Equestrian endurance riding not only tests the fitness and stamina of the horse and rider, but also tests the commitment of the rider and the support team. Entrants have to qualify over increasing distances. The difficulty of the terrain with the possibility of injury to the horse, needs the riders to be vigilant and careful. In the longer races there are check points where a veterinarian checks that the heart rate of each horse is within acceptable limits, before the horse may continue on the course.
As we move into the winter season, cold mornings and frost on the ground will be the order of the day!
We will be keeping you updated on the progress of two of our Val de Vie equestrians who compete for fun and the love of horses.
During the week Maureen Nel is a chic, softly spoken Estate Agent on our estate and by weekend she turns into a strategic cross country rider.
Thembalani Jaca, a dedicated Val de Vie stable groom caring for five horses, takes his place on one of Maureen’s horses, as a mounted entrant in these endurance events often placing in the top three!
Maureen riding Sheila a sensitive little Arabian mare who likes to ‘run with the wind’ and Thembalani on El Sahra Cruiser the steady ‘school master’ recently entered a 30km race when they placed 1st and 2nd in 2hours and 12 minutes. Well done indeed to both partnerships!
The race began before dawn with the first riders trotting out well before 7am. The track took the competitors up rocky hills and steep slopes and between vineyards, whose leaves are already wearing autumn colours and the only onlookers were cows and sheep.
When asked how the race went “Sheila despite having no brakes, came in with a steady heart rate to place first in her distance category, with Cruiser always calm and calculated coming in a close second, well ridden by a proud Thembalani”.
The next race is on the 20 May2017 in Rawsonville and will be a 40km track and thereafter a 60km race in Darling later in the year is on the cards. Watch this space …………