Riders endure cold start to 80km trek
Horses for courses Cooler days beats the heat of September
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.
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.
READY TO GO: Horses line up for the pre-race vet checks.