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National Capital Brookvale, 6 September 2009

The National Capital Endurance Ride returned this year to its old base at Brookvale, a sheep and cattle property in the foothills of the Brindabella Range. The weather was perfect for riding, with thick frost on Sunday morning followed by a calm sunny day. Rain in the previous weeks had softened the tracks and filled the creeks, so water was plentiful on track and at the ride base.

The course was well-marked fire trails through undulating to hilly terrain with some challenging climbs, and a short section along the road verge. The second leg included hills that had been burned out in the January 2003 bushfires and which are only now starting to recover, and offered some stunning views of the surrounding country as far as Canberra.

There were 100 entries altogether, with 42 entries in the main 80 km ride, 35 entries in the 40 km training ride, and 23 entries in the 20 km social ride. Riders took note of the pre-ride advice and the vet-out rate was very low, with 93 completing their rides. Some used the course as a final preparation for the Quilty, while many from the Canberra region entered the shorter rides as an entry or return to the sport of endurance riding, and all seemed to have fun. The beautiful bush campsite was a highlight of the ride for many.

Heavyweight winner. Copyright 2009 Robert McArthur

The heavyweight division (13 starters) was won by Marty Moran on Glenduearte Desert Storm in 5h 26m, also the overall ride winner. Second HW was Stuart Lymbery on Garonne Park Tiara in 6h 09m (best conditioned), and third was Peter Norman on Montana, 6h 31m.

Middleweight winner. Copyright 2009 Robert McArthur

The middleweight division (15 starters) was won by Jeff Adams on Takoi Watermark in 5h 37m, also best conditioned, with Jamie Mollema on Littlebanks Tic Tac Toe (5h 45m) and Tasmanian rider Angie Clark on Billywillinga Rocky (5h 45m) in equal second place.

Lightweight winner. Copyright 2009 Robert McArthur

The lightweight division was won by local rider Fia Hasko-Stewart on Blake's Heaven Bombora in a time of 5h 55m, with Shelly Ison on Aloha Fabian second in 6h 31m, and Robin Gossip third on A'Landell Sarlee (also best conditioned) in 6h 34m.

Junior winner. Copyright 2009 Robert McArthur

The junior division and best conditioned was also won by local rider Talea Hasko-Stewart and Blake's Heaven Venus in 5h 55m, with Noni Seagrim on Rahan Mushtar (6h 53m) and Jeremy Banwell on Blake's Heaven Kaliph (6h 53m) equal second.

The Bruce Neal Trophy was won by Maddison Wade on the 16 year-old part-Arab,Trigger. The Bruce Neal trophy is a perpetual trophy awarded each year to a junior rider at the National Capital Brookvale ride on the basis of horsemanship demonstrated during the ride.

Fia and Talea Hasko-Stewart won a free entry to the National Capital Horse Show endurance horse class for having equal first local registered Arabian horses across the line, donated by Arabs Inc. Victorian rider Tracy John on Aloha Red Domino won the prize donated by Kerranna Stockhorses for the best performed stockhorse. Many other riders were pleased and surprised to win lucky draw prizes.

Many thanks to all the helpers, especially the ever-cheerful Belinda Hopley, Chief Steward, and the Head Veterinarian, Steve Roberts. WICEN volunteers did the on-course communications and a local scout troop provided hot dinner and breakfast – not an easy task at a ride camp in the bush.

Many thanks also to our very generous sponsors: Arabs Inc, Bellchambers Produce, Bendora Arabians, Brindabella Stockfeed, Canberra Equine Hospital, The Chaffman/Tankman, Harden Chaff, Horseland Canberra, Kerrana Stockhorses, and the Kelly family.

Last, but most importantly, very special thanks must go to the local landowners whose properties form part of the ride course, and particularly to the Blundell family for continuing to host the ride on their property.

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