Olympic rider to hold clinic in Midlands

2012-08-22 00:00

LAST week it was Chad le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh at the Short Course Championships in Pietermaritzburg. This week, another Olympian comes to the Midlands in the form of controversial three day event rider, Alex Peternell.

Peternell was forced to challenge the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) in court for his right to compete at the Olympics in London.

Peternell (31) won his case and finished a creditable 49th in London. Now the former ballet dancer is back in his homeland, passing on his skills and experience to the next generation of potential Olympians.

On Saturday night, he will host a question and answer session about his Olympic experience at the Corner Post in Howick. Then on Saturday and Sunday, he will be holding an eventing clinic at Dolcoed Equestrian Centre in Lidgetton.

The clinic is aimed at improving the skills of Midlands-based riders in the three disciplines of Eventing — dressage, show-jumping and cross-country.

The Dolcoed Equestrian Centre is a new venue, situated on the Caversham Road at the beginning of the Caversham valley. Last weekend it hosted the first Sanesa (Schools) eventing qualifier in KZN, attracting competitors from as far away as Mtubatuba and Richards Bay.

Rhian Capostagno, the owner of the centre, said: “The feedback has been overwhelming regarding the quality of design, the artistic nature of the tracks and the quality of the build.

“To have had Priscilla Young, one of South Africa’s top course designers, run the project has been amazing, and the fact that she is a local Midlands resident makes this even more special.”

Peternell is excited about the talent coming through in eventing in South Africa. He is based in London, but said: “I come back every few months to train and every time I come I see a lot more youngsters who are very talented with some great horses, and they want to compete.

“I hope that by coming back, I can act as an inspiration to them and show that there is hope. I also hope that by the time the next Olym­pics comes round that South Africa will be able to field a very strong team.”

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