Two childhood friends Tiani Cook, Suplejack Downs, and Tash Walker, Toowoomba, have put the wheels in motion to ride from Suplejack Downs, situated 730 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs to Darwin.
Their trip named ‘Horses for Courses’ will raise the awareness for the equity of access to education for kids living in the bush, and raise funds for the Northern Territory Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association.
The friends had not seen each other for 33 years until April this year, when Tash decided to travel 3000km to visit her childhood friend.
Now both in their early forties, first met at the Clermont Pony Club, in Central Queensland when they were eight and ten years old.
“It really was as if no time at all had passed, when she arrived on my doorstep,” said Tiani.
“We had so much in common, down to the brand of the chap stick we used, and share a common love for adventure and horses.”
The epic horse ride will take place during the June/July school holidays, next year.
And while the distance sounds daunting, it is the same distance that Tiani’s daughter Shannai Wade deals with on a daily basis studying year 10 through the Northern Territory School of Distance Education.
Her other daughter Kiralee Wade is competing year eight at the Alice Springs School of the Air, situated 730km south-east of Suplejack Downs Station.
“In many cases School of Distance Education is the the only option available to many families living in remote Australia, who don’t want to move to town, or send their kids to boarding school.”
Tash and Tiani with a support crew of five plan to take 35 days initially travelling 30 to 35km through the Northern Tanami, past Lajamanu and Kalkarinji, onto the Buntine Highway, and across the Victoria Highway to Katherine.
Their final leg of 300km from Katherine, will be along the Stuart Highway to Darwin.
“As we get closer and due to the terrian we will have to stick to the Stuart Highway, which may slow us down due to the traffic and road trains rumbling past,” Tianai said.
Tiani is currently the president of the ICPA, and hopes to raise about $20,000.
“All funds raised will be given to the Northern Territory branch, and the committee will decide how best it is used,” she said.
“My suggestion would be it is used by ICPA students for personal development.”
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