SADDLE UP: Kilkivan Great Horse Ride secretary Rosie Fitzgerald is gearing up for the 2018 festival.
SADDLE UP: Kilkivan Great Horse Ride secretary Rosie Fitzgerald is gearing up for the 2018 festival. Renee Albrecht

Hundreds of horses, riders saddle up for Kilkivan's big day

UP to 1100 horses and riders will take off from Kilkivan tomorrow in the annual Kilkivan Great Horse Ride.  

The riders will travel up to 32km through some of the most picturesque country in southeast Queensland, then meet up for the grand parade through Kilkivan township at 4pm.

  Kilkivan is one of the few towns on the Bi-Centennial National Trail, which runs from Cooktown to Victoria, and this was the inspiration for establishing the annual Kilkivan Great Horse Ride in 1986.  

The Kilkivan Great Horse Ride was first suggested by Widgee grazier and former Kilkivan Shire councillor, the late Fabian Webb, who wanted people of all ages and riding ability, from all walks of life, to get involved with a recreational ride through the scenic country around Kilkivan.

   In 1988 the Queensland opening of the National Trail was incorporated into the ride and the legendary late RM Williams was among the riders who participated.  

Street activities provide fun and entertainment while spectators await the arrival of the horses and riders.    Following the parade, riders, visiting spectators and locals relax at a Campfire Concert at the Kilkivan showgrounds, with a fully licensed bar and catering by local community groups.  

The ride is on tomorrow and offers three routes to suit different levels of skill and experience.

  The iconic event was in danger of cancellation this year but was salvaged with local and Federal Government funding.

    A $9500 injection from Gympie Regional Council and $14,000 from the Federal Government solved short-term cash flow problems and allowed it to expand from three to five days.