by Kathleen de Leon
Big Country is a not-for-profit organization established in 1985 by a group of local riders passionate about developing the ultimate union of human and horse – Endurance Riding.
The ride base – Spring Mountain Estate, is the result of many years of tireless consultation with councils, Spring Mountain Estate and with developers – Peet Limited. The club has received grants to improve the Spring Mt Reserve including a grant of $100k to build, maintain and repair existing tracks in the Forest Park for use by the whole community.
Big Country host endurance events for 20, 40 and 80km in Junior, Light, Middle and Heavy Weight categories. All Riders receive a prize for completion. 1st, 2nd & 3rd are also awarded. A best conditioned prize in each division, contended by the top 5 riders in each division, is also awarded. Prizes are sponsored by local businesses.
Endurance rides are a two day event which is suitable for all ages and abilities. Competitors arrive and complete registration and pre ride veterinary checks. The 80k riders then leave 5.30am the next morning with headlamps taped to their helmets.
Horses are vetted before, during and after the event. Vets do a metabolic check which includes mucus membranes, heart rate, respiratory, gut sounds and a trot out to assess horse for lameness. Horses are also checked for ligament or leg injuries. Riders that do not pass the Vet check are pulled from the ride. If horses do not pass the final check, riders are not counted as completed. Health and safety for both horse and rider are paramount as organizers do everything possible to ensure everyone has a wonderful experience in the safest possible way.
Leigh Pearson gave me a tour of the bush-tracks that the riders use heading out from base. Riders travel corridors through Spring Mountain (suburb) towards Spring Mountain Forest Park. On arrival at the Forest, you travel along beautiful bush-tracks, winding to the top of the mountain. At the top, you are spoiled with breathtaking views of Brisbane City and Tamborine Mt/Canungra area.
Leigh is incredibly passionate about preserving this event for all endurance riders.
For more information or to become a member, contact Leigh Pearson on 0408 727 431