TWO Table Top horses leave Australia on Wednesday for a journey that will end at next month’s World Endurance Championships in Slovakia.
The pair will help their trainer Amanda Kettlewell, of Oso Arabians, achieve a longstanding goal.
“You’re competing for your country, you don’t get much bigger than this,” she said.
It would be fantastic to get a medal for the team, but I think the biggest thing will be getting two happy, healthy horses around, completing the courseAmanda Kettlewell
Kettlewell began her trip to Europe on Sunday, with her husband Andrew, who is the Australian team manager, to follow on ahead of the competition on September 17.
Eight-year-old stallion Oso Cap Braveheart and Oso Edith, a 10-year-old grey mare, will fly to Britain via Singapore and Dubai, rest for a few days and then continue on through Europe.
Kettlewell said Oso Edith was selected for an overseas event two years ago but had to be withdrawn two weeks beforehand.
“That was going to be our first attempt at a world championship, which was very upsetting at the time but we focused on we’re going to get her to the next one,” she said.
Oso Cap Braveheart won the prestigious Tom Quilty Gold Cup last year with Mudgee rider Ben Hudson, who will also compete on the stallion in Slovakia.
“He always rides Cappy; they’re a pretty mean force to be reckoned with, the two of them,” Kettlewell said.
Queensland’s Sasha Laws-King, an experienced Australian representative, will partner with Oso Edith.
Kettlewell said the World Endurance Championships featured a 160 kilometre race broken down into five stages.
Each time a horse finishes a loop, they go through a vet check to assess their fitness, with a certain heart rate required before the animal can continue.
“If you come in first but your horse’s heart rate is over that and you can’t go into vetting, that means that other people can actually overtake you in the vet ring,” Kettlewell said.
“So it’s about all managing the horse.
“It would be fantastic to get a medal for the team, but I think the biggest thing will be, especially for us, will be getting two happy, healthy horses around, completing the course.
“It’s not particularly hilly, it’s very flat, which will make it quite a fast ride.”
Preparations for the event include a mix of hill work, fast work and distance running.
The trainer said Oso Arabians received great support from its team, the transport company and Border vets.