Horse riding is fun — even under pressure!

VAALWATER — Four of Vaalwater’s young horse riders proved that they are a force to be reckoned with during the past weekend.
They are not ready to repeat Da Vinci’s words re the Colossus: “Ï will speak of the horse no more…” They are already practicing for their next show!
SANESA (South African National Equestrian Schools Association) presents four shows per year for school riders to qualify for the Limpopo team. Two of the shows are held in Polokwane, and two are held in Vivo. The sport has grown over the past few years. Last year, a show would have been huge with 300 entries, but this year, the entries touch the 400 mark. This means competition is fierce, and with judges coming from all over South-Africa to judge the different classes, the standard is really high. There are rules and regulations for every class, horse, tack, dress and conduct. Riders can compete in as many as four classes per day, per horse.
This past Saturday and Sunday was spent in Vivo at Blouberg Riding School. At the break of dawn, with stunning clouds over the mountains, the riders had to be in their riding gear – ready for early classes.
Lyandi van der Merwe, the only girl in the Vaalwater group to participate at SANESA shows, is in grade 5 at Waterberg Academy.
Lyandi and her horse and team mate, boerperd Carel Hancke Limpopo, came home with a first and third place for show jumping (60 cm), and two fifth places for primary school dressage level 1.
Ruben le Roux, a grade 6 home schooler, participated on his thoroughbred Our Mattox. They came home with a first and second place for show jumping at 90 cm, a fourth place in the equitation class (80 cm), a first place for working riding level 5, and a second place for working hunter (80 cm).
The two Poortier boys also had a good show! Leendert, a grade 7 pupil of Voetspore Tuisskool, and his partner ZigZag, placed fourth in the high school division equitation (80cm), 3rd in the working hunter (80 cm) class, and achieved two first places for high school dressage level 1!
Lambert, the youngest of the group at 7, and his pony Charlie, came in 3rd place for equitation level 0, and achieved a 2nd and 3rd for his two show jumping 40 cm classes.
The Limpopo team will be announced in August. The National Championships are normally held during the October school holidays in Gauteng.

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