Sometimes we don’t go looking for our equestrian discipline, it comes looking for us.
If you haven’t ridden for 20 or more years, a trek through rugged terrain may not be the best place to re-kindle your equine love affair. But sometimes fate takes unexpected turns, which in Kate Appleby’s case sparked a passion for endurance riding.
I don’t remember exactly when I first started to ride, but it was definitely a feature of my life when I was young, recalls Kate, who is based in Brisbane.
But then life, marriage and parenting intervened – until one fateful day: I happened to be talking to another mum at a sailing event our children were attending and she had also ridden as a child.
Deciding that the time had come to do something just for themselves , they opted for a five-day horseback trek in the Snowy Mountains. Given how long it was since they’d last ridden, plus an unexpected 20cm fall of snow (they had to be evacuated back to the homestead), plus the presence of a Travel Oz camera crew, the experience was memorable!
However, the pair were undeterred: We decided to do another ride closer to home with a trail riding business that trained and used their own endurance horses, says Kate, and I loved it! So it was actually through a happy accident that I eventually got into endurance.
Eight years on and Kate now owns two purebred Arabian geldings, both of whom have earned a Tom Quilty buckle (see the Tom Quilty story in our August 2019 edition).
Already the owner of a Bates saddle, Kate needed to track down another.
I was entered in a FEI Bullio Cup event in Orange for which I had to weigh up to 73kgs. I purchased the Bates Isabell because it was heavier. Plus, the saddle is very comfortable and fits both horses if I change the gullet. It’s also adjustable so it accommodates the horses variations of shape over the year, Kate adds.