Get a Stirling start

Riders set out on an endurance event at Stirlings Crossing, Imbil. 263986_02

By Erle Levey

Checking a horse’s temperature, listening to its heart beat and counting its breaths.

It’s a weekend with a difference but an essential part of an education weekend for endurance riders to be held this month in the Mary Valley.

Stirling’s Crossing Endurance Club at Imbil will be hosting the weekend of January 29-30.

Club president Kim Moir said 45 people attended the program last year.

“The topics covered were very well received and ranged from selecting a horse to do endurance, caring for and training your horse and then preparing your horse for longer rides,’’ she said. 

“Various presenters, mainly members of our club, spoke on a range of administrative procedures and the responsibilities that we all have towards biosecurity, horse welfare and riding well, with consideration to other riders and road users.”

The first requirement of endurance riding is submitting your horse to scrutiny by a temperature, pulse and respiration steward (TPR).

It’s to ensure the horse is in top condition before presenting it to a vet as a pre-requisite of the sport.

The vet needs to check him out before you are allowed to even start in a social, 40 km, 80 km or 160 km event.

The TPR steward will record the vital signs of your steed in his/her logbook – or on a training card, if the horse does not yet have a logbook.

Then, and only then, may the horse be presented for inspection to the vet.

All TPR stewards must be accredited under Australian Endurance Riders’ Association (AERA) rules. They are volunteers who assist with pre-ride vetting and vetting at end of legs, and who play a vital role in the sport.

Australian endurance riding has amongst the toughest horse welfare rules in the world.

This strict code, which places the well-being of the horse as the overriding consideration in an event – has its origins in the way endurance riding has evolved in Australia.

TPRs are central to the management of equine welfare.

At this year’s education weekend, the Stirling Crossing Equestrian Club will be offering a 10 km ride on Saturday afternoon and a 20 km ride on Sunday morning. 

All processes from nominations through to vetting and completion will be as for any other ride so participants will learn about the rules of the sport in a riding environment. 

The venue at Stirlings Crossing Equestrian Centre will be available from Wednesday, January 26, for those who might wish to make a longer camping experience with their horse. Just let Kim Moir know if you are arriving earlier and note that all horses must present with a 10-day temperature log on arrival to support biosecurity requirements for the event.

On the agenda will be horse containment – yards that are compliant with the AERA Rulebook;

Biosecurity requirements;

Introduction to Endurance and Horse Welfare – the opportunities and the challenges.

This includes selecting, caring for, and initial training of an endurance horse;

Training rides and their purpose;

Preparing a horse for a longer ride;

Riding the course and course etiquette;

A Temperature Pulse and Respiration course (TPR) will be held from 1.30 pm: TPR-ing is a great way to volunteer but also to know how to look after your horse;

Strapping your horse;

Vet ring protocols and behaviour;

Presenting a horse for vetting and vetting parameters;

Trot outs – presenting your horse to the vet for gait assessment;

Admin procedures including the Electronic Timing System;

Membership and volunteering.

Organisers are also hoping that Nikki from Rebalance – Equine Bodywork will be presenting on how work impacts on the horses skeleton and muscles with great visuals.

Participants need to nominate for the education component for catering purposes – lunch is provided on Saturday, BBQ dinner for $10 on Saturday night, otherwise self-catering.

A barbecue is available for those who want to use it.

The only cost for the workshop is a nomination fee for rides – go to events.manehub.com/events to nominate.

For more information or registration contact Stirling’s Crossing Endurance Club president Kim Moir 0476 166 903 or info@stirlingscrossingendurance.asn.au