International riders compete at The Rock

Col Lewis

Col Lewis

RIDERS from as far away as France and Sweden have competed in a world class endurance ride in the Riverina.

The ride holds significance on the world stage due to the fact it was affiliated with Federation Equestrian International (FEI).

For ride director Col Lewis the event, which used Bullenbong Station at The Rock as a base, was a big success.

He said 147 competitors entered and despite the international interest there was plenty of support from southern NSW. In fact, 60 per cent of the riders were from the local area. 

OLDEST AND YOUNGEST: Simon Bain, 78, and Poppy Kettlewell, 10, complete the 160km endurance ride at The Rock in southern NSW. Picture: Supplied

OLDEST AND YOUNGEST: Simon Bain, 78, and Poppy Kettlewell, 10, complete the 160km endurance ride at The Rock in southern NSW. Picture: Supplied

“I was really impressed with how the ride went, I had put a lot into it,” he said. 

In addition to holding the role of ride director Mr Lewis of Gregadoo also had two horses in the event.

One in the 80km event and another in the 40km.  These horses were ridden by other riders so he could concentrate on running the event. 

The Australian Endurance Riders Association (ERA) and FEI ran the events in conjunction including a, 160km, 120km and 80km.

Part of the atmosphere involved starting the 160km section at midnight.

This meant riders set off through roads, tracks and properties in the eastern Riverina. 

Mr Lewis said one of the highlights of the event was the large number of horses and competitors who completed the event. This meant they were not vetted out. 

He said the completion rate was testament to both the husbandry of the competitors and their support crews as well as the nature of the course.

“When mapping out the course you think of a lot of things, potential hazards, main roads, and not impacting on private property,” he said. 

Although the sport has its winners Mr Lewis explained that completion, and looking after the horse and keeping it in the best shape was the ultimate aim of endurance riding. 

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