Saddle up for great Aussie ride
KILKIVAN Great Horse Ride (KGHR) Foundation Member Mike Webb fondly remembers the beginnings of the annual event he has ridden in since its inception and he will be strapping on his riding boots again today.
“There they go ladies and gentlemen, 1152 riders in this year’s Kilkivan Great Horse Ride. What a magnificent sight, as they parade down the main street of Kilkivan — the rich voice of renowned show and camp draft announcer, Alan Henderson, accompanies the grand street parade of riders taking part in the Kilkivan Great Horse Ride, arguably the greatest event of its type in Australia,” he said.
As usual most ideas evolve from a yarn and a few beers, Mr Webb said, and in 1986 Fabian Webb a member of the Award winning country music trio “The Webb Brothers” came up with the idea of a recreational horse ride starting from several different locations in what was then the Kilkivan Shire, with each trail finishing in Kilkivan and culminating in a parade of all riders down the main street of the town.
The first ride in 1986 saw a total of 208 riders taking part.
Since that time the ride has grown in popularity to such a degree that it now regularly attracts more than 1000 riders each April.
In 2002 a record 1152 riders took part.
One of the ride’s greatest attractions is that riders of all races and riding abilities can be a part of the great day.
The youngest rider to ever take part was a three-year-old girl and the oldest a spritely 94-year-old gentleman, who have both successfully completed the ride.
There are four riding trails and one trail, called the Oak view Carriage Trail, for horse drawn vehicles.
Each riding trail leaves from a different point throughout the region and each has its own character and unique bush scenery for riders to enjoy.
The “Hanging Rock” trail sets out from the historic “Thornside” Homestead at Widgee, which is the home of Fabian and Tanda Webb.
Riders on this trail travel over the majestic Blacksnake range, down through the amazing bottle Tree Scrub at the head of Sawpit Creek, to arrive at the Rossmore camping park for lunch before the last leg into town.
The “Old Coach Trail” leaves from Ray and Judy Matthews property “Turavale” just north of Woolooga and follows part of the Cobb & Co track, which led from the South Burnett Region to Maryborough.
The “Old Boonara” trail starts off at the Tansey ports ground and traverses the rolling hills and ridges of some of the finest grazing country in the region.
The trail follows out onto the rich and fertile flats of Wide Bay Creek, which leads into town.
The “Wongella” trail departs from the Kilkivan showgrounds and loops through the historic “Wongella” property.
Once a renowned cattle breeding and fattening property, it is now planted under hardwood forest plantations.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the KGHR and the committee is preparing for a huge event to celebrate.
A quarter of a century has not dimmed the passion of supporters of the Kilkivan Great Horse ride.
For anyone, young or old, who enjoys riding through scenic Queensland bushland, this event should not be missed.
KGHR runs through today with a concert tonight at the Kilkivan Showgrounds.
For more details, phone 0427 737 491 or 5484 125, or go to www.kilkivangreathorseride.info.