Investors in show jumping play a huge role in the success of not only the sport, but also the rider. Jeanne Engela is sponsored by Investec Bank Ltd and says she is very privileged to be representing such a powerful brand.
She has two horses – Investec Chanel van de Zeshoek and Investec Inferno D’Emma. Chanel is her 12 year old Holsteiner mare, while Inferno is a 7 year old Belgian Warmblood gelding. Jeanne bought both of them when they were four years old, from Sancho Voerman in Belgium.
Together, Chanel and Jeanne have won the WCQ Series, the President’s Cup, and they’ve qualified to compete at the World Equestrian Games. They’ve also won the Young Rider Series twice, and have been ranked 2nd and 3rd in the SA Champs.
Inferno is the rock star in the making, and has recently gone open, and came 2nd in the 1m30 SA Championship class in Shongweni not too long ago. Jeanne has big hopes for Inferno.
We caught up with her a while back to get to know her, and her babies.
What horse will you be riding in the Derby this year?
Investec Chanel will take part in the Big Derby and Investec Inferno will take part in the Micro Derby. I have only competed in the big Derby once before, it was with Chanel in 2013 and we had 1 pole down and finished 5th. I was over the moon with her performance.
What are your strengths/weaknesses in terms of the course?
I have only jumped the track once before and the one pole that I had down was the stile. So I guess going into my second derby that will be my fence to clear. However, I do believe there are far more technical parts of the derby track that I should focus on. Chanel has the tendency to be a bit casual at the water jump so that will be one of them and then obviously the big bank is always something that takes some riding.
How are you preparing for the event?
First and foremost I have been making sure that my horse is fit enough and I believe this starts long before the event and is different for each horse. Closer to the time, a week or two before, I will show them the different obstacles that they will be faced with on the day to the point where I can feel that they are happy in their bodies and their minds with each obstacle at the pace at which it must be tackled on the day. For Inferno this will be his first time so I am not sure how he will react or whether he is a derby horse. Some horses just don’t like it but with Chanel I am very lucky, she is brave and careful and she trusts me.
Which obstacles concern you most and how will you handle them?
I have my concerns about all of the obstacles. There is a specific way that each jump needs to be ridden, depending on your horse and many other variables on the day. My biggest concern is riding all them properly and giving my horse the best opportunity to jump a clear round.
What is your personal health plan leading up to the event?
I have been working on getting myself fit by running and going to gym and then I will also eat healthy and try be as light as possible and as strong as possible on the day.
If you win this year, how do you plan to celebrate?
Wow. I don’t even know. I will be so happy. I will feed my absolute gem of a horse all the apples and carrots I can find and then tuck her in and have a huge party!