At just 12 years old, David Anderson Junior is considered one of Australia’s most capable endurance riders.

Story By Jenet Stewart

A loud roar erupts from the huge crowd. People at the showground in Manilla, in northern New South Wales, stare in disbelief, then clap and cheer for the baby-faced boy on an Arab mare who has just made history: the youngest endurance rider ever to take out line honours in the Tom Quilty Gold Cup National Championship Endurance Ride.
David Anderson Jnr has been riding horses since he was just two years of age. Now, at the grand age of 12, he is recognised as one of Australia’s most capable endurance riders, having won line honours in the Quilty in Manilla last June. The Quilty is a 160-kilometre endurance ride, held over several legs, which includes water crossings, open paddocks, roads and tracks. It attracts riders from all over the world and competitors are not allowed to enter until they are 12 years old.
“It’s just incredible what ‘Davey’ has just done,” says Davey’s farrier, John ‘JD’ Duffy, who had tears rolling down his cheeks as Davey dismounted from his winning ride. “He’s an amazing kid,” JD says. “It doesn’t matter what horse he has or works with, they all have a very special affection for him. It’s a very unique quality.”
Davey is from Kenilworth, south-eastern Queensland, and was already an accomplished rider before the Quilty. Since he started endurance racing in 2007, he has competed in 49 rides, won 23 and completed 37. In 2008, Davey won the point score awards for the junior under-18 division for Queensland and Australia, and also won the distance award for Queensland (1398km). In 2009, he competed in a dozen endurance rides throughout Queensland and New South Wales, from 80km rides through to a 400km ride, which he won.
Davey finished first in four out of five endurance rides in 2010. His latest ride saw him at least an hour in front of the nearest rider and three hours in front of any junior riders.
When Davey is questioned about his ability as an endurance rider, he smiles. “It’s simple,” he says. “I know what the horse is thinking and it knows what I’m thinking.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #75

Outback Magazine: Feb/Mar 2011