The Shahzada Mini Marathon, 120km in three days, has been on our bucket list for quite some time.Set every year in St Albans NSW, We made a spur of the moment decision to compete in this event this year, considering two of our mares were fairly well prepped for what we had been told was a challenging course. Rob Already had Roxy glued with Scoot Skins a week or so prior and we glued a set for Shimira a few days before we left Victoria. Based on how well the scoot skins had performed for Roxy over a multitude of km and terrain, we knew these were going to be perfect for this multiday ride. We had not run Shimira in Scoot Skins before, so we were eager to find out how she would go in them too.
Day one, was just over 42kms with some tricky tracks, 25kms in and ascending a very rocky Hill, Roxy parted ways with one of her skins which we picked up off track. the remainder of the track was perfect underfoot so Roxy remained barefoot on one hoof. Both horses Vetted through perfectly! Rob re glued the Scoot Skin on Roxy that evening.
Day two. was to be approx 30km As the course, we were told, was going to be even more challenging, we decided to take spare scoot boots with us - they stacked really nice in my stowage back behind my saddle. Yes the course was super challenging, the most challenging long distance track we have experienced, and as it turned out, there was no need to bring along spare Scoot Boots. The skins were the power behind our Mares ability to climb the steep, boulder filled Boyds Track. It allowed them the grip to deal with the unpredictability of the uphill. I made the decision that we would remain mounted on the steep incline as Diesel would have struggled with the size of the boulders that had to be navigated. Pleasingly, this was the right choice as our mares ate this track up like it was not even there! I could sense their confidence in their footing that I attribute to the Scoot Skins, there was barely a slip or stumble. Everything was well paced and strategic.The next downhill was just as challenging, however I decided we would do this unmounted. As the horses travelled behind us, it is just as critical to ensure that they are sure to the foot, for our safely. Again, the mares barely hesitated, very little slip or stumble, and we were able to lead in safety. Again, the mares vetted through perfectly, the Scoot skins were with minimal wear, even considering the terrain we had just taken them through.
Day three was to be the longest - 50km approx with some gravel roads as well as the infamous "Steps" which are synonymous to the Shahzada. A very challenging steep downhill that is literally steps made from boulders, uneven in surface, loose in areas and relentless until the very bottom. there were parts that required the leader to turn tight corners, leaving the horse behind to navigate and follow. There was very little room for error. Although the steps was possible, there was also an alternative route available. I chose to complete the steps with Diesel and the mares as I had all confidence, not only in the horses and Diesel, but also in the extra protection and grip which the Scoot Skins provide in comparison to a shod or barefoot horse. I was pleased with my decision as not only did these two horses make their way down this infamous track with confidence, I was in awe watching our ten year old and his mare navigate and trust in the other all the way down, with barely a slip or misplacement of feet.
Again - as a finale - the mares passed the final Vet check with all As and heart rates of 39 and 49!!!
120km over some of Australia's toughest endurance tracks, the Scoot skins still have quite some wear left, even considering when we weren't climbing boulderous hills, we were trotting or cantering on gravel tracks.
Marieke Featonby, Victoria, AUS