Namibia’s endurance horse riding teams excelled at the South African International FEI Challenge which recently took place in Beaufort West, South Africa, winning both the Senior Standard Weight and Heavy Weight divisions. Namibia’s individual riders also excelled in their various categories, with several riders winning medals. Namibia competed against the national teams of South Africa, France and Great Britain as well as provincial South African teams.
Namibia had by far the superior team in the Heavy Weight division with all its riders putting in consistently good rides. The Namibian team’s strategy was to ride competitively yet safely and let the other teams ride themselves out of the race.
The plan was successful when three of the South African riders were eliminated after the first loop and a fourth rider was eliminated after the second loop.
The only two South Africans finishers came first and 12th overall, while all but one of Namibia’s riders finished amongst the top 12 positions. They were Rudolf Oosthuizen (third), Gawie Viljoen (fourth), Shanie Bosch (seventh), Danie Delport (tenth) and Kallie Grunschlos (11th). The only Namibian withdrawal was Johan van der Walt, whose horse pulled up lame after the second loop.
Namibia dominated the Standard Weight category and took the lead after 30 minutes of the first loop. After the second loop the lead increased to 48 minutes and one of the South African team members was eliminated. After the third loop two more South African team members were eliminated because they could not keep up with the high speed of the Namibian riders. Victory was sweet when the Namibian team finished ahead of South Africa, France and Great Britian.
Jeremia Goagoseb came second, Bredell Wessels came fourth, Frans Saubek sixth, Collin Tjanda seventh, Sam Kriel 16th, Simon Hangura 28th and Hannelie Coetzee 40th. Stefanus Pienaar was eliminated at the final inspection.
Namibia nearly also won the Young Riders category, but were eliminated when three of their horses failed to complete the course. Namibia was leading until the final inspection when Anna Wucher’s horse, Mubarak was eliminated due to lameness. If Mubarak had finished, Namibia would have beaten the eventual winners, South Africa, by more than 1 hour 40 minutes.
Chante Nell came first, Christine van Zyl fourth, Conrad van der Walt 16th, Recht Burger 17th, Schalk Burger 18th and Kabous Rossouw.
In the individual competitions, Namibian riders performed well and ended in the following positions:
In the Senior Standard Weight division over 120,7 km, Izolde von Schauroth came third and Adri van Zyl 27th.
In the Young Riders’ category over 120,7km Fritz Konjak came third, Wilhelm Loubscher 15th and Cherne de Meyer 18th.
Marlene van Rensburg came seventh in the Erasa 120km category, while Johan Bredenkamp came first overall in the I Young Rider category over 81,09km.
Of the 15 horses that were nominated for the Best Conditioned competition in the three categories in which Namibia competed, eight were Namibian horses. Namibia won two of the three awards, with Chante Nell on Henham Zahara winning in the Young riders category and Izolde von Schauroth on Zabubega Tushiya in the senior category.