Top rider rewinds the clock at endurance state championship

Andrew Bailey riding Twynham El Zephyr at the NSW State Championships at Tooraweenah on July 13. Photo: Animal Focus Jo Arblaster
Andrew Bailey riding Twynham El Zephyr at the NSW State Championships at Tooraweenah on July 13. Photo: Animal Focus Jo Arblaster

It was deja vu for Andrew Bailey as he cantered across the line riding Twynham El Zephyr at the 2018 Tooraweenah NSW championship 160 kilometres endurance ride.

He took equal line honours with Courtney Anderson riding Cedar Ridge Carbine.

In 1991, he won the national championship 160 kilometres Tom Quilty endurance ride on the same course, riding Tantawanglo Hamal Zahab.

Tooraweenah, at the foothills of the Warrumbungle Mountains is experiencing the dry times that is state wide but that didn’t stop a wonderful committee providing a great course and event.

Their hospitality and easy going country charm made everyone feel welcome.

Andrew has been participating in endurance riding for over 40 years, starting as a 15 year old boy riding at the Taralga 80 kilometre endurance ride. His experience, fitness and horsemanship provided the catalyst for this year’s win, although he admitted that the “old joints are starting to feel the pressure”.

Under the banner of their stud, Bullio Arabians, the Bailey family breed Arabian and Arabian derivative horses specifically for endurance riding.

Many have been exported overseas, presiding in some of the most prestigious endurance stables in the world.

Horses are bred on their farms at Woodstock, Lyndhurst and Orange and grow to their full potential in big paddocks before they enter their endurance careers or go on to become part of the breeding program.

It is testament to the Arabian horse, that Tantawanglo Hamal Zahab is alive and very well in his paddock at Woodstock at 34 years of age.

The horse that Andrew rode this year is a 13-year-old Arabian gelding, born and bred in New Zealand in similar conditions and is trained in the Bullio Arabian stable at Orange.

The horse’s experience and seasoning gave Andrew the perfect ride as he completed the ride in 12 hours and 18 minutes.

The pair was awarded the Best Conditioned Heavyweight Award the following day after an exhibition of one time flying changes and a balanced work out that would not be too shabby in a dressage arena.

“Congratulations to Courtney and Andrew on winning the NSW state championship. They both rode the most amazing ride with the horses looking so fresh and perfectly well managed,” Tooraweenah Endurance Club said in a statement on its Facebook page.

The horse will now have a nice rest and may possibly attend the 2018 National Championships Tom Quilty Endurance Ride being held in Tasmania in October.

More than likely, Annette and Andrew will attend as supporters of the Bullio Arabian team with their son Christopher riding the State champion horse.