New breed of heroes

2013-02-17 10:00

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Two teens from a small Free State town are hoping to become the first Africans to ride off with the winners trophy of a prestigious American horse show.

In an endeavour that has already cost their dad more than R100 000, Kutloano (14) and Sefenya Moloi (13) from Bethlehem are competing in the international Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show in Arizona, which draws 2 500 accomplished riders and 30 000 spectators a year.

Their very proud father, Nchakha Moloi, said the boys were hoping to win and qualify for the US National Youth Championship that is due to take place in July this year.

“This show was the natural next step after the boys won all the regional and national competitions in South Africa so far,” he said.

Moloi said Kutloano and Sefenya’s interest in horse riding was sparked four years ago when he bought a farm in the Eastern Free State.

“I grew up on a farm in the area. My father was a farm worker and I always dreamt of having my own farm and going back to my roots,” he said.

Moloi, a father of seven and the founding member and executive chairperson of mining company Motjoli Resources, said when his business began to take off he decided to buy a working farm and take his children away from the “concrete jungle”.

He said the farm had horses and, when he saw how taken the kids were with them, he decided to buy them an Arabian horse as a birthday present.

“Arabian horses are excellent riding and show horses because of their endurance, good temperament, sensitive nature and loyalty,” he said.

Moloi said the children were attached to their horse, Apollo, in no time. He could also see how bonding with a horse did wonders for them.

“They became more loving, caring and a lot more disciplined. That’s when I decided to buy a stud – the Yarona Hilltop Arabian Stud – and more horses,” he said.

From then on there was no stopping them from raking in the prizes during regional and national shows.

The boys have also been putting in a lot of hard work for their latest endeavour.

“Because it is a nightmare to bring their horses from South Africa to the US, we had to get horses there and set them up in a stable. The boys then had to go over for the December holiday to bond with the horses,” Moloi said.

He said they also got Arabian national champion rider and trainer Sheila Nortje to help the youngsters with their training and with understanding the rules of the show.

Although Moloi does not want to reveal how much all this has cost him, he admitted the horses and the stabling costs in the US set him back about $12 000 (R106 000).

This, he said, did not include accommodation or meals for his sons.

Although he concedes this is expensive, when he sees how his children are benefiting he realises it is worth every cent.

However, Moloi says it is not all fun as his boys also devote time to their schoolwork.

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