Windeyer endurance ride hailed a success

FIRST: Stephen Bennett riding Aloha Zac who were the first heavyweight in the 80km event in 4:56. Photo: Animal Focus.
FIRST: Stephen Bennett riding Aloha Zac who were the first heavyweight in the 80km event in 4:56. Photo: Animal Focus.

If you drove through the village of Windeyer on the long weekend you would have noticed an array of trucks, trailers and horses at the recreation ground. 

The quiet village became a hive of activity for the annual endurance equestrian event.

More than 100 riders and horses travelled from all over the sate and rode the extra mile in the 20, 40, 80 and 160 kilometre ride on Saturday and Sunday. 

It was the 16th year the endurance event got underway and organiser Allix Jones said this year’s competitors ranged from newcomers to the sport to old hands and the four races were met with great enthusiasm. 

“This year’s turnout was a huge success attracting riders coming from all over the state,” she said. 

“I was really happy with how the weekend went, it ran 90 per cent smoothly only a couple of hiccups which were quickly fixed. 

“I received great feedback, great course, awesome prizes, amazing food, enjoyed there time.

“As we are a small committee so everyone appreciated how much hard work, was put into the event.

“The weather was a little dull at times, having rained, but it wasn't freezing nor boiling hot which strangely enough is perfect riding weather.” 

Endurance not only tests stamina but character with the sport conducted rail, hail or shine. 

Ten riders and horses tackled the gruelling 160 kilometre course and only four managed to go the distance. 

Their long journey started at midnight and finished just prior to 9pm. 

Jones took on the 80 kilometre course and her success in the saddle continued, finish as the first lightweight rider to finish as well as sharing the line honours with winner of the middleweight division Fiona Meller. 

Stephen Bennet won heavyweight division while Tooraweenah’s Charlie Bonham and Sam Duff took out junior honours. 

The endurance season is in full swing and Jones said it is the best way to see different parts of the country and encouraged newcomers to come and give it a go. 

“Endurance is a very scenic sport, you ride over all types of terrain because all rides are in different townships, cities and states,” she said. 

“Every track is a new scene, which I find the most exciting.

“Endurance can be a very competitive sport leading to overseas travel and work, but it can be also a non competitive fun sport too.

“If you use internet, search Endurance NSW all the details are there, but word of mouth if you have friends that really into the sport maybe contact them for advice.”

Windeyer is known for its love of endurance events, having last held their annual Windeyer Twilight ride on November 12 last year.