The Dressage Judge was Flo Vernon, a National Judge from Port Elizabeth, South Africa, and her Scribe was Angela Tilney. The dressage arena Gate Marshall was Francis Chinyonge. Flo’s air ticket was sponsored by the Horse Society of Botswana. Thank you HSB. Flo stayed at the comfortable and newly built guest suite accommodation at Tim and Pearl’s home. The Show-Jumping Judge was Mrs Teresa Fitt (FEI 3* Jumping Judge) and her Scribe and Time Recorder was Angela Tilney. The Course Designer and Course Builder was Mr Neil Fitt. He was helped in the arena by Tim Race, Ben Maekopo, Nqobile Ncube, Francis Chinyonge and Cephas Chibaya.
The arenas were prepared by Tim Race. HSB provided water for both arenas. Thank you HSB.
The Entry Fees were BWP120.00 per class which included the Official’s Fee and the Ground’s Fee. Late entries were charged an extra BWP25.00 per class. The cost of stabling for the duration of the show was BWP125.00 and fresh sawdust bedding was provided. Serenity Equestrian Centre has twenty-one stables available for visiting horses, ladies and gentlemen’s toilets, water tanks holding horse’s drinking water and another tank to hold waste water to be recycled on the paddocks and gardens all conveniently close by. There is a large paddock for the horse boxes, lots of parking space for spectator’s vehicles and everything is close to the stables and arenas. There are shaded areas for all the jolly spectators to sit ranging from children to grand-parents.
The dressage started at 8.00am on Saturday morning in a 60M x 20M and the arena was changed to a 20m X 40M for the Pony Riders at the very end of the morning. The tests ridden included the new FEI World Dressage Challenge Tests and this was a golden opportunity for riders to have a National Judge’s eyes on them before the important FEI WDC which will be held at this venue on May 21st. The show-jumping started at 8.00am on Sunday morning and was completed by late morning. Catering was available throughout the weekend and was prepared by the ever cheerful Khukhi Tabane and her helper Mmapula Moilwa who produced delicious bacon and egg rolls, boerewors rolls, tuna and mayonnaise rolls, lunch bars, hot and cold drinks.
Neil built two interesting courses for the show-jumping. The first course had ten jumps with eleven jumping efforts comprising of four uprights, four parallels, one water tray and a double combination. The jumping classes started at 0.70cms and were raised to 1.00M. Jump one, a parallel, was approached through the start on either the right or left rein, land right and around to jump two, the Serenity Equestrian Centre upright, land right and around to jump three, an upright, straight on in four strides to jump four, an upright, land left and around to jump five, the double combination of an upright and one stride to a parallel, land left and around to jump six, the Botswana flag and water tray, land right and around to the sponsored Haskins Botswana red and white parallel, land right and around to jump eight, an upright, land right and on to jump nine, a parallel, land right and around to jump ten, a parallel with multi-coloured boxes as a filler and straight on through the finish.
The second course had ten jumps with eleven jumping efforts comprising of four uprights, four parallels, one water tray and one double combination with three changes of rein. The jumping classes started at 1.05M and went down to 0.65cms. Jump one, an upright, was approached through the start on the left rein, land left and around to jump two, the Haskins Botswana parallel, land left and around to jump three, the Botswana flag and water tray, land right and around to jump four, the double combination of a parallel and one stride to an upright, land right and around to jump five, an upright, straight on in four strides to jump six, an upright, land left and around to jump seven, a parallel, land right and around to jump eight, a parallel with multi-coloured boxes as a filler, land right and on a right curve to jump nine, the Serenity Equestrian Centre upright, land right and around to jump ten, a parallel and through the finish.
The Serenity Equestrian Centre upright was jumped with picket fence fillers up to 0.85cms and the Botswana flag upright was only jumped as a water tray from 0.90cms upwards.
Thank you to all those enthusiastic riders who travelled to reach the show grounds. The winter weather has not yet arrived in Gaborone so the long journeys made were in the heat for most horses. Jan Marie Alberts and her ever patient boyfriend, Wade, drove over four hundred kilometres from Francistown which took six hours each way. Thank you for making this huge effort. Sandy Davies, Maya Bergh, Kim Reid and Jaimie Williams travelled from Stone Ridge Stables, Crocodile Pools. Sue Bookbinder travelled from Pangolin Farm, Notwane, with her horses for her clients Hannah Mullineux, Niante Du Plessis and her Development Rider, Pelenomi Lekgowe to ride. Debra Freeman, Bridget Tippins, Adele Jooste, Bridget O’Neill, Shannon O’Neill and Sarah Ward travelled within Ruretse.
Text and photography: Sarah Ward