The Tom Quilty Gold Cup is on this weekend

Michael Combe, Rachel Brown, Luke Annetts and Ian Mains and Annetts' horse Crystan.
Michael Combe, Rachel Brown, Luke Annetts and Ian Mains and Annetts' horse Crystan.

One of the biggest events on the endurance riding calendar is set down for this weekend and four Tenterfield competitors will take on the gruelling ride.

Tom Quilty Gold Cup is the annual national championship event for equestrian endurance.

The 160 kilometre ride rotates between states and this year will be hosted at Imbil in Queensland by Stirling's Crossing Endurance Club.

Local vet Luke Annetts will be aiming for his 11th Quilty buckle when the ride gets underway at 12am on Friday.

Last year, Annetts and Glen Innes-bred Churinga Taboo were the fifth heavyweight pairing over the line and received the prestigious best conditioned award in their division.

He and Churinga Taboo are heading to Imbil for this year's event.

For Rachel Brown riding Houdini, affectionately known as Harry, this will be her first Quilty experience after successfully qualifying last year by completing the NSW State Championships.

Rachel has been competing regularly at local rides and working out to get herself fit for the challenge.

Her professional remedial massage skills, health and nutrition knowledge will be a great asset in preparation for the Quilty.

Michael Combe will be riding Nasr and has a Quilty Buckle from Nanango in 2008 so it's been a while.

He has been training around Black Swamp and Girard State Forest where the Tenterfield Endurance Riding Club maintains a ride base.

Michael has been a member of the Tenterfield Endurance Club for more than 30 years.

Ian Mains has moved from Townsville to Tenterfield to join the Tenterfield Club.

He earned a Quilty buckle at Kenilworth in 1994, so even longer between drinks for Ian.

Ian has been competing in endurance rides for more than 30 years.

He will be riding his prize gelding Emerald.

In addition to the four Tenterfield riders, three other riders associated with the Tenterfield Endurance Riding Club will also be having a crack at completing the Quilty.

Greg Lyon based at Lennox Head will be riding Chingford Just Dreaming.

This outstanding local standard bred, arabian cross mare was bred by Barrie and Sue Rhodes at Sandy Hill.

Greg and Dreamer have been a highly successful combination.

Narelle Child from Goonengerry will be riding Bashan Taphenes and has a creditable endurance record and four Quilty buckles.

Damian Keys from Green Pigeon will be riding one of his highly sought after Elfar Arabians Damian's mare Elfar Tilly has been completing well this year.

The Tom Quilty Gold Cup is strongly contended by endurance riders throughout Australia, with interstate and international competitors participating.

More than 300 horses have nominated this year to cover the 160 kms of forest tracks with the aim of successfully completing; front runners could complete this task in less than 10 hours.

GPS tracking will assist spectators to monitor rider and horse as they traverse the challenging tracks of Imbil.

Rider and horse combinations leave the ride base at midnight on Saturday and have until 12am Saturday to complete the course.

For many riders the aim is to complete and earn a "Quilty buckle"; for some there is a dream of winning the coveted Tom Quilty Gold Cup.

Preparing a horse for the event takes long hours of training the horse, getting yourself fit with cross training, getting the right balance of feed and sorting out tack to comfortably go the distance and much more.

The motto of the sport is "To Complete is to Win".

Here's hoping we have a swag full of Tenterfield winners at the close of the 54th annual Tom Quilty at Imbil come midnight Saturday, July 13.