The Nissan Winter Classic 2016 is in full swing with two days of KwaZulu-Natal’s biggest showjumping competition already successfully completed. However, visitors to the Durban Shongweni Club can look forward to a full programme of captivating equestrian, canine and vehicular events over the next three days.
“Overall the conditions for the various competitions have been perfect,” said co-organiser, Jodi Wolhuter. “The course, which was designed by international course designer, Michel Ismalun, has been challenging making for some really exciting jumping. Riders have also welcomed the fantastic tracks built by Gauteng course designer, Kate Launder.”
Outside the arena, children have been thoroughly enjoying themselves in the Nissan play area, while spectators have been treated to some fabulous country fair and crafts at the food and retail stalls.
There have been some incredible equestrian displays by this year’s contenders with Shari Navra taking the top spot in the 1.35m Accumulator, riding Tack N Togs Cupidor. She was followed by Port Elizabeth’s Jade Hooke riding A New Era.
Commenting on this year’s Nissan Winter Classic, Hooke – who is competing in the 1.35m Accumulator events – said the event has been fantastic so far.
“Strangely enough, I won the Grand Prix on the same horse at the Nissan Winter Classic four years ago,” she said, after her successful jump. “The event has really grown since I first started competing in it and it’s really great to have Nissan involved as a main sponsor. I’m really grateful to them for the input they’ve given the sport.”
Hooke has been living and competing in the United Kingdom for the past two years, coming third in the Hickstead Derby in West Sussex as well as competing in the challenging World Equestrian Games. She said, although it was a life-changing experience competing overseas, there is no place like home.
“The shows have grown and the sport is really evolving which is great for South Africa. The showgrounds at Shongweni have also been upgraded, making it a world-class venue.”
The winner in the highly-anticipated Nissan 1.5m Rider’s Grand Prix Tour was Lisa Williams riding Discovery Campbell with Govett Triggol coming in second place, riding Callao’s C-Ultra.
There are still lots of exciting showjumping events lined up for the weekend including the Nissan Crossover Relay Challenge and Night Jumping on Friday; The Nissan Junior Top Score Competition and Nissan Adult 6 Bar Competition taking place under floodlights on Saturday as well as the main title class, the Nissan FEI World Cup Qualifier, on Sunday.
Visitors to this year’s event will also be treated to a skilful Dog Agility Display on both Friday and Sunday where trainers will give their canine counterparts the chance to show off their impressive agility, tricks and even dancing. There will also be a number of fun dog competitions held throughout with various categories including best performer, best rescue, most unusual dog mix, happiest dog, owner/dog lookalike and best matching outfits
Text: Olivia Jones Communications
Photography: SA Showjumping