Mudgee Endurance Riders Club will dedicate its 40th anniversary ride on May 25 and 26 to its veterinarian of 36 years, the late Ray Gooley.
Planning is well underway for the 40th ride which will start from the Cooyal Progress Association Hall on Wollar Road.
The main event of 83 kilometres will head out at 6am on Sunday, May 26, and a 40-kilometre training ride will begin at 7am.
There will also be a 20-kilometre social ride on Saturday afternoon starting at 1pm. Vetting pre-ride takes place from 11am on Saturday.
Mudgee Endurance Riders Club member Pat Dickinson said the course is not difficult and travels along quiet lanes, private properties, fire trails and bush tracks.
“The 20-kilometre course is suitable for novice horses and any reasonably fit horse should have no trouble completing the event,” she said.
“Riding time is three hours at an average of seven kilometres per hour, a nice easy trot.
“We would like to see pony club members, trail riders and all interested riders to come and enjoy endurance riding and join the celebrations.”
Every rider who completes the course and whose horse passes the final vet check will receive an award.
Dickinson said there will be a commemorative buckle for the 80-kilometre riders and the Ray Gooley Memorial Trophy for the best managed horse, to be presented by his wife Kerry.
There will also be trophies for the 40-kilometre riders and medals for the 20-kilometre riders. Kandos’ Terry Rohr, the winner of the first ride in 1972, will be assisting with presentations.
Originally called the Central Tablelands Equestrian Group, Mudgee was among the first endurance clubs formed in NSW.
The original course was 75 miles and started from the old sale yards which remained the base for 25 years.
The final ride at the sale yards saw 160 horses entered.
The ride base was moved three times until its present home at Cooyal where there was an extraordinary entry of horses in 2004.
Previously all checkpoints were away from the sale yards base and there were about 70 gates which needed to be manned. The first section of 24 miles consisted of roadwork, hard stone mountainous terrain and areas of thick bush.
Eventually the distance was reduced to 80 kilometres and the course altered to a cloverleaf pattern with all veterinarian checks at ride base.
This year’s check points will be managed by Cooyal and Moolarben Rural Fire Services.
Rohr won the first ride on a thoroughbred mare Babe in a time of six hours and four and a half minutes.
In 1974 the ride winner was 16-year-old Mudgee girl Cheryl Mackander riding Brigadier, a gedling by Grey Diamond, a pure-bred Arabian stallion owned by Cheryl’s father Keith.
Cheryl also won the 21st ride in 1992 riding Blue Clint. A canteen will be open all weekend and a two-course dinner plus slice of anniversary cake will be held on the Saturday night for $20, juniors $15.
Entry fees for the 80-kilometre event are $90 for seniors, $55 for juniors.
It is $55 to enter the 40-kilometre event and $25 for the 20-kilometre plus day membership. Camping is open from midday on Friday.
Residents of Cooyal, Kains Flat and Botobolar should be aware that horse riders will be on local roads during Saturday and Sunday and drive with caution.
Pre-nominations are appreciated before May 20 to the secretary, Mette Sutton on 0400 308 626 or firstname.lastname@example.org