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Posted by Equestrian Australia on 09/06/2015.
Ben Hudson and Cap Braveheart

Ben Hudson wins the 50th anniversary of Tom Quilty Endurance Gold Cup

348 riders from across Australia entered the very well-known160-kilometre ride in Hawkesbury (NSW) this weekend. It was Ben Hudson, selected rider to represent Australia at the 2014 World Equestrian Games in France last year but who unfortunately had to withdraw,  who took the first place in the Middleweight category with his horse Cap Braveheart. The combination completed the course in 10 hours 16 minutes. "I was over the moon. I couldn't believe the effort my horse put it, it was a pretty good feeling. I was overwhelmed by the people and the support at the finish line," he told the ABC

 Watch ABC news report 

 About the Tom Quilty Gold Cup

2015 marked the 50th Anniversary of the Tom Quilty Gold Cup 160km Endurance ride. Based at Del Rio Resort on the Hawkesbury River near Wisemans Ferry in NSW, the ride was originally held in the Hawkesbury in 1966. RM Williams organised for his friend Tom Quilty to donate the original Gold Cup which now resides in the Stockmans’ Hall of Fame in Longreach Qld. 

The Tom Quilty Gold Cup was the beginning of endurance riding competition in Australia & the motto "To complete is to win” influenced the overriding critical priority of objective horse monitoring and management throughout all Australian events. 

Sydney University Veterinary team and students created and tested the horse evaluations used to ensure horse safety and welfare and this year over 25 veterinarians as well as Temperature, Pulse & Respiration (TPR) stewards monitored the competitors with very stringent criteria that needed to be met for the horses to start and to continue through the various legs of the ride.

Riders completed five course sections, returning to base between each leg for veterinary checks and rest periods.

Although first across the line is important, equally prestigious is the Best Conditioned Horse trophy which is awarded the day after the ride finishes to show that the horses are sound and fit to continue beyond the challenges of the competition.

The strapping of horses between legs is fascinating to watch, each strapping team has their own methodical process with strappers focusing on their particular responsibilities; some are pouring water, even before the riders dismount to begin cooling the horses, others are getting heart rate monitors & thermometers ready to check the horses vitals, massage is happening, therapy rugs applied, saddle cloths changed, shoes checked while others in the team are offering water & feed and the riders grab snacks, do some stretching & report on the leg just finished and discuss tactics for the next leg.

A Heritage Display was set up to show some of the original gear used by riders and many of the trophies awarded over the past 50 years. Endurance is now a high tech sport with many innovations in saddle design, stirrup shapes, horse shoes, and rider gear ensuring horse comfort & minimum weight impacts. The photos and videos provided a walk through the fashions of the times with riders such as the first winner Gabriel Stecher and in later years Bob Sample riding the entire race bareback.  

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