Sunshine Coast Daily - Caloundra Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - Grant Stock­well

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.

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