Windsong event inspires Eastern Cape riders
The weather was perfect, with bright sunshine and a warm breeze at Windsong equestrian centre on Saturday, as riders practised their dressage routine and studied the course for a two-day event last weekend.
Riders from around the Eastern Cape attended, along with spectators who enjoyed the day. For such a significant event on the Eastern Cape’s equestrian calendar, it was perhaps surprising the event had not inspired more local support.
A total of 40 competitors from age 11 years to over 50 came from far and wide, including Port Elizabeth, East London and Plettenberg Bay, to compete at the Windsong three-phase event, and the excellent weather held over the weekend.
Dressage and show-jumping ran smoothly throughout the first day, culminating in a festive braai around the boma at Windsong.
“Sunday, the cross-country day, was terribly exciting for newcomers to the sport and more experienced competitors,” said Windsong owner and event organiser, Helen Grapes. “Horse and human nerves play a huge part in the day’s proceedings, and this may have been what caused a few thrills and spills around the varied tracks.”
Horse and rider combinations start their eventing careers at the baby stages of 60cm high fences, slowly putting in mileage and building up partnerships as they progress through 70, 80, 90cm and onwards to 1 metre 20cm.
It takes a great effort and good partnership to achieve a first place at any level.
Grapes paid tribute to the army of volunteers who make this whole sport of eventing tick like clockwork. An interesting statistic from this show was that there were 38 volunteer officials, jump recorders, stewards, runners, caterers, admins, stable managers, stewards and 40 competitors and their horses to cater for.
“No mean feat,” said Grapes.
Local horses fared extremely well with Grapes’ horse Windsong Quizzical (that was born at Windsong) piloted by Megan Maritz from Port Elizabeth.
“Not an easy task riding and getting to know a horse with such distances involved,” commented Grapes.
Island Romance (the dam of Quizzical and now 17 years old) was piloted by Joshua Furtner from Grahamstown, and he also had limited time to get together with his mount. But only a year into the sport, he recorded a first place in Junior 70cm. Ciska Van Wyk, riding her own horse Chester, who is stabled at Windsong, posted a second place in the 60cm adult class.
Other results for the event are as follows.
In the Ev90 Adult class, first place went to Janice Bell on Bright Approval, second place was Megan Maritz on Windsong Quizzical and third place was awarded to Tracy Jane Baines on her horse, On Approval.
In the Ev90 junior class first place went to Nicole Garner on her horse Fendi, and in the Ev80 Adult class first place went to Robyn Fen on Midnight Cowboy.
In the High School 80 class, Rebecca Williams riding Katelands Lady Bizhub came first, and in the Ev70 Adult class first place went to Dani Garner on Nite Tiger.