ENDURANCE: Imbil rider Kaylea Maher won the lightweight division at the Tom Quilty Gold Cup at the weekend in Hawkesbury, New South Wales, and placed third overall.
Maher, 29, has been endurance riding for about 16 years and has competed in six Quilty Cups, completing four and two placing first in her division.
She said compared with other Quilties, this year's was very exciting and created a rush of adrenaline.
"The first 110km I took at a steady pace and rode with my partner at about 10th position until the last 50km where I started racing," Maher said. "In the last 50km I gained a lot of time on the other riders and in the final 12km began to gallop before sprinting the last 100m to the finish line.
"In the fourth leg between 120-140km is where I gained the most ground.
"It was beautiful weather for Queensland horses to run at a good speed."
Maher found the course a lot easier than most, as she usually trains in the hills at Imbil. "The horses have been trained in rocky conditions," she said.
Maher said she attended rides with her mother when she started endurance riding about 20 years ago.
Once finishing school, Maher worked at an endurance horse stable in Kenilworth and gained a lot of experience for other riders and in the last four years she has been working for herself in a horse training business.