Endurance riding: Stepping up to the challenge

On home ground: Tenterfield Endurance Riding Club member Michael Combe gained first place in the 100km heavyweight division, riding NASR. (Photo courtesy of Christine Maroni of Boonah.)
On home ground: Tenterfield Endurance Riding Club member Michael Combe gained first place in the 100km heavyweight division, riding NASR. (Photo courtesy of Christine Maroni of Boonah.)

Tenterfield Endur-ance Riding Club held its 26th ride on May 19 and 20 with the theme of “Step Up”, encouraging riders to elevate to a greater distance.

The theme was carried through with the last riders in the 100km rewarded with a small stepladder kindly donated by Pat O’Brien, a new member with a great sense of humour.

This year’s ride followed on from last year’s successful Hi Ho Silver 25th Anniversary Ride.

Tenterfield is well known to endurance riders both north and south of the border as a challenging and fun ride operated in a welcoming and friendly atmosphere from its unique bush setting in Girard State Forest.

This year a social ride of 20km elevating to 30km was run on the Saturday.

Twenty-three riders entered this event with fantastic completion rates. Ten chose to elevate and ride the extra 10km to complete 30km.

On Sunday morning, 46 riders headed off into the forest at 3am on the start of the 100km ride with 14 completing the full distance and the others choosing to retire at the 80km mark.

At 6am, the training ride of 40km saw 31 riders leave camp with six choosing to elevate and ride the extra 20km.

It is wonderful to see mums and/or dads riding with their children over all distances.

There were prizes for the youngest riders in the social ride (seven-year-old Sam Ryan) and in the 100km ride (nine-year-old Darcy Begley from Beaudesert.) We also awarded a prize to the oldest open rider: a lady (66) from Burringbar, NSW.

The Tenterfield Vet Clinic has always supported the club and vetted horses at the ride. John Brown has missed only one ride in the club’s history. (He deserved to win a raffle prize!)

There were also two other vets on hand as endurance rides require one veterinarian for every 30 horses as the horses’ welfare is paramount.

As hosts of the ride, it was difficult for members of the club to actually compete in the event, however with an increase in membership during the past few years, four lucky club members competed this year; two in the social elevator and two in the 100km ride.

In the middleweight division, Tracy Hutchinson from Red Range riding Junabee Park Shamekha won the 100km ride in a time of seven hours 32 minutes.

Her mare also won the best conditioned horse award and a free service donated by A’Landell Endurance to their stallion Clovelly Park Kazeem.

Closely behind Tracy was first junior Hannah Terry from Brisbane riding Ausden Illusion (also best conditioned horse).

Another Brisbane rider, Christine Christie, riding Reg took out first lightweight and best conditioned horse.

Michael Combe, who is usually our hard working chief steward, was able to ride this year and gained first place in the heavyweight division riding NASR who also won best conditioned horse.

Tad Cossins, another club member, also rode the full 100km and gained third place in the middleweight division on his 17-year-old mare Jaytee Silhouette.

The club has had its ride base at Girard State Forest since 1986 but recently took out an occupational permit with NSW State Forests. Members contribute many hours each year caring for the grounds, working within the guidelines of NSW State Forest.

There is now a covered area for catering thanks to Geoff Molyneux and friends who worked very hard over the Easter weekend. The grounds at Girard can also be used for camping by other groups on payment of a small fee to help cover the cost of the annual permit.

The club always welcomes new members. From time to time we hold social rides and education days.

For further information, contact president Sue Rhodes on (02) 6737 6828 or secretary Philippa Lillyman on (02) 6737 5438.

Tenterfield Endurance Riding Club