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National Capital Brookvale 30th anniversary ride – 28 October 2012

See photos taken by various people before and after the ride, on the track and at the presentations

The National Capital (Brookvale) Endurance Ride turned 30 this year. Except for a few occasions when the ride had to be cancelled or moved into Canberra, it has been based at the Blundell family's Brookvale property every year since 1982. Anniversary celebrations, held in conjunction with the ride on 27–28 October this year, included a spit-roast dinner, birthday cake and a display of Brookvale ride history comprising maps, photos, ride results, stories and other memorabilia. A DVD containing over 800 photos spanning the history of the ride and some video footage of the 1986 ride were screened at the dinner. Much local endurance riding history is also on this website – see the Brookvale 30th anniversary series.

This year the ride returned to Two Sticks Road, part of the old course that has not been used for several years – the section forming part of the course for the 40 km ride and the second leg of the 80 km ride was last used in 1993. The new route, along Two Sticks Road and Blue Range Road in Brindabella National Park, was very scenic but involved a steady climb from 600 to 1200 metres in just over 20 km. The first leg, along Doctors Flat Road and the Scorgies and Maginot fire trails, was unchanged – it is all up and down and reaches 900 metres on four occasions. The 80 km course, overall, was therefore quite testing.

Entries were down a little, with only 44 in the 80 km ride, but 19 in the 40 km training ride and 26 in the 20 km social ride brought the total number of riders to 89. The challenge of the new second leg was reflected in the completion rate for the 80 km ride, with 10 of the 44 horses vetted out, eight on heart rate. Two horses were withdrawn, one before the start because the rider was ill and the other because the rider wanted to do only the first leg.

Jenny Shepheard and the black Arabian stallion Currowan Mojo won the ride in 4 hours 46 minutes, only five minutes slower than their winning time last year. Evan Drain-Shepheard rode the whole course with Jenny but his horse unfortunately did not recover sufficiently and was vetted out on heart rate at the final check. Jennifer Gilbertson on Kurrajong Shadad was second middleweight and Mitchell Ravallion on Danjera Jed third. First heavyweight was Frank Mollema on Littlebanks Crystal Wings, followed by Peter Norman on Tallaganda Downs Natifa and Scott Davenport on Alhambra Pierrot. The lightweight placegetters were April Newman on Lasaan, Shelly Ison on Aloha Fabian and Amanda Apperley on Jon De Le Jasper. The junior division was won by Cybele Coddington on Burren-dah Narla, with Olivia De Gruchy on Blake's Heaven Ventura second and Shantel Nagle on Conderosa Eternity third.

Jenny's two consecutive wins were a fitting end to the first 30 years of the Brookvale ride, which began with consecutive wins to Allan Robertson and Prancer in 1982 and 1983.

The first-placed horses also won the Best Conditioned Horse awards in each of the four divisions. Their riders each went home with a rug for the first placing and a clock and a $100 voucher from Equine Miracle for the best conditioned horse.

Frank Mollema receiving the First Heavyweight award from ACTERA president Michelle O'Leary (photo by Roz Edmunds)   Jenny Shepheard receiving the First Middleweight award from ACTERA president Michelle O'Leary; Maxine McArthur at left (photo by Roz Edmunds)   April Newman receiving the First Lightweight award from ACTERA president Michelle O'Leary (photo by Roz Edmunds)   Cybele Coddington receiving the First Junior award from ACTERA president Michelle O'Leary (photo by Roz Edmunds)

ACTERA president Michelle O'Leary presenting awards to first placegetters, left to right: Frank Mollema (heavyweight); Jenny Shepheard (middleweight) (Maxine McArthur at left); April Newman (lightweight); and Cybele Coddington (junior). Photos by Roz Edmunds

The Allen Blundell Memorial Trophy was won by Karen Rhodes, who completed the ride on her six-year-old Arabian gelding Stratfield Ghayth. The Bruce Neal Trophy for junior riders was awarded to Olivia De Gruchy, riding Blake's Heaven Ventura.

Karen Rhodes (right) receiving Allan Blundell Memorial Trophy from Judy Blundell   Olivia de Gruchy, winner of the Bruce Neal Trophy (photo by Andrew Hennell)

Photos of trophy winners, left to right: Karen Rhodes (right) receiving the Allen Blundell Memorial Trophy from Judy Blundell (photo by Roz Edmunds); and Olivia de Gruchy, winner of the Bruce Neal Trophy (photo by Andrew Hennell)

Three riders, Fia Hasko-Stewart, Jeremy Banwell and Marty Moran, secured their fifth National Capital buckles. Several who had already reached that milestone added another to their total. They included Shelly Ison, Jennifer Gilbertson, Karen Rhodes, Talea Hasko-Stewart, Mary Hollingsworth and Peter Norman. Shelly's 14 will take many years to equal.

Most of the participants in the shorter rides were successful, with 17 of the 19 training riders and 22 of the 26 social riders completing successfully. The completion award for the training riders was a water bottle and for social riders a magnet with the silhouette of horse and rider against the Parliament House flagpole that is featured on the buckle.

Riders and vet of 1982: (left to right) Allan Robertson, Richard Chapman, Searle Johnston, Bryan Kidman, Judith Perkins and Kath Dyason (photo by Uros)
Riders and vet of ’82: (left to right) Allan Robertson, Richard Chapman, Searle Johnston, Bryan Kidman, Judith Perkins and Kath Dyason (photo by Uros)

Six of the original 39 riders returned to Brookvale for the 30th anniversary celebrations. They were the 1982 winner Allan Robertson, second placegetter Bryan Kidman, fourth lightweight Judith Perkins and three of the 23 riders who were unsuccessful in 1982: Kath Dyason, Merilyn Payne and Searle Johnston. Searle, who became the first rider ever vetted out of the National Capital Ride when his horse Shinda was found to be lame at the pre-ride check in 1982, completed the 40 km training ride this year on his endurance horse Boris. Richard Chapman, who was the head vet at Brookvale in 1982 and for many years after, also took part in the celebrations. Helen Thompson deserves a special mention for her marathon effort in baking and decorating 12 chocolate birthday cakes which were served at the dinner and at the presentations.

Denise Horsfall and her daughter Kelly, who were respectively third lightweight and second junior in 1982, had planned to be at Brookvale for the anniversary celebrations and Denise had intended to take part in the 20 km social ride. Instead, Denise spent the weekend in Canberra Hospital having surgery to repair a broken hip, the result of being knocked over by a horse a few days earlier. We wish Denise a speedy recovery and hope to see her riding at Brookvale next year.

Entrants in this year's three rides included several people who have been riding at Brookvale since the 1980s or early 1990s: Colleen Clancy, Stuart and Anne Lymbery, John Robertson, John Symons, Kristen Proudfoot, Keryn Kefous, Jennifer Gilbertson, Ray and Karen Rhodes, Peter Norman and Shelly Ison. Other riders from the early years who came back for a visit included Carol Sparkes, Gillian Petersohn, Robyn Hadlow, Nicki Mokhiza (Ogilvie), Matt Schunke and Simon Bain. Several members of the Blundell family attended the presentations. Mrs Judy Blundell, wife of the late Allen Blundell, presented the Allen Blundell Memorial Trophy.

The ACT Endurance Riders Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the Blundell family over the 30 years of the ride. We also thank the other property owners, including Taits, Webbs, Waterfords, Bill Martin and Bridget Brown, who kindly allow us to use their land as part of the ride course.

We greatly appreciate the support of the Snowy Zone and the local businesses that sponsored our ride this year: Bendora Arabians, Equine Miracle, Hiscocks Saddlery, Horseland and The Chaffman.

ACTERA's resources were spread very thin this year as we had to provide our own communications (due to the ride coinciding with a major cycling event to which WICEN has an ongoing commitment) and our own canteen. We could not have run the ride without the many volunteers who helped at the base and on the course. We also appreciated the generous help of some riders with dismantling and packing up on Sunday. Our two photographers, Andrew Hennell and Uros, provided an excellent photographic record of the 30th anniversary ride, Andrew taking photos of the riders on-course and Uros capturing the action at the ride base. Andrew's photos, which include participants in all three rides, can be viewed on his website

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