World Class Riders for Tip of Africa

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Next month the eyes of endurance horse riding enthusiasts in South Africa will turn to the ups and downs of the lofty green Overberg hills soon after the last hoofs faded in the extreme winter conditions of the Fauresmith-event in the Free State.
Listed as one of only three 160km South African endurance rides on the FEI (Federation Equestrian Internationale) endurance calendar, the 2013 Tip of Africa Endurance will be a paradise to riders and horses from all over the country and from as far as France and Namibia.
Rider registrations opened and preparation is underway for an awesome route which will be completed by riders starting at 03:00 on the morning of Saturday, 27 July. This challenging endurance ride will start and finish in the 6000m² BKB Livestock Centre at Mega Park, Bredasdorp.
Riders will pass Nacht Wacht and a veterinary checkpoint will be set up at Prinskraal on route to De Mond Nature Reserve where riders will spend several kilometres on the beach. The route stretches over 160km, 120km, 80km and 60km or 30km, both for novice riders and horses.
For the first time the event will be open to spectators with pavilions at the start and finishing points. The Tip of Africa Endurance promises to be a family fun day with much to do, to eat, to drink and to learn about horses and equestrian events.
One of the top riders will be Naomi Müller from Hermanus, who represented South Africa during seven international events. She is currently again qualifying for the 2014 Equestrian Games in France but has not yet obtained a sponsorship for participation.
Naomi is keen to introduce new entrants to this fast growing sport and she invites all local riders to get their horses on a fitness programme right away, to practice regularly and to enter for at least the 30km or 60km rides.
Naomi has been ranked number 1 on the FEI international endurance ranking list for two months – the only South African ever to achieve a listing by the FEI. According to ERASA (Endurance Ride Association of South Africa) she has been the top ranked long distance rider in South Africa from 2008 – 2011, and again currently.
In 2004 she won the 130km Walvisbaai Endurance in a new record time, still standing.
Since then she participated amongst other in:
• The World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany, 2006
• The World Equestrian Championship in Teregganu, Malaysia, 2008
• The African Games in Algeria
• Three Tri-nations Championships involving South Africa, Namibia and Botswana
• The World Championship in Euston Park, England, 2012
Due to financial restraints she could not participate in the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, USA.
Naomi, organiser of the Tip of Africa Endurance, says this event presented for the first time in 2012, may be a new kid on the block but it’s potential is enormous taken the endorsement of 120 riders in the 2012 event.
“This endurance ride really has the potential to become a world class event. The excellent land surface for a relatively high speed ride and excellent infrastructure and facilities at Mega Park are requirements for an accredited international event for the Overberg,” says Naomi. The Tip of Africa Endurance also offers excellent tourism potential to the region which is usually struggling during the winter season.
South African endurance horses are regarded as some of the best in the world and horses are exported regularly, especially to the Middle East.
The ride takes place in phases of about 30km with limited rest time in between when veterinarian checks need to be passed in order to continue with the ride. The winner of every category is the first rider and horse to finish and to pass the final veterinarian check. The welfare of horses remain the prime priority of participants and officials.
Enquiries for entries, sponsorships and involvement of officials for the 2013 Tip of Africa Endurance may be directed to 082 783 1802 or to naomi@shabachstud.co.za or visit www.shabachstud.co.za