Despite some questionable weather in the lead up to this year’s event, there was no more perfect place to be on the fourth weekend in May than on a horse in the Wingello State Forest. The weather was idyllic, the trails inviting, and the company, well, you just can’t beat being around horse people!
270 horse riders from all over NSW, from Victoria and even a rider from Tasmania, made the trip to Wingello this year. They were welcomed and supported by a team of 50 Cherished Volunteers, coming from as far afield as the north and central coasts of NSW, and from the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.
Major sponsors China Horse Club, Jon-de-Le Arabians and New-Moon Stud, provided great prizes to three places in all four riding divisions, as well as Best Conditioned Horse and teams event ribbons and trophies.
The start of the introductory rides on Saturday was quite a spectacle, with 129 yellow vests streaming out the gate. There were dressage horses, Standardbreds, polo ponies, heavy horses and miniatures, all out to try their hoof at endurance.
The rock and roll horse float was all lit up at the super campfire on Saturday night, with Dave Newman again providing great entertainment. Catering supplied by the Wingello Village Store, one of our sponsors, and by Snax on Trax Café (also serving up real coffee all weekend).
Sunday dawned frosty and chilly, warming to a gorgeous day in the sunshine. Ninety one riders set out in the 80km ride, followed soon after by 50 riders in the 42/62km elevator training ride.
Line honours went to Andrew Bailey riding Bullio Solute and John Robertson riding Karabil Asis, finishing tied in a time of 4:35hrs. A little slower than previous years due to slippery conditions, particularly with many horses doing their final run before the 50th Anniversary Tom Quilty Gold Cup National Championships held only two weeks later. Andrew and Bullio Solute backed up their win at Wingello with a 4th place Heavyweight at the Tom Quilty – Congratulations on a super result!