OVER the last weekend of April, 35 endurance horse riders descended upon Emerald Valley, in Kragga Kamma Road, Gqeberha, for Kouga Riding Club’s (KRC) first ever ERASA (Endurance Riding Association of South Africa) affiliated ride.
Riders and officials came from as far as Stellenbosch and Worcester to participate in this new event in the Eastern Cape.
Endurance horse riding is all about a horse and rider combination completing a technical course over a long distance, vetting out at several vet checks along the way within a specified time.
At this particular event, horses and riders completed either the 40km or 80km course, which started at Emerald Valley and passed through four different farms.
The course included several hills over grassy plains and winding forest paths, manoeuvring in-between cattle and wildlife, such as impala and giraffes, while enjoying the outstanding views of the coastline.
Even though riders found the course to be extremely technical, especially due to all the hills, valleys, and windy conditions, most riders completed the course, with 11 riders completing the 40km course and 21 completing the 80km. As the ERASA slogan goes, “To finish is to win!”
“This has, by far, been one of the most challenging courses I have done in endurance riding,” said Eloise Klopper from the Smaldeel Endurance Club.
“I have learned so much from this ride and how to look after your horse and to spare them to complete the distance successfully. I think every rider and horse who completed this ride has definitely improved their fitness level as well as their horsemanship,” Klopper said.
Twelve out of the 13 horses that the Smaldeel team took from Bedford, Somerset East and Adelaide to the weekend ride successfully completed the course.
The Smaldeel Endurance Club would like to thank Kouga Riding Club for hosting this ride and is looking forward to many more adventurous endurance rides at Emerald Valley.