Vine prevails in test of endurance

Ellen Vine aboard Alzarah in Sunday’s 80km Tumut Endurance ride. Photo: Animal Focus.

Tumut endurance rider Ellen Vine has demonstrated that she and her trusty steed Alzarah are in good shape ahead of June’s NSW Championships, with a strong showing at the Tumut Endurance on Saturday and Sunday.

Riding the eight-year-old through the Bondo State Forest 80km course, Vine and Alzarah were too good for their rivals, coming in some 40 minutes ahead of the next competitor. 

Despite the strong victory, Vine was just happy to complete the course, saying it tested the merit of both rider and horse with many good challenges.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. It was challenging and required you and your horse to work together to navigate the terrain,” Vine said.

“It was a true ‘to complete is to win’ ride, which is the motto of our sport in Australia.”

Vine and Alzarah have really come of age in recent years, highlighted by a 23rd placing at the Tom Quilty in Queensland late last year.

The pair will now focus their attention on the NSW Championships, which will be an extended 160km version of the course, an event proudly hosted by Tumut Endurance.

“She pulled up fantastically after the ride. I was very proud of her efforts,” Vine said. 

“She led for the entire event and finished 40 minutes ahead of the next competitor.

“So far so good for the State championships.”

Other winners on the day included Allan Caslick riding A’Landell Jester home in the heavyweight category, while Julie Hooper riding A’Landell Enigma won lightweight, and Madison Hooper riding Night Fire won junior category.

The Tumut Endurance committee had to rally late to to host both 40km and 80km event in the Bondo Forest after the Bumbaldry event was cancelled at short notice.

“With only two and a half weeks preparation, the event ran smoothly and was a fantastic opportunity to test different aspects, including the new course for the New South Wales State Championships 160km to be held in June at the same location,” Vine said.

“The event attracted 46 riders in the 40km and 47 in the 80km