Horses show their hooves at show jumping festival

Springs rider Graham Winn in action during a recent show jumping event. He is currently competing at the Shongweni Festival in Durban KwaZulu-Natal.

Twelve people from Springs are currently competing at the equestrian Shongweni Festival.

The competition which takes place at Shongweni Club in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), commenced on Tuesday and will continue until Sunday.

Headlining the event is the show jumping which features most of South Africa’s top equestrian talent competing in the 1.50m Land Rover Durban FEI World Cup Qualifier and the 1.40m FNB KZN Outdoor Grand Prix as well as many other anticipated categories and activities.

Graham Winn, his daughter Kirsten Winn and Martyn Swanepoel will compete in these open classes.

Winn says these classes vary from a 1.30m to 1.50m course.

“This level is of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) – a world governing body, which covers a 1.50m course. It is identical to an overseas course,” he says.

Kirsten will ride a Springs born and bred horse, while Swanepoel rides two horses he recently imported from Italy.

The other 14 horses from the Springs stables will be competing in the amateur classes on a under 1.20m course.

These riders are Maureen Sansom, Ashleigh Schaap, Neill Schaap, Alex Steenbeek, Chantelle Swanepoel and Michelle Winn.

Max Hornby (15) will also be competing on two breeding mares in the junior amateur classes.

“One of the highlights of the Shongweni festival is a competition involving a rider and their groom which took place on Women’s Day.

“This is held in the evening in the floodlit arena and involves a short jumping course, a horse and rider, at a speed combined with a soccer obstacle for the groom, where he has to score as many goals as possible in the time provided,” says Winn.

On Wednesday, an exciting Ride, Kick and Drive competition saw 10 Invitational teams participate. The teams consisting of a driver, rider and groom, competed for R20 000 in prize money.

Winn says Michelle and their groom Aurelio Muthemba are the defending champions.

However, this year the sponsors added a third member to the team – a driver.

“I will be the driver who drives an obstacle course in the main arena with the horse and rider and soccer player,” says Winn.

Event organiser Jodi Wolhuter says the strong focus is on providing development opportunities for deserving riders as well as three Durban based charities.

“Showjumping has traditionally been seen as an elitist sport, and we aim to change this with our support of local charities and development riders,” she says.

Anna Robertson

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