline.com - Full Article

Fri, 08 Jul 2022

His Majesty King Hamad’s representative for humanitarian work and youth affairs and Royal Endurance Team captain Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa is set to participate in the 120km and 160km races in the Samorin International Endurance Championship in Slovakia, following his achievement in 2016, when he took third place in the World Endurance Championship held at the same venue.

The team will be relying on the skills and capabilities of Shaikh Nasser in continuing to lead them in European championships, which will be a major factor to reach the podium in the Slovakian races...

Read more here:
https://www.gdnonline.com/Details/1126986

Wednesday, July 06, 2022

Australia: Tooraweenah 2022 Tom Quilty Preview

TomQuilty2022.com

All Trails Lead to Tooraweenah in 2022

Tooraweenah! It’s a small, serene little village of a few hundred hardy souls, nestled on rolling plains under the ancient stare of the spectacular Warrumbungle Mountains in the central west of NSW.

A few kilometres away, the Newell Highway hums to the rhythm of the main freight and tourist route between Melbourne, 930 km south, and Brisbane, 750 km north. Around 430 km eastward, Sydney’s chaos and congestion seem just as far away as its capital neighbours.

In fact, most of the time, this small rural hub supporting generations of stoic livestock and cropping families sits quiet and calm, proud and purposeful in its modest isolation, detached from the hustle and haste of city and the ‘burbs.

But there’s another side to this image of comfortable seclusion, because when it comes to endurance riding, community spirit and the true embodiment of country hospitality, Tooraweenah punches way above its weight. Always has!

Indeed, this is a town typifying the Australian character, with a tireless tenacity and gritty determination which not only exults the experience and attitudes of its sparse population, but personifies the fundamental meaning of ‘endurance’ by providing the perfect platform for this amazing sport and its legendary mantle, the Tom Quilty Gold Cup.

In 2022, the famed Quilty heads back to Tooraweenah and much as it did in 1991, the town and its dedicated committee are boldly determined and well advanced with plans to deliver a national championship event which will hammer into obscurity the difficulties and distress of the past few years.

Recovering from years of brutal drought, devastating mouse plagues and of course, the callous constraints of Covid-19 which caused Western Australia’s 2020 Quilty to be rescheduled to 2021, Tooraweenah is now tearing at the bit to make the 2022 Tom Quilty something supremely memorable. An expression, perhaps, that endurance riding and the people who strive to keep the sport unique in the equestrian world, will not be cowed by adversity or setbacks.

It all starts, of course, with a committee which in Tooraweenah’s case collectively accounts for a vast level of experience in organising and conducting a highly acclaimed 80 km annual endurance ride as well as numerous 160 km NSW State championships and the 1991 Tom Quilty won by western NSW rider Andrew Bailey. It’s worth noting that in 2018, Andrew returned to the scene of his ’91 Quilty victory to take out the 160 km NSW State Championship on many of the same tracks, though the more ferocious climbs of 30 years ago have now been resigned to campfire folklore, much to the relief of those with long memories.

Even so, the 2022 Tooraweenah Quilty will be a true championship course befitting the history and heritage of the most prestigious ride on the Australian endurance riding calendar. Typically though, Tooraweenah’s reputation as a demanding endurance course is equally matched by enviably high completion rates at all distances.

What’s more, such is the spirit of endurance riding in this neck of the woods, with 2022 marking 44 years of annual endurance events centred on this formidable little town, that several members of the ’91 Quilty organising committee remain staunchly involved in bringing the 2022 event to reality.

The president of the Tooraweenah endurance riding club, for instance, is Anthony Blessing, a former endurance competitor with 35 years’ experience in the sport and a man who knows what it takes to bring many varied abilities together for a common goal.

Then there’s the club vice-president and chief steward for the 2022 Quilty, Peter Bonham. The Bonham name is synonymous with endurance riding and even now, with more than 45 years in the sport as an organiser, steward and competitor with numerous Quilty buckles on the shelf, it’s not unusual to see Peter riding alongside one or more of his six grandchildren at an event.

The dynastic influence continues with Peter’s daughter and club secretary Sonia Bonham whose background in endurance spans more than 40 years, most appreciably as both a highly accomplished competitor and immensely capable ride organiser.

However, as Sonia is quick to add, Tooraweenah boasts an extensive and diverse ride committee made up of many members, each with a long connection to endurance riding through the families and local businesses that stretch deep into the community and surrounding areas.

All the town’s facilities will be primed for the running of the 2022 Tom Quilty, from the friendly atmosphere of the Mountain View Hotel Motel, the Tooraweenah Trading Co. rural supplies store, the caravan and camping facilities of the Tooraweenah Tourist Park, and the numerous and various wares of local suppliers. For more detailed supplies, the major rural centres of Coonabarabran and Gilgandra are an easy drive north and south respectively.

As for the ride base, the Tooraweenah Showground on the edge of town is a tried and proven venue for endurance rides, and already there’s plenty of work being undertaken to make it even better.

Bordering the local golf course which is being made available for all strapping and vetting roles, the showground features excellent showers and toilets, an extensive area for the mandatory vet hospital and ample areas for sponsors and suppliers to showcase their products.

A large open area immediately across the road from the central showground is now being prepared for the hundreds of cars, trucks, floats and goosenecks set to hit the town for the running of the 56th Tom Quilty in July 2022.

There is, of course, still plenty to be done but organisers know only too well what it takes to make the Tom Quilty a truly memorable event for competitors, strappers, sponsors, suppliers and visitors alike.

Meantime, for anyone wanting to arrive with horses and freshen up a week or two before the event, there will be plenty of hospitality and space on local farms to settle in and sample the surrounds and atmosphere of this amazing community.

Tooraweenah! Where horses are in the heart and endurance riding in the blood.

Sunday, July 03, 2022

Mongol derby approaches for Doddie's Dazzlers

BorderTelegraph.com - Full Article

2 July 2022
By John Hislop

IN less than 50 days time, two Borders women known as the Doddie5 Dazzlers will be participating in the world’s toughest horse race.

Alice Gully (46) from Heriot and Kate Mactaggart (46) from Jedburgh, decided to complete the Mongol Derby which takes place from August 7-20 in temperatures which range from freezing to 38 degrees centigrade to raise £30,000 for Doddie Weir’s My Name 5’ Doddie Foundation.

They will ride semi-broken wild horses over a 1000km route across mountains, rivers and desert through the Mongolian Steppe and survive on a diet of offal and mutton, and the terrain covers mountains, rivers and desert.

Usually, half of the riders quit or are injured before the finishing line but the pair are determined, not only to finish, but to win.

Alice said: “It’s was Kate’s idea but when she suggested we both do it, I jumped at the chance. I’d heard about the race several years ago...

Read more here:
https://www.bordertelegraph.com/news/20248859.mongol-derby-approaches-doddies-dazzlers/

CEF back in action with first-ever 80-km endurance race

Khmertimeskh.com - Full Article Jose Rodriguez T. Senase / Khmer Times December 2 2022 The Cambodia Equestrian Federation (CEF) galloped...