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Quilty Cup endurance ride

Quilty Cup endurance ride

Tom Quilty Gold Cup ride at Kilkivan

The Quilty Gold Cup is Australia's national endurance riding championship event for horses and riders. In 2013, the Quilty was held on a course at Kilkivan, in south-east Queensland. More than 250 competitors lined up to complete the 100-mile (160-kilometre) event in the allotted 24 hours. Six-time winner Brook Sample took his seventh title, winning the 2013 event in 9 hours and 14 minutes.

Click on the images below for a larger version and more on the 2013 Tom Quilty event

  • signs promoting the ride coming in to Kilkivan
    Town of Kilkivan
  • Kilkivan town sign
    Kilkivan's Great Horse Ride
  • Statue of stockman riding horse in Kilkivan
    Kilkivan's Great Horse Ride
  • Exercising horse prior to the race at the Kilkivan showgrounds
  • Campsite at the Kilkivan showgrounds
    Showground campsites
  • Race registration
    Race registration
  • Weigh in with saddle and gear
    Weigh in with saddle and gear
  • Competitor age 11 weighing in
    Competitor weighing in
  • Weighing station
    Weighing station
  • Team studying course notes
    Team studying course notes
  • Pre-ride briefing for vet team
    Pre-ride briefing for vet team
  • Vet checks mouth of horse pre-ride
    Pre-ride vet check
  • Vet checks horse's heartbeat pre-ride
    Pre-ride vet check
  • Alissa Woods with her horse pre-ride
    Pre-ride vet check
  • Vet evaluates rear end of horse pre-ride
    Pre-ride vet check
  • Riders' briefing
    Riders' briefing
  • Head Steward addresses briefing
    Addressing briefing
  • A farrier tending to a horse's rear hoof with rider holding the halter and letter her horse feed from a bucket
    Farrier at work
  • Horses being washed down prior to ride
    Horses washed down
  • Horse's front legs painted with henna
    Henna paint
  • Riders at the start of the Quilty Endurance Ride
    Start of the ride
  • Riders at the start of the Quilty Endurance Ride
    Start of the ride
  • Competitors at the vet check after the first leg
    First leg vet check
  • Support crews keep warm while waiting
    Support crews
  • Competitor waiting to start next leg
    Starting the next leg
  • Brook Sample running up a hill beside his horse Brookleigh Excalibur
    Brook Sample and his horse
  • Competitors with their horses running down a hill
    Running down hill
  • Jessyca Dakin with her horse
    Jessyca Dakin with her horse
  • Ridings proceeding past a blue arrow marking the third leg
    Blue arrow marks the third leg
  • Tom Yapp and Alan Tarbit watch for riders
    Watching for riders
  • Galloping finish
    Galloping finish
  • Winning horse before final vet check
    Horse before final vet check
  • Close up of winning horse before final vet check
    Winning horse
  • Brookleigh Excalibur's final vet check
    Final vet check
  • Brookleigh Excalibur and Brook Sample at final vet check
    Final vet check
  • Brookleigh Excalibur and Brook Sample receive the Gold Cup
    Winners announced
  • Brookleigh Excalibur and Brook Sample with the Gold Cup
    The winners
  • Brook Sample with trophies
    Brook Sample with trophies
  • Gregg Fields shows off his Quilty buckle
    Quilty buckle
  • Alissa and Barbara Woods with their horses ready to head home
    Ready to head home

Tom Quilty history

The Quilty Cup endurance ride was first run in 1966, after pastoralist Reginald Murray (RM) Williams became concerned that horses and riders were no longer tested over long distances. Williams gathered support for 24-hour, 100-mile ride known as the Quilty Gold Cup. The race is named after cattleman Tom Quilty, who donated $1000 for the first gold cup. The ride was established in 1966 and was held each year on a course in the Hawkesbury region, until 1986 when it was decided to host the event in different states by turn, encouraging more competitors to enter.

Race format 

The organisation and successful running of the Quilty is a large logistical undertaking. Most riders arrive a day or two before the ride to set up camp and begin preparations with their support teams. Riders must register and weigh in before the ride and take their horses through a pre-ride vet check. Teams inspect parts of the course and study the course notes to establish their ride tactics.

The race starts at midnight and riders start in groups, pacing themselves across a maximum of 21 hours of riding time, with three hours of compulsory rest monitored at checkpoints. At each of the stages, logbooks are completed by vets and stewards to trace the physiological state of the horses throughout the ride.

Museum collection

Brook Sample donated his 2013 and 1990 Tom Quilty Gold Cup trophies to the National Museum. They are among the items on show in the exhibition Spirited: Australia's Horse Story.

People and the Environment

Horses in Australia is part of the National Museum's People and the Environment program. Discover more stories about people's relationships with Australia's natural and built environments on our People and the Environment website.