Rid­ers en­dure cold start to 80km trek

Horses for cour­ses Cooler days beats the heat of Septem­ber

Central and North Burnett Times - - SPORT -

IT WAS crunchy un­der­foot as rid­ers in the 80km ride at Biggen­den set out in the early hours of Sun­day morn­ing with “a su­per moon” as a guide.

Just three hours and 39 min­utes later the first rider, Amaya Fenech, a mem­ber of a Kilki­van fam­ily who reg­u­larly com­pete on the en­durance cir­cuit, crossed the line.

Ride or­gan­iser Sue Sut­cliffe said it was great ev­ery­one came home and no one got lost on the course af­ter a few ar­rows came down.

Al­wyn Toren­beek

I was in­tro­duced to en­durance rid­ing by my friend R.M. Wil­liams.

“From the vol­un­teers they asked me to ex­press their thanks to you the rid­ers,” she said.

Mrs Sut­cliffe said there was a fan­tas­tic com­ple­tion rate with only four horses over the three dis­tances be­ing vet­ted out.

“Our com­mit­tee is also ap­pre­cia­tive for the as­sis­tance of the vol­un­teers and the land­hold­ers who opened their gates to al­low the horses through,” she said.

Vet Jon Fearn­ley of Nanango said it was great to be in­volved in the ride with such great spirit.

“The weather was cooler so it was eas­ier on the horses in­stead of the nor­mal Septem­ber heat,” he said.

A spe­cial tro­phy each year, an en­cour­age­ment award, is pre­sented in mem­ory of Ken Smith, not for the best or the fastest rider but for the ju­nior rider un­der 17 years who com­petes in the spirit of the event.

Son Roger said it was his dad’s idea for an en­durance ride at Biggen­den but he passed away sud­denly just be­fore the in­au­gu­ral ride.

The win­ner was Louis Ryan of Bris­bane, who has been rid­ing since age three and on Sun­day was com­pet­ing in his sixth ride.

It was a fam­ily af­fair as he rode with his mum So­nia while younger brother Sam was their strap­per.

“We couldn’t have done it with­out Sam,” they said.

Louis was rid­ing a 20-year-old “mag­i­cal” horse called Mag­num lent by Peter and Penny Toft, who are great sup­port­ers of young rid­ers.

The old­est rider was Alywn Toren­beek, who ap­peared re­cently on the Land­line pro­gram.

The cham­pion ex-rodeo rider was a day shy of his 78th birth­day. He said it was fan­tas­tic he fin­ished sec­ond in his di­vi­sion.

Next year he has plans to ride in the 50th Tom Quilty ride.

PHOTO: ERICA MUR­REE

READY TO GO: Horses line up for the pre-race vet checks.

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