A first for SA

2008-10-16 00:00

The Karkloof Polo Club is hosting a full CCI** three-day event this weekend, with dressage on Friday, cross-country on Saturday and showjumping on Sunday.

This is the first time that a full three-day event has been held in South Africa and it is aimed at trying to get South African event riders to qualify for the World Equestrian Games and the Olympics without having to leave South Africa.

The international eventing body from the FEI has deemed that South Africa is not quite ready to hold a CCI*** three-day event, but by allowing this event at CCI** level, it means that South Africa is going in the right direction.

The team at the Spurwing International Horse Trials have worked really hard this year to produce the longer 4,6 kilometre cross-country track required at this level and this includes a superb new 1 200 m2 water complex where the riders have to jump into the water and then immediately up on to a small island where there is a “skinny” log and back into the water. This complex will demand bold accurate riding and will demonstrate well the trust needed between horse and rider at this level.

Several top riders — such as Graham Winn; Paul Hart, who is also an international show jumper; Janine Evans; and KwaZulu-Natal’s Heike Harvey — will be competing.

Young Hayley Parker will be competing in the CIC**. She is a very exciting addition to the adult ranks after an impressive successful career as a junior event rider. Hilton’s Vicki Scott will also be in action on her well-travelled 17-year-old horse Current Flame. This is the horse’s first CIC competition since returning from his campaign in the United Kingdom and Europe. Scott says he is well, fit and sound after his adventures abroad.

A new innovation this year is that all the portable fences that have been used on the CCI** country track are made from artificial timber, which is a composite of recycled paper and plastic. This material has been attached to steel frames to ensure easy manoeuvrability and long life. Show director Colin Scott believes this is the first time this type of material has been used for building cross-country fences throughout the world. The technical delegate is the experienced Ronald Alexander from Scotland. He is usually the technical director at events in Russia and other eastern bloc countries. Alexander is also the course designer for this year’s South African Eventing Championships, which will be held at Northern Farm in Gauteng.

Carriage driving is taking a big part in Saturday’s activities at the Karkloof Polo Club with a Tri-Nations Cones competition between South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. This promises to be an exciting event as the competition depends on speed and accuracy through tight obstacles.

• Well-known local equestrian personality Lynne Lacey was involved in a freak accident at the South African Showing Championships in Gauteng recently and suffered a ruptured liver, which necessitated 10 days in hospital. Lacey is now out of hospital but it will be some weeks before she will be well enough to travel back to KZN.

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