Horses move the soul

2014-07-08 00:00

HILLCREST High School is one of the few model C schools that offers horse riding as an extramural sport.

It’s become a lifestyle for the pupils involved and it’s quite appropriate chatting to the riders in the school’s art room that is built on what used to be a paddock many years back.

The school’s equestrian team compete against fellow schools around the province, with riders involved in equitation, dressage, eventing, showjumping, dressage, tent pegging, showing and vaulting.

Most of the riders have their own horse and most have represented the province in various disciplines at various events, including the Nissan Winter Classic held recently at Shongweni.

While the riders spend many hours riding and looking after their trusty steeds, they still participate in other sports, but their four-legged friends do take preference, after schoolwork, in their lives.

As one of the riders, Natasha Rothman, a Grade 11 pupil, said: “Two feet move the body, four feet move the soul.”

Kim Hill

Born in Mauritius, Kim started riding when she was five, riding in the National League in Mauritius when she was nine.

She has represented Mauritius in two international friendlies against South African and Reunion and moved to South Africa in 2012.

She has a young horse and has started in the lower grades, where showjumping and equitation are her favourite disciplines.

She recently competed in extreme equitation for the first time, where two riders compete. She also enjoys trail riding and goes to the Waterberg once a year where she enjoys long rides of up to four hours.

She has competed in various qualifiers and finals, placing 19th at last year’s national championships.

She has been placed first twice in qualifiers this year.

Ashleigh Prinsloo

Ashleigh Represented KwaZulu-Natal in the SA Pony Championships 2012, competing in the open equitation, open showing and novice dressage teams, winning two disciplines.

She has represented Hillcrest High School in the annual inter-schools competition since Grade 8 and is coached by her mother.

She enjoys the time and commitment needed to prepare herself and her horse for competition and the interaction with her mount, Rivervale Geronimo.

Ashley Fox

Her father was a racehorse trainer and her mother competes at top level showjumping, also being an instructor.

Ashley started riding at age five and was a member of the 2012 KZN showjumping team, where she placed second overall.

Last year, she was selected for the team again as KZN won the inter-provincial for the first time in 17 years. Riding Right Royal Storm, Ashley was awarded the 2013 Pony Rider Open Showjumping Victrix Ludorum and won the KZN Open Derby. The pair were also crowned KZN Open Equitation champions.

At age 10, she was the youngest rider selected for the KZN team at the SA Junior Champs and currently she rides Irish Affair in the 1,10 m showjumping class.

Caitlyn Rossenrode

Caitlyn started her first Sanesa (South African National Equestrian Schools’ Association) shows last year and was selected for the KZN A team in dressage and equitation at the Sanesa nationals. She returned with a second place in equitation.

With her horse, Monarch, out of action for six months while a fungal tumour was attended to, Caitlyn has only been able to enter one show in this year’s Sanesa qualifiers and therefore won’t make the nationals.

Jessica Stapelberg

Jessica started riding Regal Majesty in 2012 doing jumping and dressage.

She was selected for Sanesa nationals in dressage and equitation, and this year, started competing in the ESP Series where the pair currently hold the Victor Ludorum in the junior prelim dressage and 50 cm jumping.

She has competed at inter-school level in dressage and showjumping, and was first and second at the Land Rover Horse and Wine Dressage Show.

She was first and second at the KZN Dressage Champs warm up and was seventh in the 70 cm to 80 cm jumping class at the Nissan Winter Classic.

Dreya Taljaard

She has been vaulting for nine years, starting when she was six, and has moved up a level that calls for compulsories at the canter and freestyle at the walk.

Freestyle is 10 moves — leg kneel, princess sit, split stand, shoulder stand and sideways half split, among others — within a minute.

To date, Taljaard has come second and third in recent competitions, and she was awarded a Oakridge Vaulting Achievement certificate from her vaulting school.

Brittany Graham

Brittany started riding when she was four and competed for five years in affiliated children’s showjumping events.

She made the KZN team for three successive years and has come fifth in South Africa for 70 cm to 80 cm jumping, first in KZN for 80 cm to 90 cm jumping and eighth in SA for the same discipline in various events through the years.

She currently rides Rivervale’s Bonus Point.

Kate Mundell

She started riding at 10 and this year competed in Sanesa events for the first time. Although Kate does not have her own horse, it does not stop her dreaming of making a name for herself in the horse riding world. She currently rides Sontara who she has managed to school for competition after he was stubborn and bucked aplenty when she first sat on him.

Lydia Hove

Lydia started riding when she was in Grade 6 and has competed in numerous jumping events. She has ridden a fair number of horses including Titan, who she rode over 50 cm and 60 cm jumps.

She was injured when she fell off Titan, pulling ligaments in her right leg, and was out of action for two months.

Jumping is her favourite discipline, and she strives to improve and learn more.

Natasha Rothman

Natasha competes in novice dressage and elementary medium dressage.

She competed at the SA Dressage Challenge last year and the KZN Champs where she won the Victor Ludorum for prelim dressage and elementary medium dressage. She also received a medallion for highest score in class for elementary dressage.

This year, she has competed at the SA Dressage Challenge and made the Sanesa elementary dressage A team for the nationals where she finished first in dressage and showing. This year, in all Sanesa competitions, she has won all her classes bar one, and was champion novice at the Horse and Wine Festival.

Rayne Paddock

With Rayne’s horse, Highover Ferdinand, she represented South Africa in the Inter Africa Cup this year, the only rider chosen from KZN for the SA Young Rider Equitation Team. She performed phenomenally, achieving the highest individual score of 110 points.

Jessica Prince

Riding Cassian Way, the pair have been a strong combination in the past 18 months. Last year, they won the one metre, 1,10 m and 1,2 m showjumping Victor Ludorum in KZN. She moved up to 1,3 m this year, the highest level for junior riders.

They won the Junior President’s Cup in Gauteng in March, winning two classes and finishing second in the other to claim the trophy. In April, they were second by 0,2 seconds in the Young Rider 1,3 m Easter Festival in Gauteng and in May, won the KZN Junior Champs.

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