More than 500 people – including riders and their support crews – will head to the Stirling’s Crossing Equestrian Complex in Imbil from 24-26 August to participate in one of eight rides across distances of 160km, 120km, 80km, 40km and 20km.
The event, hosted by Stirling’s Crossing Endurance Club, will see riders tackle the diverse terrain around the complex, which is developing an international reputation as a world-class endurance facility. This reputation is further enhanced by two of the rides in this event securing accreditation from the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) ― the body responsible for governing equestrian sport internationally.
Event host and owner of Stirling’s Crossing Equestrian Complex, Matthew Sample said he was delighted to host events of this calibre as part of the multi-ride event which offers an exciting range of opportunities for endurance riders from across the country.
“Both the FEI rides and those endorsed by the Australian Endurance Riders Association (AERA) offer opportunity for riders to raise their skills across a range of distances,” Mr Sample said.
“Personally, our family’s long history in endurance riding will be extended with my great-niece Taylor Grogan tackling her first 40km ride at just five years of age.”
“Taylor completed her first 5 km ride at 23 months of age and has done a total of six 5km rides, one 10km ride and two 20km rides. She will be riding Dee Dee, a 14-year-old pony, and this will be Dee Dee’s first 40km as well.”
“In preparation for the ride, Taylor and her horse Dee Dee have been training in the Kandanga Forestry riding 20-25 km each Saturday and Sunday for the past few months. These training rides have been between 3-4 hours each and sometimes running into the night to prepare for the event.”
Other riders include ten-year-old Poppy Kettlewell, who will tackle the 120km ride and seasoned veteran Peter Holmes, who at age seventy-two, will take on the 80km ride.
“Having riders aged from five to seventy-two really shows the diversity of participants in endurance riding,” Mr Sample said.
The FEI component of the event also provides the opportunity for riders to compete in these events as a pathway to qualifying for international competition.
“Australian endurance riding legend Penny Toft will be participating ahead of the World Equestrian Games in September, so we really have the full spectrum of riders on show at this event, from the newest beginner to some of our most experienced riders.”
The event will also offer a 160km ride which can be used to qualify for endurance riding’s most prestigious event, the Tom Quilty Gold Cup.
“Riders can use the ride to still qualify for this year’s event being hosted in Tasmania in October or for the 2019 Tom Quilty Gold Cup which will be hosted here at the Stirling’s Crossing Equestrian Complex in July,” Mr Sample said.
“There aren’t many 160km rides on the annual calendar so these opportunities are valued amongst the riding community and this also gives riders a feel for the course they will be riding in the prestigious event next year.”
Stirling’s Crossing Endurance Club President Kim Moir said that endurance riders have the utmost respect and admiration for their horses and are committed to their wellbeing.
“Endurance riding is a challenging sport and riders in the longer events are required to return to the complex for vetting every 30-40 kilometres so vets can check the horses’ condition before they’re permitted to commence the next leg,” Ms Moir said.
“Both the riders and vets are committed to ensuring the horses are being cared for and a strict protocol is followed to ensure best practice.”
“At Stirling’s Crossing Equestrian Complex we are lucky to have unique trails through the Imbil State Forest; camping onsite for riders, their teams and their horses and facilities that are unmatched at any other endurance venue so these events are always a fantastic experience for the whole family.”
The event is open to the public. To find out more please visit the website of the Stirling’s Crossing Endurance Club www.stirlingscrossingendurance.asn.au.