Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


Quest for the Quilty

As always, Australia's premier endurance ride brings out the best in horses and riders.

Story: Suzy Young
Photos: James McEwan

Quest for the QuiltyNestled among the magnificent mountain scenery of south-east Queensland, Boonah is a long way from the Arabian desert.

But when the 2000 Quilty Cup endurance ride came to town in June, 258 predominantly Arab horses pitted centuries of Bedouin breeding against the rigours of the Australian bush.

On the day of the midnight start, no one seems worried about approaching bad weather as the record turnout of horsed goes through the pre-ride vet check.

And no-one seems daunted by the prospect of riding 160 kilometres in 24 hours, or 100 miles in a day as the ride was first conceived, on a tough mountain course.

Members of probably the largest private team, Castlebar Endurance Arabians from Albury, NSW, are resting around their big fire, surrounded by pens for the ten horses and caravans for the riders and some 15 staff - strappers, vet, masseuse and a team manager.

Quest for the QuiltyThis looks, and is, a highly professional outfit that lives and breathes endurance events. English rider Marcia Pavord is enjoying a massage from masseuse Jane Bourke.

Manager Chris Gates is joking with his strappers as he doles out supplies, and his wife, champion international rider Meg Wade, sits serenely by the fire.

"I don't get uptight," she says. "We compete all year, and although this is a big event, our preparation is ongoing, although...," she smiles and confesses,"...I don't really like riding in the dark." Story end

Full story Issue 12, August-September, 2000

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