By Caroline Malan

Photography: Denford Studios

How is 2019 treating you personally so far? Injuries; challenges; etc

Life is generally a challenge 🤣 2019 is no different – you just need to hold your head up high and keep fighting!

How is 2019 treating your string thus far?

I have a lovely string of horses and touch wood, they are all healthy and sound!

Which of your horses has impressed you the most this year and why?

I love all my horses and they all impress me and make me proud – I’m a proud Mamma Duck!

Quest (Nissan Equistro vd Misbelaere, a 15 year old black stallion jumping 1.50m) is a new ride for me, but he took me straight back to World Cup level in May after having a wind op in February.

Pete (Callaho’s Sampras, an 11 year old dark bay stallion) started jumping in the 1.40m level in March and has won a good few classes already.

Gemma (Nissan Farnham Go for Gold, a 7 year old grey mare, who has just started jumping in the 1.20m classes) has come back great after a colic op at the end of last year – she has had three shows at 1.20m and won the speed accumulator in Blouberg two weeks ago.

Cento (Callaho Cento’s Boy, a 9 year old grey gelding) had an injury at Easter show in his first 1.40m class and was on rest for quite a while. He was then diagnosed with malabsorption but since mid-June has put on a pile of weight, strengthened up loads, and had a good second at Blouberg in the 1.30m class. I hope to have him back up to the 140s within the next couple of months.

Conny (Nissan Callaho Coneisha, a 7 year old grey mare) continues to impress – she had her first 1.35m championship class at Blouberg and was just out of the places with a fast 4-fault round in the jump off. She is brave, scopey and LOVES her job.

3. What is your riding weakness?

I try and work on something significant every day when I train – body control over the fence, lower-leg still over the fence, shoulders up in combinations, keeping short reins throughout a jumping round so that my shoulders are never ahead of my hands in the air (over the jump).

I also like to do a couple of minutes of no-stirrup work on each of my horses to work on my seat on the flat and to lengthen my leg

4. In what way do you reward your horses?

They always get carrots after they have worked. I love kissing and hugging them – they really love the contact.

5. What goals remain of yours for 2019?

Complete the World Cup series, and jump the big Derby, mini and micro Derby…

6. What are your next/upcoming shows?

Next week we have SA showjumping champs in Shongweni and at the end of August it’s the 4th leg of the FEI World Cup qualifying series in Polokwane.

7. What advice do you have for those who may have recently had a bad show?

Get back on on Tuesday morning, take a deep breath, smile and train, train and train some more! There are more lows than highs in this sport so challenging times are to be expected – what sets one apart from the next person is how you hold your head up and work through it.

8. Explain your Blouberg show to us: the good, the bad, the ugly.

I had an awesome weekend with Pete, Conny, Cento and Gemma – it was a good training weekend for me! I came away feeling very confident, despite a dismount in the jump off of Pete’s first 1.45m Blouberg Cup. My special little stallion over jumped the triple bar in the first round – misjudging the front rail thinking it was as high as the back rail, so in the jump off I knew I needed a forward ride to give him confidence and travel but I pulled to the base and then plopped off.

9. What horse and rider combination did you enjoy watching the most at Blouberg and why?

Barry on his new mount – Govett Triggol’s Coester G. He was second in the Blouberg Cup – but it’s always enjoyable watching a partnership come together. They will be a pair to watch in the future. Coester is a new 1.50m horse to boot!

10. Do you have a particular favourite horse in your string and if so who and why?

That’s like asking which is your fav child 🤣 I have 5 favorites and in no specific order … Pete, Quest, Cento, Conny and Gemma 😉

11. How do you work on your fitness/what do you do outside of riding/over and above riding – and in what way does this exercise help your riding?

Cardio, core strength and riding fitness is imperative in our sport. I have always battled keeping regular appointments with a gym trainer etc where it is at a set time as something always comes up and then it’s a rush. Recently though, I have downloaded a running app on my phone so now I run 3 times a week at Virgin Broadacres.

I normally hate running (have always loved walking) cos my knees, shins and ankles hurt but this app pushes me a little each session and I come out after each session feeling a sense of achievement! And three times (anytime during the 7 day week cycle) is manageable time wise too!!!

12. Do you follow a strict diet or do you eat as you want/junk food etc? What are your food loves and weaknesses?

I wouldn’t say I eat badly during the working/show season (protein shake at 6am, oats at 9am, sarmie at lunch, protein with salad/veg at dinner. Piece of fruit at 3pm) and I don’t drink in the week, but I do battle to keep my weight down. I have put on about 5 kg in the last year. 🙈 Burnout was diagnosed last September – so my body is often in fight/flight mode and this obviously sends ones adrenals/hormones haywire. I try and stay away from carbs at dinner but do love a baked potato as a treat! When I’m on holiday I eat (and drink 😉) all that I love – pizza, sushi, French baguettes…

13. August is Women’s month: tell us which women riders you admire the most both in terms of riders as well as general horsewomen/women in the sport of showjumping. Why do you admire them?

Lisa Williams is my hero – a business owner, very intelligent, an out and out lady at all times, super hard-working, completely (quietly) driven and her overseas equestrian success with Campbell is something I aspire to!