WA riders heading to NSW for the 50th Tom Quilty Endurance ride.

by Vicki Portelli

Three West Australian riders and their horses will be trekking across to Nullarbor to celebrate the 50th Anniversary event of the Tom Quilty Gold Cup, 6 and 7th June 2015 in NSW.

Peter Farrell

Peter Farrell and A-Landell Kazade
Photograph by Belinda Cruickshanks
Fast Paced Photography

Peter Farrell has been competing in endurance rides for six years now. His trusted mount is a 9yr old Pure Arabian (Crabbet / Polish bloodlines) gelding, A-Landell Kazade affectionately known as ‘Cazaly'. Sired by Clovelly Park Kazeem, the dam was Karista Serenade, bred in NSW.

This will be Peter's second attempt at the Quilty. Together Peter and Cazaly have conquered over 1500kms in the five years since they teamed up. On their first attempt at the Gold Buckle, in Wagin, WA, the excitement of the event was a little too much for Cazaly and he couldn’t settle enough to ensure that he ate and drank enough to sustain the 100miles. Eventually they were vetted out at the fourth vet check after 148 close!

To try and overcome Cazaly enthusiasm, Peter has been working him in crowded places as part of the training to get him used to what may be a line-up in NSW of 350 competitors up at the start line for the Quilty this year.

The 2015 Quilty course is very hilly, which is different from what WA riders normally train and compete in so is important that Peter is very specific with his regime and training in the lead up to the event to reduce the chances of lameness in the NSW terrain. With the weeks counting down, Peter and Cazaly have been venturing out regularly, consisting of hilly workouts, moderate paced long rides and on easy days, enjoying long, cool strolls on the beach.

Deb Ryan

Deb Ryan and Forsetdew Karisma
Photograph by Chris Ross

Deb Ryan is a qualified Equine Touch practitioner and has been competing in endurance rides for the past 24 years. She is also the longest serving Chief Steward in WA, a position she holds very proudly. Deb has had some amazing adventures in her years participating in endurance, including having been to endurance rides in Kentucky USA, riding the Grand Canyon for five days in Arizona and a Mountain trail 50mile ride in Missouri, to touching Australian soil and volunteering as a Chief Steward at Queensland's Kilkivan TQ 2013.
Deb’s chosen mount for her next adventure - Forestdew Karisma - affectionately known as Special K, is an Anglo-Arabian mare, bred in WA. Sired by a pure Arabian stallion, Kuri Bay, and from the TB mare, Please Be Bold. Deb first met Special K when she was 18mths old filly and they have been together ever since.
Their endurance career began when Special K was four years old, competing in a 20km ride at Cherry Tree Endurance Ride, Katanning in 1997. With many miles under their belt, Deb and Special K have ridden over 3500 kilometres together; their first Tom Quilty buckle success was at Mt Pleasant South Australia in 2011.
Tom Quilty 2015 will mark the 3rd trip across the Nullarbor for this team.

Deb is very excited about going to NSW because it is the birth place of endurance in Australia and wants nothing more than to be a part of the 50th Anniversary event where is all begun.

Obviously, when travelling hundreds of kms to get there, catching up with old friends and swapping yarns is all part of the adventure. And with the enthusiastic forecast ......."Look out N.S.W we are coming across to ride, and have some fun put the beer on ice.”

Sarah Connor

Paradise Valley Snow in Fire
Photograph by Belinda Cruickshanks
Fast Paced Photography

Sarah Connor is attempting her 2nd Tom Quilty, having just been a strong presence for WA in the event held here in Wagin, 2014. After getting so to a completion fuelled her fierce determination to try again this year. When her mount, Valley, had travelled so well and never indicated she wasn’t up to successfully completing the event, is was a sure sign that the stumble they had encountered over some rocky terrain was shear bad luck.

Through a mutual friend, Sarah was paired up with a striking young part-bred Arabian mare named 'Valley' (Paradise Valley Fire in Ice) in mid-2008. The years ahead saw Sarah and Valley team up and they have since covered over 2000kms together. Both rider and horse have learnt so much during the experiences and have forged a special bond, which would safely carry them over the finish lines on so many memorable rides.

Valley's trip over our great country has been kindly sponsored by Ramsay’s Horse transport. Such a long trip is a little worrying for any horse owner, but with 25 years experience in transporting horse across the vastness of this land, Sarah finds comfort that Valley will be well cared for.
With such a difference of terrain between the rides conducted in WA to the mountains and undulating contour, Sarah and Valley have had to modify their training regime to prepare for the NSW environment. Since Valley returned from her spell after the TQ14 here in October, Sarah has been searching over every inch of the Darling Scarp for some decent hills. Sarah has also had to experiment with a change in diet, as the food Valley is normally fed in WA isn’t available in NSW. So there’s a lot at stake for this young, ambitious team.

Sarah's final words on the task ahead, “I have taken a big gamble and hope my change to both the training and feed regime pays off and earns us that highly sought after Tom Quilty buckle!”

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