There was something for everyone at Wingello in 2014, with introductory rides held on the Saturday, standard distance endurance rides on Sunday, a burning hot campfire with live music on Saturday night, choice of catering menus, espresso coffee all weekend, trade stalls showcasing specialised endurance equipment through to the new Isuzu Ute, separate superb catering for the Cherished Volunteers, and undercover seating with a great view of the vetting area.
2014 was the biggest year yet for Wingello, with 296 entries across the two days of competition, and around 700 people attending at some stage over the weekend.
There were 132 horses entered across the 5km, 10km and 20km introductory rides, with a wonderful array of horses great and small, with spots, feathers and winter fur, even a mule. Riders came from a diversity of sporting backgrounds, dressage riders, eventers, pony club, campdrafters and polocrosse – all gathered for a beautiful day out in the forest.
It was lovely to see so many of the very young ready to give it a go. Our one size fits all numbered bibs nearly reached the ground on some!
Sunday attracted a big field of regular endurance riders, with participants travelling from all over NSW, and some from Victoria to compete. At the pointy end of the 80km field, the ride is extremely competitive. This year the fastest time was 3 hours 41 mins, with 8 horses arriving in the first 12 minutes.
The 40/60km training ride held on Sunday allowed riders to decide at the 40km mark whether they were happy with their 40km completion, and ready to retire from the ride, or whether they were keen to do a further 20km to achieve a 60km completion.
A dedicated team of Cherished Volunteers were hard at work behind the scenes to bring this event to life. Each volunteer chose their task and time shift, across roles such as timekeeping, pencilling for the vets (where you can learn a whole lot about the vetting process and what the various scores mean), sitting on checkpoints in the forest, radio communications, tending the campfire, computer data entry, photography, catering, log book logistics, selling of merchandise etc.
The winners this year were:
1st Junior – Stacey Clarke riding Oso Bandit, 5:01hrs
1st Lightweight – Adeline Gibsons riding Blakes Heaven Venus, 3:49hrs
= 1st Middleweight – Ian Curtis riding Blakes Heaven Summer Reign and Talea Hasko-Stewart riding Blakes Heaven Bombora, 3:49hrs
1st Heavyweight – Heidi Wade riding Yinbilliko Jackson, 3:49hrs