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ACTERA at the NSW State Championships – July 2008

The NSW State Endurance Championships were held at Manilla near Tamworth on the weekend of 5–7 July.

The 160 km championship ride started at 2 am on Sunday. ACTERA members Talea and Fia Hasko-Stewart entered the ride and Talea completed to receive 4th junior out of seven. Fia's horse vetted out lame after 116 km.

Both riders felt that their horses handled the course and the distance with ease. Both were excellent metabolically throughout the ride; in fact Ventura received only 5 Bs over the 5 vet checks, the rest being all As and 1s. However, both horses were barefoot and were hampered by lack of hoof protection.

Nearly all of the 86 horses in the championship had shoes with pads underneath, although two horses had boots on all four feet. The Canberra horses started with hoofboots on all four feet (glued on with EasyFoam) but these quickly came off. Perhaps the Easyfoam was not mixed just right, or dampness in the boots where they had been washed stopped it from setting properly.

Talea's horse, Blake's Heaven Ventura, completed around 140 km with both hind feet bare and 50–60 km with one front foot bare as well. Fia's horse, BH Dubonnet, had even less help from boots and with most of the course over gravel roads, it was no surprise she became sore eventually on the bare front foot.

Fia and Talea found their inability to keep the boots on their horses very frustrating. It may be that they do not have the time or patience to properly prepare the boots or perhaps it is just a matter of experience.

The ride was won by a heavyweight and lightweight who crossed the line holding hands: Stuart Hitchcock ( a former State Champion) riding Farras, and Dianne Luker.

The vet out rate was almost 50 per cent.

The same course will be used for the 2010 Quilty which is something for many ACTERA members to aspire to.

Despite the disappointment of Fia's failure to complete it was a good weekend for the Canberra 'girls'. Both horses went very well, even though Dubonnet (Bonny) was a last minute substitute for Fia's horse, Reign, who had got out into someone's feed and suffered for it. It was Ventura's second 160km completion and he proved again what a reliable and tough horse he is, vetting through despite rubbing from one Epic boot gaiter.

Talea and Ventura were called up to do a best conditioned workout. Despite minimal warm up time they did a servicable workout at a trot with no sign of stiffness but also without a lot of enthusiasm from Ventura!

The weather was kind; showers were forecast for Sunday and heavy rain for Monday but the showers were brief. The cloud cover also meant it was not as cold as it might have been.

Although they took two days to travel to the ride, they were able to get home in one day, taking about 10 hours for the trip.

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