New Italy endurance ride 2018

Sharon Foster and Modena Schofields-Foster

Sharon Foster and Modena Schofields-Foster

Despite Sharon taking a tumble in the dark and Chris being unable to continue after his horse went lame, the Schofield-Foster family’s plan for the New Italy endurance ride was successfully executed last weekend.

“We decided we’d start at the front as a family and ride this one together,” Sharon said. “As soon as the time clicked over we shot off. We wanted to be competitive.” 

They lost dad along the way, but mum and her horse were uninjured by the stumble (apart from a bruise in an unmentionable place), so Sharon remounted and the mother-daughter duo continued the 80 kilometres predominantly at a canter, gallop and trot.

They finished together in a fast 4 hours 46 minute, taking line honours, coming first in the middleweight and junior divisions respectively, and also winning best conditioned horse awards.

Thirteen-year-old Modena was the youngest of the seven juniors in the event.

Sharon said her daughter’s confidence had grown markedly since she competed in this ride last year.

Winners of the inaugural Ken Thompson memorial trophy for line honours

Winners of the inaugural Ken Thompson memorial trophy for line honours

In 2017, Modena did it on her own, setting off in the dark with a great deal of trepidation.

“It was the first endurance ride that she ever did without a parent – they have to be 12 before they’re allowed,” Sharon said. “It’s a big moment – there are lots of things that can go wrong.”

That confidence-boosting solo challenge, and perhaps also her win in the NSW State Championship Horse Endurance ride last month meant Modena came to the 2018 New Italy ride with a conquering mindset.

“She’s got the taste for that speed and that competitive spirit,” Sharon said. “I thought, why not give her a go, let her do it. I basically just followed on.”

Sharon was also proud to see that racing to the finish didn’t stop Modena from being thoughtful and considerate.

“She came across other riders and she would stop and ask if they were ok. For me as a mother, it was like – all that stuff’s paying off!”

The line honours award was a memorial trophy donated by well-known ride organiser, Ken Thompson, who passed away earlier this year.

“He left a special trophy that he wanted to be continued in his name,” Sharon said. “And his wife also donated a very special buckle that’s to go to the rider.

“We miss Kenny and we thought, yes, let’s be the first ones on Kenny’s trophy.”