CEI 3*/CEN Senior 160km: 1st (NZL) Jorja James and Glendaar Windsong; 2nd (AUS) Brandon Dick and Cameo Cranberry Moon (who also won Best Conditioned). Credit Grace Blyth.

Horse welfare was at the fore at the National Endurance Championships this weekend with five vets including Foreign Vet Delegate Sarah Coombs (GBR) closely monitoring the horses over distances that ranged from 30km to 160km.  The horses – many of which were Arabians or Arabian derivatives – were assessed and rested in between up to six circuits that spanned across eight farms in the depths of the Wairarapa.  The expected completion rate of 50% was far exceeded, with 85% of all riders and 100% of the juniors attempting and finishing the 160km trail.

Dr Mel Williams (centre) monitors a horse during a 40-minute rest.

ESNZ Endurance Chair  Sue Billigheimer says the success rate is a testament to the pre-event conditioning and the care of the equines, many of whom had travelled large distances to the event from around the country and across the Tasman. 

“A huge thanks goes to ESNZ’s Official Horse Welfare partner IRT for their support of the veterinary services that were provided for the event,” she says.

Challenging terrain after a dry summer in the Wairarapa.

The event was spellbinding as winners across multiple age groups competed on challenging terrain in changeable conditions that ranged from windy, to brilliant sunshine, from a dark, cold and crisp 2am start. 

Event Secretary Wendy Farnell is hard at work while the rest of the country sleeps.

The Nationals were hosted by Wairarapa Endurance and CTR Club and President of the OC Shane Dougan commented, “… it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a community to run a Championship.” This weekend was no exception, led by a small and dedicated army of volunteers.   One of the hard workers that makes these events possible is Wendy Farnell pictured in her vet gate office. Wendy, alongside others, worked tirelessly to keep things running, along with local farmers and neighbours who described it as the “highlight” of the farming calendar.

ESNZ team Jo Colin, Ange Kelly-Smith and Heidi Bulfin with a local farmer managing one of the check points.

Here is the full list of results:

160 Km CEI/CEN Senior Jorja James, Glendaar Windsong

160 Km JY Isla Mutch, Sahar Park Moondance

120Km CEI/CEN Senior Fiona Stephen, Miro Blaze of Glory

120 KM JY Emma Watson, WNA Aida

100 Km CEI/CEN Senior Lisa Southon, Tararua Marley

100 Km CEI/CEN JY Robert James, Glendaar Tafiete Flame

60 KM Intermediate Senior Anna Graham, Aspen Hills Sihra

60 Km Intermediate JY Lexi James, Glendaar Ophelia

60 Km Open CTR Jaimee Martens, Annihilation

30 Km Intermediate CTR Andrea Ropiha, Glenmore Capri

30 Km Junior CTR Ashlea Watson, Little Victory

The riders who completed the gruelling 160km each received a gold buckle to acknowledge their significant feat.

Best Conditioned:

160 Km Senior Cameo Cranberry Moon 

160 Km JY  Sahar Park Moondance

120Km CEI/CEN Senior  Miro Blaze of Glory

120 KM JY  WNA Aida

100 Km CEI/CEN Senior Tararua Marley

100 Km CEI/CEN JY  Glendaar Tafiete Flame

14-year-old Isla Mutch who took out first place in the CEI JY 3*/CEN Junior 160km class on Sahar Park Moondance (who also won Best Conditioned).