A TOTAL of 110 endurance horse riders entered the inaugural Johns River Endurance Ride.
After four previous failed attempts to run the ride the organising committee was delighted as the weather was sensational for the event.
On Saturday 36 riders signed up for the shortest event, the 20km ride. More than a dozen of those backed up for another 40km event the next morning.
In the 80km ride there were 43 starters coming from all over NSW to try and gain one of the brand new ride Endurance Buckles. To Complete Is To win is the motto of endurance riding.
All riders who complete the course and get the all clear from the vet that the horse is deemed "Fit to Continue" get the same completion prize - whether they are first or last across the line.
Two riders crossed the finish line in the 80km event hand-in-hand and were declared equal first, in 5 hours and 19 minutes.
One was a local Zone 6 rider, Margaret Boland, who has completed 100 rides and has 11,000km in endurance kilometres.
She was riding her 16 year old purebred Arabian homebred mare Rosebrae Cameo. It was their first win in a ride together and they have now clocked more than years together in the sport, which gives them a "Decade Team One Horse/One Rider" Award.
The other winner was Debra McQueen who has done 41 rides and 4457km. She was riding Kynnum Park Mr Epona, which has been a very successful endurance horse with around 9 wins and many placings.
Another Zone 6 rider, Brad Dillon, clocked up his 10,000km in endurance riding at the event. His first ride in the late 1990s was just down the road at Koorainghat. Brad was riding 6-year-old homebred purebred Arabian mare Banfield Miley in only her second 80km ride. The Dillons are a long time endurance family with mum Lyn competing in the sport since the 1970s.
Brad rode with his young niece, Emma Haskins, who also successfully completed the 80km event on Banfield Reign.
"The Johns River Village Community Hall and a neighbouring paddock housed us all and got a huge thumbs up as a terrific venue for endurance riding,'' Johns River Ride secretary Linda Henley said.
"Rosie's Cafe and the Kew Corner Store supplied all rider and volunteers with food and the RFS did a great job with our water on track.
"Many other local businesses supported the ride and many community volunteers, and other Zone 6 endurance club committee members, friends and family all helped this ride eventuate.''
Zone 6 Endurance NSW cover the Mid North Coast and in good weather conditions can hold up to five events annually.
The committee of the first Johns River Endurance Ride have started planning for 2023. Anyone interested in joining the club should check Facebook - Zone 6 Endurance Riders - nswera.