June 20, 2018
The Nanango Heritage Endurance Ride is always a test for horses and riders … but at least the horses get regular vet checks!
A total of 115 riders took part in the annual event on Saturday, which started at the South Burnett Endurance Riders’ grounds near Nanango Racecourse.
They had three rides to choose from: 20km Introductory (14 entrants), 40km Intermediate (25 entrants) and the competitive 80km Endurance (76 entrants).
There was also a special celebrity rider: Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington rode part of the 20km course on board “Silversmith”, owned by club secretary Colleen Shaw.
“She rode five kilometres but I think it was a really guts thing to do,” Colleen said.
“She drove up from Brisbane in the morning. I don’t know how long it has been since since she’s been on a horse and she then had to get ready for the Kumbia Deb Ball … that would have taken me a week to get ready for!”
There were four divisions in the 80km ride: Heavyweight, Middleweight and Lightweight (based on the weight of the rider plus saddle), and Junior (for U18s).
The first horses left Nanango at 2:00pm … and the last returned just before midnight.
The course proceeded along back roads near Nanango and then into the Din Din Forest and Peach Forest before returning to the club grounds.
Colleen said only the 80km was competitive, and it was undertaken in two 40km stretches with a break in between for horses and riders.
There were four vets on hand, and all horses were checked for heart rate, lameness and metabolic parameters.
“The whole basis of endurance riding is horse welfare,” Colleen said.
All horses entered also had to have up-to-date Hendra vaccination certificates.
The South Burnett Endurance Riders attracted 20 volunteers to help out at Saturday’s event.
“It’s a big job for a small club,” Colleen admitted.
“All the track has to be marked beforehand and all the signage taken down afterwards, and then all the grounds have to be cleaned up.”