BORN TO RIDE: Young endurance rider Taylor Grogan preparing for her big ride this weekend.
BORN TO RIDE: Young endurance rider Taylor Grogan preparing for her big ride this weekend. Denise Keelan

Trailing in the family hoof steps for a grown up ride

ONE equestrian-loving family will see its next generation saddle up and ride to keep its tradition ofendurance riding aliveand kicking along the trail.

At just five years of age, Taylor Grogan will be tackling her first 40km ride in an event hosted by her great-uncle Matthew Sample, the Stirlings Crossing Equestrian Complex in Imbil.

More than 500 people - including riders and their support crews - are expected to arrive for theeight rides on offer across distances of 160km, 120km, 80km, 40km and 20km.

"Taylor completed her first 5km ride at 23 months of age and has done a totalof six 5km rides, one10km ride and two 20kmrides,” MrSample said.

"She will be riding Dee Dee, a 14-year-old pony, and this will be Dee Dee's first 40km as well.

"In preparation for the ride, Taylor and her horse Dee Dee have been training in the Kandanga forestry riding 20-25km each Saturday and Sunday for the past few months.”

Mr Sample said these training rides had been between three to four hours each, sometimes running into the night to prepare for the event.

Other riders include 10-year-old Poppy Kettlewell, who will tackle the 120km ride, and seasoned veteran Peter Holmes, who at age 72 will take on the 80km ride.

"Having riders aged from five to 72 really shows the diversity of participants in endurance riding,” Mr Sample said.

The event, hosted by Stirlings Crossing Endurance Club, will see riders tackle the diverse terrain around the complex, which is developing an international reputation as a world-class endurance facility.

"Australian endurance riding legend Penny Toft willbe participating ahead of the World Equestrian Games in September,” Mr Sample said.

"So we really have the full spectrum of riders on show at this event, from the newest beginner to some of our most experienced riders.”

The event will also offer a 160km ride, which can be used to qualify for endurance riding's most prestigious event, the Tom Quilty Gold Cup.

The event is open to the public.

To find out more, visit www.stirlingscrossingendurance.asn.au.


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