Saddle up for some cross-country action

Heidi Caine and Rivervale Bonus Point

Heidi Caine and Rivervale Bonus Point

A record number of entries have been received for this year’s Polo International Horse Trials event, which takes place over the weekend of 31 October and 1 November at Waterfall Polo Estate in Midrand. Hosted by Polo South Africa and presented by DSTV Premium, more than 190 entries from as far afield as the United Kingdom, France, Zambia and Zimbabwe have been received.
Staging the ultimate challenge of horsemanship – horse and rider are required to perform three totally different disciplines over the two days, namely dressage, cross country and show jumping – the winner will walk home with prizes in excess of R250 000.
“The stakes for the much-coveted prizes are extremely high,” says event director Pat Parker. “We have been overwhelmed by the quality of entries for this year and look forward to a weekend of horsemanship at its absolute best.”
Gaining traction from 92 entries in 2013 to more than double that number this this year, the event has become a much-anticipated sporting highlight in the equestrian community. Listed on the Federation Equestrian International sports calendar, this year’s event will play host to the Africa Shield and Africa Cup, where teams from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia will compete for the winning title.
Polo_2014-26-1Top South African riders competing for this year’s title include Polo International Horse Trials Champions from 2013 and 2014, namely Hayley Parker and Martyn Swanepoel and the Investec four, made up of Alex Peternell, Hayley Parker, Stuart Fitzgerald and Vicky Scott. The Investec riders, who have their sights on the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics, are currently based in the UK, where they are being trained by equestrian coach, Captain Mark Phillips.
The cross-country course, which has been designed and curated by Hong Kong Olympics course builder, David Evans, is a key draw card for riders and spectators alike. Other event attractions include, the Working with Wood Show, an artisanal food and drinks village, fun activities for the little ones and the annual Polo Pink Pony Walkathon, a Cansa fundraising initiative.
Taking place on Sunday, 1 November, the 5km Polo Pink Pony Walkathon will start at 8am from the public gate entrance off Maxwell Drive at Waterfall Polo Estate. Participants are encouraged to dress up in their best pink gear with prizes being awarded for the most creative outfits. Four legged family friends are invited too (as long as they are on a leash) with all money raised from the walkathon going towards breast cancer and Movember fundraising initiatives.
Presenting a jam-packed weekend, the Polo International Horse Trials event will appeal to all horse fanatics, thrill seekers and laidback lounge-around-ers. Daily entry will cost R130 and limited Peroni lounge hospitality premium tickets, R1 500, both are available through ticketpro.co.za. For more information visit www.polohorsetrials.com.