The 2015 Nissan Winter Classic ended in superb form with record-breaking showjumping activity at the stunning Durban Shongweni Club in KwaZulu-Natal.
The showjumping event, which forms part of the FEI World Cup Qualifier Series, attracted 510 horses accompanied by their world-class riders to the annual equestrian event from 12 to 16 June.
Top spot in the main class – the Nissan 1.5m World Cup Qualifier – was taken by Jonathan Clarke, competing against 34 riders on the final day of the competition. Clark rode to victory on Felix van de Mispelaere, owned by Di and Mark Slade. Second place was clinched by Lisa Williams on Discovery Campbell with Samantha Mcintosh riding Let’s Win in third place.
It proved to be Jonathan Clark’s year as he and Felix van de Mispelaere also took first place in the Nissan Riders’Grand Prix Tour held on Sunday, 14 June. Second place in the Grand Prix went to Ian van Schalkwyk riding Valanta.
The showstopping 6 Bar Competition proved to be another crowd-pleaser with well-known rider, Lorette Knowles-Taylor, riding Nissan Nabab Forever, taking first place in the Adult Category while setting a new South African record of 2.05m. Knowles-Taylor broke her own 2014 record of 2m set at last year’s Nissan Winter Classic.
Sixteen riders entered the inaugural Junior Category (18 years and under) of the 6 Bar Competition. Sabrina Barbadlia, riding Vision 21, and Ashton Ensor-Smith, riding Rivervale Bold Streak, both cleared 1.75m to tie for the number one position.
“Every day was incredible,” said Jodi Wolhuter, event spokeswoman. “There were thousands of people who came to watch some impressive showjumping action. And with 60 percent of the riders from out of province, this was a real boost for the local economy.”
Wolhuter said the weather played its part and attracted people, not only to the showjumping action, but the sideline events as well.
The stallholders did well, restaurants were full, and the children’s play area was very busy.
Title sponsors, Nissan, were once again thrilled to be associated with an equestrian spectacle of such a high calibre.
“Nissan has supported this, one of the biggest events on the equestrian calendar, since 2012,” said Mike Whitfield, Nissan South Africa’s Managing Director. “Once again this has proved to be a well-run competition that provided spectacular entertainment for the thousands who turned out every day and we are proud to be have been involved in the event.”