SADDLE UP FOR COAST TRAIL RIDE
THE race that stops the nation might be a month away but there’s a different equine event next week that is signalling the start of a growing sport across the Sunshine Coast.
The famous Melbourne Cup, run on the first Tuesday of November is of course the nation-stopper, but try telling that to the riders who will saddle up for the competitive trail riding event on Sunday, October 8.
The event is held by Sunshine Coast Area Trail and Endurance Riders Inc and will be staged on courses varying between 16 and 32km in length.
The group’s president Carmel Penny said she expected up to 75 riders would compete in the event, starting at the Mooloolah Pony Club before branching out across 32km of Sunshine Coast hinterland.
“Competitive trail riding is a sport that involves a horse and rider negotiating a course within a specified time, being challenged at judge sections involving various obstacles along the way,” Mrs Penny said.
“Horse and rider are judged separately and it’s all about the trust and bond between horse and rider,” she said.
“The horses are judged on its willingness to oblige with the rider and its manners, and the riders are judged on their horsemanship and the control they have of their horse.
“The riders aren’t allowed to carry whips or wear spurs and it’s not a race.
A lot of people confuse competitive trail riding with endurance riding but it’s anything but.”
Mrs Penny said the horses’ and riders’ welfare was paramount.
“It is definitely not a race. “All horses are given a horse health assessment before and after competition to ensure their welfare is never compromised,” she said.
STRONG BOND: Carmel Penny with Jazz and Brianna Penny with Cloudy provide a range of organised horse riding activities at Chevallum.