More depth in South African showjumping

2008-02-21 00:00

Sue Acutt and the Southern Drakensberg Riding Club held a very successful unaffiliated eventing show last weekend.

The competitors had an enjoyable time competing over the affiliated cross-country course without being under the tremendous pressure that the affiliated competition produces.

The dressage arenas were excellent as was the showjumping arena. Competitors came from as far afield as Ballito and Howick.

At the recent Horse of the Year Show held in Gauteng, Stephanie Mcgaw, riding Ardmore Ceramics Foresyte Fatal Attraction, won the title of champion younger child’s pony. This is a superb achievement for Stephanie, who took on the best in South Africa.

Megan Berning and Springclose Prince Dante also had an excellent show, winning the show pony and the show riding pony events as well as winning a championship and also being a reserve champion.

The English judge, Jackie Beatham, was highly impressed with the standard of the children’s riding and is convinced that this is due to South Africa’s comprehensive equitation events that take place often around the country.

Beatham last judged in South Africa in 1994 and said she had seen a vast improvement in the quality of the horses across the board and believes that some of this year’s champions would do well at the United Kingdom’s Horse of the Year Show.

She also felt there is far more depth now than in 1994, adding that South Africa are generally at the standard of the UK’s county shows which are held throughout the year.

Summerhill Stud is like a breath of fresh air in the current atmosphere of doom and gloom about the future of South Africa.

This impressive stud, a global business, has 660 horses residing there and employs over 300 people — a fantastic boost to the economy around Mooi River.

The stud has managed to attract the attention of the rulers of Dubai who have sent some fabulous stallions to Mooi River, as well as purchased some excellent female lines.

The stallion fees are a fraction of the price they would be if these horses stood elsewhere in the world, so from a breeding perspective, South Africa should have some superb horses with impressive bloodlines and conformation for the future.

There are also much smaller studs in the Mooi River area, such as Alan and Robyn Bechard’s stud, that are also producing marvellous animals.

This weekend is exceptionally busy with jumpcross at Treverton School. Contact Ursula at 033 263 1251.

Clifton School also has a training showjumping event. Contact Lauren at 083 564 2751.

The South African Jockey Academy is holding an affiliated showjumping show. Contact 031 769 1103.

An affiliated dressage competition is being held at the Durban Shongweni Club. Contact Belinda at 083 325 3169.

Anyone with equestrian news for the weekly “From the Horse’s Mouth column” in The Witness can contact Charlotte Houston at 082 886 6339.

English judge Jackie Beatham presenting Stephanie Mcgaw, and Foresyte Fatal Attraction, with the trophy for winning the South African champion younger child’s pony.

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