Endurance riding is an equine sport whereby competitors ride their horses over a pre-determined course against time. The fastest rider to complete the course and successful vet the horse through on completion wins the event.
The Gippsland championship is a 80km ride. The competitors and staff arrive at the grounds (toongabbie adult riders club grounds) on the Friday afternoon or Saturday morning prior to the event. The competitor is required to enter the ride and the horse undergoes a pre-event vet check to ensure that the horse is fit to start.
The ride is divided into “legs” – in this case a 40km (marked with red arrows ), followed by another 40km (marked with black arrows) . At the completion of each loop the horse is required to present to the vets for review within 30min of completion to ensure the horse is fit to continue in the event. (many parameters are checked including lameness, heart rate , hydration status ect). There is a hold time between legs of 60 mins , this includes the 30min preparation time for vetting.
The ride commences at 8am, all riders are marshalled and their competitor number taken so that the chief steward is aware of how many riders (and who they are) at a given time are on track. At the beginning of the ride the riders leave together but quickly spread over the course as riders will ride at different paces. The first road crossing 500meters from base is manned with a person and vehicle (flashing yellow warning light on roof on vehicle) and the riders are guided across the road safely. Within 3km the riders enter the bush away from roads and traffic.
Along the course there are dedicated checkpoints , as the rider passes through these checkpoints they are required to announce their competitor number which is recorded by the checkpoint personnel. This is to ensure that all riders stay on course and are accounted for during the event. At all times there is a rescue float available if a rider chooses to withdraw and return to base.
On completion of each leg , time keepers record arrival time back at base and the time the riders returns to the course on the second and subsequent legs.
The running of the event is managed by the chief steward who is onsite over the weekend. Veterinary staff are on base over the weekend and are available to treat any horses if required. A designated first aid person (off duty MICA paramedic) is onsite for the duration of the event.
Risks are assessed and managed as per the attached risk management document.
The first 40km is through bush land behind Toongabbie & Glengarry (a DEWLP permit has been applied for). The second 40km traverses stock routes, laneways and quiet country roads in the farmland between Toongabbie & Glengarry & Cowwar. VicRoads have been consulted and provided with this document also.
This event has occurred annually for more than 10 years without incident. It attracts competitors from all over Victoria to Gippsland and promotes tourism for the future.
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