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Radincon Sponsored Endurance Riders

Endurance riding has been an organised sport in Australia since 1966, although endurance horses – plucky, determined and capable over our long Australian distances – have existed far longer.

Radincon equipment has helped care for performance horses since the earliest days of our business, and we’re delighted to do our bit giving back to the equine community. In addition to sponsoring The Radincon Vets Choice Award, we sponsor three endurance riders. Read all about our sponsored riders below.

Sponsored Riders  
Susan Woodward Kaitlyn Mercieca Shelley Jones

Susan Woodward

Susan Woodward, the first of our sponsored riders

Susan has experience riding in both Australia and the UK. For the last decade she’s been based in New South Wales and competed in endurance rides across the country. We’re proud to say that she completed her first Tom Quilty Gold Cup at her first attempt in 2022.

Here’s what Susan had to tell us about endurance riding, why she does it and her career to date.

“I’ve always loved horses. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t riding. I discovered ‘Long Distance Riding’ (as it was called then) in 1983 in the UK.  I knew immediately that an equine sport which didn’t involve dressing up, plaiting horses’ manes and so on was the one for me. 

When I moved to Australia in 1985 I was lucky enough to meet Peter Cole, known for his long partnership with Chip Chase Sadaqa, (stable name “Wings”).  I ‘strapped’ for him at a couple of rides, which meant that I learnt how to care for an endurance horse from the best, and ended up buying one of Sadaqa’s foals.   

In the 90’s I returned to the UK and rode with one of Britain’s most successful riders, Cathy Brown.  We were longlisted for Britain’s World Championship Team in 2000, but unfortunately Cathy broke her shoulder in an accident in one of the lead up rides, and we had to withdraw. 

I carried on riding when I came back to Australia. I love traveling around and seeing different parts of this wonderful country. But for me, the best thing about endurance riding is building a real connection with the horse.

I don’t have a horse of my own, so I’ve ridden with a whole range of teams and their horses. I love learning from each of them. The question is always how to get the most out of the particular horse I’m riding right now. That’s how I learn and improve my skills. 

Completing the sport’s National Championship ride – the Tom Quilty Gold Cup – at my first attempt was without doubt one of the highlights of my career.”

I was lucky enough to be riding Castlebar What’s the Goss, who gave it her all the whole way round. We got great support from our strapper too – Jon Marriott of Radincon. He took care of everything so that we could focus on the ride. We needed to! The Tooraweenah course was hilly, and wet weather made parts of it very boggy. It could have been overwhelming, but I remembered the advice I’d been given by other riders and tried to think of it as a series of training rides.

I rode at a conservative pace, but we were still able to finish in the Top 20 in the Lightweight Division. 

Looking to the future, I’d like to visit and compete in every state of Australia. I also want to keep up a good record of successful completions.  The sport’s motto is ‘To Complete is to Win’ and I truly believe that.  Of course, I’m also happy to be amongst the front runners when the time is right! 

Kaitlyn Mercieca

Kaitlyn Mercieca is Radincon’s Junior sponsored rider. Here’s her story:

“I’ve been interested in horses since I was a little kid and rode one of our next-door neighbour’s horses. It was an immediate love. I started off in Pony Club, then for my seventh birthday I got my very own horse, a grey called Spyder. We competed in a whole variety of events, from show jumping to endurance. He was a one-in-a-million horse. I rode him everywhere, even bareback.

But in 2018 the carpal joint in Spyder’s knee became infected and he had to be put down. I didn’t think I’d ever find another horse like him and I stopped riding for a while.

Then I got the chance to ride Coolinda Park Sheeza Doll in the Bullio Cup. She wasn’t Spyder, but she was something special. We did a lot of rides together and even finished the Shazada 400km marathon and the Victorian State Championships. That meant I qualified for the Tom Quilty!

Burosh latest cut

All good things come to an end, however. I wanted to ride and train my own horse, rather than riding for other people. So I started riding my horse Henley Farm Burosh. We’ve worked hard together, winning many races, qualifying her to run 160km with me, and, most importantly, having fun. We competed in the Tom Quilty last year, and even though she lost her shoe twice on the same foot and didn’t complete the 4th leg, she performed brilliantly. I’m lucky to ride her and we have a close bond. After a short break playing rugby with the central West team, I’m back riding her and we’re getting ready to enter the 2023 Tom Quilty Gold Cup. Here’s hoping we complete this year!”

Kaitlyn and Burosh
Kaitlyn and Burosh evening shot

  CONGRATULATIONS to our sponsored riders Susan and Kaitlyn on completing the Tom Quilty Gold Cup 2023.

Kaitlyn and her horse Henley Farm Burosh finished in a time of 12 hours and 33 minutes.
Susan, riding Brookleigh Matisse who had never competed in a race of this length before, finished in a time of 13 hours and 46 minutes.

Shelley Jones

Shelley Jones riding a horse

Shelley is the third rider we’ve welcomed to our team. 

She’s been riding since she was about 8 years old – she remembers watching ‘The Saddle Club’, then pestering her parents for riding lessons and a horse. Luckily for her, they listened!

After her first lessons at Salt Ash, NSW, Shelley started attending her local ponyclub, then developed a passion for dressage. That took her to the Young Rider Championships at Clarendon, then on to the Appaloosa National Show, held at Dubbo.

Shelley Jones during the Appaloosa Horse Show in 2003

Shelley’s mother had ridden a lot as a child, and all this activity rekindled her love for riding – but she wasn’t interested in the show ring. Instead, she tried out endurance riding. She loved it, so Shelley and the rest of the family followed her into the sport.

Shelley completed her first 80km ride at Rydal Charity in 2003, at the age of 13. Just one year later she completed a 160km course at Harden-Murrumburrah in the NSW State Championships and she’s been riding ever since.

Shelley Jones during the NSW Era Championship 2004

Just as Shelley followed her mother into endurance riding, she’s now encouraging her own daughter Lylah to try it out. Lylah recently rode one of Shelley’s horses, Shellal Blue, on her first 7km social ride. Nevertheless, Shelley says that her children Lylah and Archie ‘think their mother is mad at getting up at crazy hours to ride her horses‘. (The start time is just one difference between riding 7km and 80km!)

Shelly Jones with her horse and children - Lylah and Archie

In August 2023, soon after joining our sponsored team, Shelley and her other horse, Shellal Blood Moon, achieved a fantastic 2nd place in the heavyweight division of the Queensland State Championships. We congratulate them both and wish Shelley the best of luck for the future.

Shelley Jones during the Queensland State Championships 2023 with her horse and family
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