Spectators are most welcome to attend endurance events run by Southern Highlands Endurance Ride Inc. There will be signs to the Ride Base from the nearest access on the Hume Highway, which will indicate the best route to the event.
The Ride Base is essentially a large horse camp, where most competitors set up camp with temporary horse yards and strapping areas. Strapping refers to the art of preparing a horse for assessment by the vets after it has completed each leg of the course.
At the Ride Base you will be see plenty of horses coming and going, and being hosed, washed, fed, saddled and ridden. You can settle in with coffee and food to watch the vet area where each horse is assessed by the vets, including a 40m trot out in hand to check for lameness, or you can wander around and see all the different set-ups.
There will be on-site catering and real coffee. The Wingello Forest Endurance Ride also has a trade stall area, which typically hosts around 10-15 businesses.
The shorter introductory rides attract a wide variety of horse breeds and riders from many different disciplines. The 80km rides attract a competitive field of experienced endurance riders and horses. Most competitive endurance horses are Arabian or Arabian crosses, as this breed naturally has the body size, musculature and heart that is best suited to endurance competition.
The course itself is generally closed to spectators for the duration of the event, for safety reasons. At some events there may be spectator points identified.
The fastest horses in each weight division of an 80km ride will re-present to the vets as a group an hour or so after finishing, for a ‘best-conditioned’ horse workout.
For a more detailed description and better understanding of what is actually going on at the ride base, you can download this Spectator Info Sheet prepared for the 2018 Wingello Forest Endurance Ride.