Top EC horses compete for championship titles in Bathurst

POWER AND BEAUTY: The Adult Open Working Hunter Champion for 2020 was Eljays Satchmo Bear ridden by Robyn Cloete, who displayed the true essence of a working hunter with a brilliant round of jumping and a strong gallop despite competing in pouring rain Picture: BRIAN EDWORTHY, WOLFWORX PHOTOGRAPHY

SABRINA DEAN

There was a dazzling selection of some of the best horses in the Eastern Cape on display in Bathurst village during the Eastern Cape Showing Champs Festival 2020, hosted at the Bathurst Showgrounds from November13 to 15.

The annual provincial championship event is presented by the Eastern Cape branch of South African Showing Association (SASA), which is one of the English equestrian disciplines affiliated to the South African Equestrian Federation (SAEF).

Competitors travelled to Bathurst from East London, Port Elizabeth, Hofmeyr, Grahamstown and elsewhere in the province, with the annual SASA EC awards ceremony also hosted in the village at the Historic Pig and Whistle on November 14.

Show convenor and acting provincial chairperson for SASA EC, Cate Pike, said it was an absolute delight to hold the prestigious event at the beautiful showgrounds.

“We are also extremely grateful to the Bathurst Agricultural Society (BAS) for hosting the event and to the Bathurst Riding Club (BRC) and committee members for everything they contributed. Everybody was on board to make it a success,” she said.

Pike added there were about 30 competitors showing roughly 35 horses entered over the three-day show including children, juniors and adults, showing both horses and ponies. Despite this year’s entries being lower than hoped-for due to challenges such as the coronavirus as well as the timing coinciding with school exams, she said the quality of the horses was exceptional.

“We had some of the top horses in the Eastern Cape at the show,” she said.

This was also confirmed by the two Western Cape provincial judges who travelled to Bathurst for the event; Tarryn Stebbing and Sue Dittman, both of whom agreed on the high quality of the horses on show.

Pike said some of the highlights at the event included the open championships, the breed classes, the working riding and working hunter championships, as well as the in-hand classes.

“It was lovely to see quite a lot of entries in the in-hand classes as this is especially important for the young horses,” said Pike.

Another highlight was the transformation classes for best handler turnout that provide an opportunity for grooms to enter the ring and show off their skills.

Pike expressed her thanks to numerous sponsors including the Historic Pig and Whistle Inn for its sponsorship of the Working Riding Championships. The provincial awards ceremony was also held at the Pig. She said the evening was about giving recognition to the champions from the year before along with others who had excelled during the year, as well as to celebrate and share an evening with fellow sportsmen.

All the results can be viewed online on the Facebook page titled EC Showing Champs Festival 2020 – Bathurst, or at this link: https://web.facebook.com/groups/1301828673166282.

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