Endurance horse rider to tackle competition abroad
A champion horse rider is heading overseas to put her talents of endurance to the test.
Tess Wells, of Renwick, will represent Equestrian Sport New Zealand (ESNZ) in Queensland, Australia, when she takes part in one of ridings fastest growing sports.
The South Island champion will tackle the Trans-Tasman endurance team event for the first time where she will compete in a 100-kilometre race.
This follows a productive couple of months in the United States last year where Tess says she learned some "valuable training skills."
The former Marlborough Girls' College student keeps two horses, Barney and Buddy, at her parents' Okaramio farm.
She got Barney, 13, when he was 3-years-old and the pair have competed together ever since Tess started endurance racing about four years ago.
"He comes everywhere with me. He's part of the family and is a real piece of work when he wants to be and has so much attitude.
"We grew up together and used to fight as he's tenacious and obnoxious but he loves competing. He just seems to know when something is important.
"Barney is my baby really and with endurance it's about the relationship you have with your horse. Barney and I have been together so long that although we do argue, ultimately we do really well together," she says.
Endurance rides vary in distance between 40 and 160kms and are normally covered in a single day. Novice event riders start with 40km race rides are held throughout the country, starting in August and usually finishing in April.
Tess says it is the horse with the fastest time who wins and the horse's health is always a "top priority".
Each horse is carefully monitored by a vet and gets a rest stop of 40 minutes after 40km of the course.
Tess, who will use a borrowed horse when she competes in Australia, says the horses are all checked to make sure they're fine and ready to keep going.
- The Marlborough Express