Marlborough horses, riders show endurance at SI champs

Four Marlborough equestrian combinations made the long trip to Fairlie for the Farmlands and CopRice South Island Endurance and CTR Championships and notched up a notable success rate.

On the first day, Friday March 3, West Coast-based Marlborough member Anna Hynes riding Bell View Al-Shama took out the 40km Intermediate class, with a score of 104 points, from four other strong rivals, a top effort on a borrowed horse.

On Saturday two main events took place, with the 160km senior event starting at 1am, in steady drizzle which didn't let up for most of the morning. This six-loop class was eventually won by Oamaru's Carla Barakat, from Nelson Lakes rider Alison Higgins. Their ride time was just over 12 hours, a mammoth effort to complete.

Also on Saturday was the 104km class, starting at 5.30am in pitch black visibility and drizzle. Marlborough riders Tessa Wells, on Masada Park Maestro, and Heidi Bulfin, riding Stonelea Sparkling Rose, led this four-loop event from start to finish, eventually racing the final 500m for an exciting finish which saw Wells edge out Bulfin by less than a nose. The two combinations also posted the fastest speeds for the weekend, finishing in just under seven hours for an overall speed of 15kph. Stonelea Sparkling Rose also took out the Best Conditioned Horse award, making the long trip down all the more worthwhile.

On Sunday it was Waihopai Valley rider Linda Harmon's turn, lining up for the 120km event on MF Shaheen, her homebred gelding. They finished first in this class, in a time of eight hours 55 minutes, well clear of second place.  Harmon's horse also picked up Best Conditioned Horse.

The course was run over eleven picturesque Fairlie properties on a challenging track.

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