ACT Endurance Riders Association
National Capital Brookvale 18–19 October 2014
What a great weekend! We were very lucky to have fantastic weather throughout the weekend and our beautiful ridebase Brookvale was, once again, picture perfect after some welcome rain earlier in the week. Thank-yous go to absolutely everyone: our committee, our helpers – it was a great team effort – and all our participants. But first and foremost, a huge thank you to Gertraud Norton, our main ride organiser and hero, who somehow managed to successfully navigate the ever increasing number of administrative hurdles put in our way to hold our ride! Not to mention all the other work she put in at crazy hours of the night to ensure our ride was a success.
We also want to wholeheartedly thank Roz Edmunds for the many jobs she carried out, all the TPRs, office staff, track markers, Mark Norton for carting water, the checkpoint and gate people, members of the local WICEN club, Helen Thompson and her catering team for their delicious burgers and all our other amazing volunteers! They all did a tremendous job and we simply couldn't run the ride without them.
As usual, Brookvale set the standard as a true traditional Australian endurance ride. We had 69 riders in total taking part in the 20 km, 40 km and 80 km events, a little down on previous years, with 29 signing up for the 80 km test.
With the rain earlier in the week, we had hoped that the tracks may have softened, but by the weekend it was hard to see where the rain had been. The first leg of the 80 km course, a tough 50 km leg climbing up over the beautiful Brindabella Ranges with magnificent views, was handled well by riders and horses. The second leg, a more gentle 30 km course through the pine and bushland of Sherwood Forest, was welcomed by everyone. The 40 km and 20 km tracks provided an engaging course and were well received by everyone.
We had excellent results across all fields, with an 83% success rate in the 80 km, 71% in the 40 km trainer and 81% in the km introductory ride. We did have a small number of riders who timed out but, from all reports, they rode the course carefully, took excellent care of their horses and enjoyed the ride to the max!
We'd like to thank our kind sponsors, Zemzem Arabians, Horseland, Bendora Arabians and Katsumi Ishiguro (who has since returned to Japan). Many thanks go to our wonderful Head Vet Simon Bain, who is also President of the ACT Endurance Riders Association. Simon was assisted by Natasha Hovanessian from Canberra Vet Hospital. Thanks also go to Chief Steward Belinda Hopley and Assistant Chief Steward Lyn Taylor. At the awards presentation, Belinda commented that the ride had been one of the most friendly, relaxed rides she'd attended, with no major incidents or metabolic issues.
Congratulations to all our participants, in particular Ian Curtis on the amazing Blake's Heaven Summer Wind who completed the ride in 5h 39m to win First Middle Weight with line honours; he was also awarded Best Conditioned. The Alan Blundell Memorial Award went to Kaliana Curtis (Ian Curtis's daughter) riding Lentara Park Heather in her second 80 km ride. The Bruce Neal Junior Encouragement Award was presented to Levi Robinson riding Kurumba Beamish. Although Levi and his mum Rowena Robinson timed out, both their horses vetted through and we felt it appropriate to recognize Levi's gutsy effort at Brookvale, his first ever 80 km ride.
Finally, as some participants would have noticed, the Brookvale property has been subdivided and the ridebase was sold only days before the ride. At this stage, after 32 years of extraordinary endurance challenges, it's not known yet whether this year will be the last ever Brookvale ride. It is one of the last remaining true mountain rides in the NSW Snowy Zone and we're hoping the new owners are able to accommodate the ride to keep the dream alive. Stay tuned for next year.
Ride results are published on the Australian Endurance Riders Association (AERA) website (aeraspace.com.au/RideResults.aspx). Use the following links to go to specific distance results:
Results summary – 80 km ride
HW Started: 5 Completed: 5
MW Started: 13 Completed: 11
LW Started: 9 Completed: 8
JUN Started: 2 Completed: 0