Endurance riders go the distance in Imbil this weekend
This Sunday over 150 endurance riders from as far afield as Osaka in Japan and Mt Martha in Victoria will saddle up in Imbil and take on the diverse forestry terrain around the Stirling's Crossing Equestrian Complex over 40km, 80km and 120km distances.
The Australian Endurance Riders Association (AERA) event is expected to attract up to 450 visitors to the region thanks to families and support crew members joining the riders, adding about 50 per cent to Imbil's population for the weekend.*
Event host and owner of Stirling's Crossing Equestrian Complex, Matthew Sample said the event had been oversubscribed with nominations closing ahead of schedule thanks to the large number of registrations.
"We are delighted with the response and are looking forward to welcoming riders for a fantastic weekend. The tracks are in excellent condition and the surrounding landscape is looking lush and beautiful," said Mr Sample.
"I feel like endurance riding is certainly seeing somewhat of a revival as riders who take on the incredible challenge of long distances on horseback realise what a wonderful bonding experience it is with their horses. Once you've felt the exhilaration of completing 80km, 120km or even 160km of diverse terrain with your horse ― who really is like your best friend ― it becomes addictive!"
The list of participants is impressive including the current QLD champion, Kaylea Mayer, the 2016 Pat Slater Cup winner, Kelsey Irvine and Tom Quilty Cup winners Brook Sample and Jessica Langridge.
Those completing the challenging 120km ride will set off at 2am on Sunday morning with the first leg being completed entirely in the dark. Riders return to the complex for vetting every 30-40 kilometres so vets can check on the horses' wellbeing before setting off on further legs. Those entering the 80-kilometre ride have the option of 'elevating' to the 120-kilometre distance if both horse and rider feel up to it.
"Elevator rides are a great opportunity for riders wanting to complete the longer distance rides to evaluate how they are travelling at the 80 kilometre mark before having to commit to the 120 kilometres. For many riders this will be the first time they take on the longer distance and the excitement for both horse and rider really adds to the energy of the event," said Mr Sample.
"Endurance riders have the utmost respect and admiration for their horses as the sport requires the horse to have exceptional athleticism, intuition, intelligence and a very competitive nature."
"We have some tough contenders in all the rides and we're looking forward to a very competitive day of riding on Sunday."
The event is open to the public. To find out more please visit the website of the Stirling's Crossing Endurance Club, which is hosting the event ― www.stirlingscrossingendurance.asn.au.
Event Program (Times subject to change)
Saturday, 13 May
8.00am Ridebase opens
11.00am Nominations open
1.00-5.00pm Pre-ride vetting
4.00pm Mother's Day drinks under the marquee (photographers welcome for socials or these can be provided)
6.00pm Pre-ride talk
Sunday, 14 May
2.00am Start of AERA 120km elevator novice and open horses
7.00am Start of the AERA 40km ride
9.00am (40km ride) Riders expected to return to ridebase for vetting
1.00pm (120km ride)
2.30am (40km) Estimated time of presentations
Source: * ABS 2011 Census
This equestrian sport has a long history having started in the early 1900s as a military test for cavalry mounts. Today the controlled, long-distance rides see competitors cover large distances across diverse terrain. The winning rider and horse are those who cross the finish line first, having passed a number of veterinary checks along the way ― including after the finish ― to ensure the horse is fit and in a good condition.
ABOUT STIRLING'S CROSSING EQUESTRIAN COMPLEX
Set in the hills of the picturesque Mary Valley on Queensland's Sunshine Coast is Stirling's Crossing Equestrian Complex – Australia's first purpose-built endurance facility. The impressive complex combines state-of-the-art facilities with beautiful, diverse topography and ranges a host of equestrian events every year.
Sterling Crossing Endurance Association Inc, Imbil
All Sunshine Coast events, gigs, functions etc... onsite are correct as per information provided at time of uploading, please always verify times or dates directly with the venues to avoid disappointment.
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