Man and mount set for marathon ride

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Bob GarnantCountryman

There is no holding back Serpentine horseman Norbert Radny as he prepares to mount up on Arabian stallion, West Coast Acharon (Achy), to take on the world's best.

The 58-year-old Perth periodontist said he was at his best fitness level in preparation for the World Endurance Championship being held at Newmarket in the UK on August 25.

Endurance riding is the marathon of equine sports and Dr Radny will attempt to ride a 160km highly technical course through farm lands, forest and across streams with the goal of completing the distance in just over eight hours.

"While the world record is seven hours, recent times at UK's Euston Park have been closer to 7.5 hours which equates to 21km/h," Dr Radny said.

Familiar with riding at the highest level, Dr Radny and Acharon qualified for the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, US, in 2010.

Back in 2007, the horse and rider won the heavy weight class at the Tom Quilty National Endurance held in WA.

Although Achy travelled well to Kentucky and was with the top 40 race leaders, the chestnut became dehydrated at the 90km veterinary checkpoint and was withdrawn from completing the course.

"Achy wasn't eating or drinking which we attributed to a combination of factors associated with horses at odds with foreign environments," Dr Radny said.

Now able to draw on past experience, Dr Radny and groomers, wife Jane and daughter Rebecca, are confident the UK race will be a full canter.

The Australian team is made up of four riders - Dr Radny, two from Queensland and one from Victoria.

The green and gold team won bronze medal awards in 1994 and 2002.

"France or host nation, the UK, will be at their very best," Dr Radny said.

More than 40 countries will be represented at Newmarket with more than 160 entrants.

Dr Radny said an individual top three placing could be assisted with shorter 'pit' stops at the required vet check points.

"Achy recovers very quickly and I am counting on making good tracks which will give the team a leg-up on the stop clock," he said.

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