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Bush Capital Ride Carnival at Equestrian Park, 26 January 2009

The Bush Capital endurance ride, the first of the year, was held at Equestrian Park in Canberra on the Australia Day long weekend. There were 82 riders in total on the day: 27 in the 80 km, 38 in the 40 km trainer and 16 in the 20 km social ride.

Set up on the very hot Saturday threatened the outlook of 34+ degrees on Sunday, and most people were grateful for the 4am start.

The first leg, through Stromlo Forest and back over common ground through the new arboretum, which is still under construction, offered plenty of water and lovely views.

The second leg went out on the Bicentennial Trail and around some government agistment paddocks and back home again over the common ground. Most riders on return from this new second leg commented on a very enjoyable course that gave people the ability to ride amongst suburbia without having the stress of worrying about hazards or where they were going.

The course was marked with common ground as a separate colour, which had some people who had not seen it before concerned after the pre-ride talk about how they would find their way. However, nobody had any problems on the day and some riders obviously appreciated the benefits of this system, with the only negative comment being 'I don't like pink'.

With a bridge only three kilometres into the ride, the committee had people manning it to light the area. But when they turned up to their positions they found a still-burning car, giving them a BIG shock. Amazingly, all horses travelled past this without too much worry, although the last horse did have some issues with the fire truck that had just turned up with its lights blazing.

Equal first across the line were Wendy Dower on Castlebar Topaz and Rachel Reid on Franshar Park K Shar in 4:54, with Castlebar Topaz claiming the best conditioned award.

First heavyweight was Lorien Hasko-Stewart on Blake's Heaven Bombora in 5:58, followed by Charles Gauci on Charleville Jack in 6:06. Third placed Frank Mollema and Omani Strike A Light took out best conditioned heavyweight.

Sue Todd on PPP Kool Pashin and Faith Robinson on Pinedale QJ Kelsey crossed the line in 6:30, with Sue's horse winning by a nose. The best conditioned and the best managed 80 km horse award – a bridle donated by Saddleworld – went to Faith.

First junior and catchweight honours went to Talea Hasko-Stewart on Blake's Heaven Summer Reign in a ride time of 5:58. Second junior Phoebe Gardner on Castlebar Hot Potato (6:09) won the lowest heart rate award – sponsored by Horse Deals – with a heart rate of 36, and also claimed best conditioned junior.

Sarah Monaghan on Classic Taste won the best managed novice horse award, also donated by Horse Deals.

Sunday was unexpectedly overcast until about 1pm and had most people at base in jackets, and horses travelling comfortably. This helped with the excellent completion rate – there were only two non-finishers in the 80 km, and most 40 km and all 20 km starters completed.

The committee would like to thank everyone involved in helping run this ride, including CARC (WICEN), Brian Pike for providing fantastic food, all the volunteers, and a big thank you to all the sponsors.

See also: Ride results | Photos