Top jumpers prepare for inaugural equestrian festival
IN less than ten days’ time, from August 8 to August 12, some of South Africa’s, Namibia’s and Zimbabwe’s best show-jumpers will descend on the Shongweni Club Showgrounds for The Shongweni Festival.
Show-jumping is a sport where men and women of various ages all compete on the same level. Spectators can look forward to plenty of adrenalin-filled action, as well as highly glamourous competitors including the likes of ex Miss South Africa Heather Mostert, (nee Hamilton, of Hillcrest), who recently stood out at the celebration of the 60th Miss SA contest.
Another beautiful and accomplished sportswoman is Jodi Pieters (from Drummond), who has climbed Mount Everest and excelled in the Iron Man contest.
A highlight of the festival will be The World Cup Qualifier, taking place on Saturday, August 11. Here, competitors like South African riders Barry Taylor, Jonathan Clarke, Mandy Johnstone, and Ronnie Lawrence, to name just a few, will be competing for top honours, jumping up to 1,64 metres in height during the finals.
The event, which runs over Women’s Day on August 9, offers great outdoor entertainment with plenty of thrills and spills.
Family activities include clothing, food and beverage stalls, a licensed restaurant, kiddies play area and the opportunities to test drive the Land Rover & Jaguar model lineup, including the All New Discovery.
Entrance to the event is free of charge.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE FESTIVAL
• The 1.50 m Land Rover Durban FEI World Cup Qualifier on Saturday, August 11
• The Hausberger Financial Services 1.50 m Cup on Thursday, August 9
• The 1.40 m FNB KZN Outdoor Grand Prix on Saturday, August 11
• The Ride, Kick and Drive competition on Thursday, August 9
• Unity South Africa Dance entertainment, featuring Jemma van Breda, on August 10 at 5.30 pm.
The crowd-pleasing Ride, Kick and Drive competition will take place after all the main classes on Women’s Day. Here, ten invitational teams consisting of a driver, rider and groom will compete for the R10 000 prize money.
Teams will be driving the all-new Land Rover Discovery, jumping a course of eight 1.0 m jumps, and grooms will test their kicking accuracy with a soccer ball, all of which will take place under floodlights at approximately 6 pm.
With a strong focus on providing opportunities to deserving development riders, as well as making telling contributions to local charities, the inaugural Shongweni Festival is sure to make a lasting impact on the show jumping community.
Leading the charge for the development riders will be local Eric Gaza (Summerveld).
The charities set to benefit from the event include Funda Nenja and Mthatha Horse Rescue.
Event organiser Jodi Wolhuter said that “show jumping has traditionally been seen as an elitist sport, and we aim to change this with our support of local charities and development riders. We are hoping to raise a large sum of money in this regard, and this is made possible thanks to the overwhelming support of our riders and our sponsors Land Rover Durban and FNB”.
With the calibre of competitors, some of whom compete regularly in international competitions overseas, the show jumping at the Shongweni Festival is sure to be of the highest standard.
Entries to the event were sold out within hours of opening, with 300 riders and over 500 horses eager to make their mark on what is sure to be a popular event.
For more information, go to The Shongweni Festival Facebook page or visit the Shongweni Club website at www.shongweniclub.co.za, Land Rover Durban at www.durban.landrover.co.za or contact Jodi Wolhuter on 083 655 4465.
The Shongweni Festival is sponsored by Land Rover and FNB.