TWO Mornington Peninsula neighbours and horse enthusiasts are helping each other out in a bid to raise money for charity Angel Flight and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Andrea Laws-King, 63, of Tuerong, is training for the 220 kilometre Winton to Longreach endurance ride on 29 July, which she admits will be “challenging”.
The reproductive biologist will be one of 32 riders attempting the ride, which she will undertake with the help of two friends acting as “crew”.
In a twist of good fate, her neighbour, Peter Moran, is an Angel Flight pilot who has completed 195 missions for the charity and has provided unfettered access to his racetrack as a training ground for Laws-King’s ride.
The ride is a second chance for Laws-King, who was unable to complete the challenge when it was last run in 1995 due to her horse going lame.
“It’s not going to be easy, but I’m glad I get to have another go and help to raise awareness of Angel Flight and the amazing work they do,” she said.
“I’m so grateful to use Peter’s track for training as the ground is either too wet or too hard at the moment.”
In the lead-up to the race, Laws-King has been riding 15km every second day and 60km on Saturday on her 15-year-old Arabian Chestnut, Flash.
“It’s quite an ask for a horse to do 180km per day which is what we will do on the first ride day, and I’ve been training hard for the event with the aim of completing it after not completing back in 1995,” she said.
“To finish the ride would be amazing and I’m so glad to be riding for an amazing cause having personally used their services.”
The ride is being organised by the central west division of Queensland Country Women’s Association to mark its 100th year. The QCWA has teamed up with Queensland Endurance Riders Association which is instrumental in event logistics.
The iconic multi-day 220km ride retraces the path of Cobb and Co, a coaching company that connected bush settlements of Australia from the 1850s to 1920s.
Angel Flight CEO Marjorie Pagani says the ride has significant symbolism for the service which connects people from the bush with urban Australia to access vital medical care.
“We are amazed and humbled by the widespread involvement in this ride with people like Andrea coming from Mornington Peninsula to Winton to support a great cause,” she said.
Queensland Country Women’s Association central west divisional president Lyndall Harriman said the event had changed since it was first held 40 years ago.
“We are riding with nine vets and must accommodate them and pay for their services, plus organise lighting at check points and portaloos. A national park has been created since the ride was last endured which has changed the original route.
“Logistics aside, raising funds for Angel Flight and Royal Flying Doctors is something we are honoured to do as both services are vital part of our communities and those who have signed up are excited about being part of such an iconic event.”
The ride will conclude with a ticketed dinner for the sore saddlers and more sprightly community supporters, on Sunday 30 July at Longreach Showgrounds.
First published in the Mornington News – 25th July 2023