By Caroline Malan

What makes Derby so special?

What makes Derby great is the uniqueness of the show. It is a show that is completely different to anything else in the calendar. Derby training starts months before the show, for horse and rider. We have to make sure our horses are super fit, and as riders we also need to be fitter for the Derby. Specific training is also needed for the Derby obstacles. Basically the whole build up is what makes Derby so great for me!

What do you think about this year’s Derby?

I think Derby 2019 will be a huge success. I think it is great that KPC has sold the jumps to sponsors and I feel it will make everything more exciting to watch. Our sport has grown so much this past year and I can only imagine how amazing the turn out will be at Derby.

How has Derby changed…

For spectators: Derby has grown from strength to strength. As mentioned above, the growth in our sport is unbelievable. We have better horses and riders, which will definitely make it a fun day out for spectators. What makes Derby great is that it is a day out for your whole family and Derby really brings the community together. There is a lot of entertainment, food stalls and things for kids to do, so it’s definitely a great social event.

For competitors: For us as competitors it is great to see our spectators supporting us and it just makes the event more special.

For the sport: Derby is great for our sport because it brings people together. It is a prestigious event that exposes our sport to the public and makes sponsoring our sport more attractive to potential sponsors.

Which horses will you be jumping in the show? 

I will compete on DSP Crash Man, owned by Conrad Fourie. He will compete in the main class. Callaho’s Lamina owned by Govett Triggol will also compete. She will jump in the mini Grand Prix. The Boyz Travel Merchants James owned by Chad Cunningham will compete in the Micro-Derby, so I am fortunate enough to have a horse for each of the main classes.

Which horse are you most excited to jump?

I am most excited to ride Crash Man. I competed in Derby with him last year. He has competed in the Hamburg Derby with his previous rider, and I believe he is a strong contender for this year. I have been riding Crash Man for two years now. He is a sensitive horse but I do believe that we are building up a good relationship.

What is your best ever Derby round? 

My best round would be last year’s Derby on Crash Man. This year will only be my third Derby as I have never had good Derby horses, so hopefully I can make this year count.

Who is your favourite for this year?

Well I probably cannot pick myself (joke)! I would say Liam Stevens and Disa Wonder. He has been close to winning three years in a row, but just has not had luck on his side. I also think Rainer Korber on Clouney will be strong contenders. Ray is a brilliant rider and I believe they will be strong contenders.

What is the one improvement you would make to Derby?

I must say I don’t think there is much more to improve. I think all aspects have been catered to.

What are some of the techniques you use to calm yourself and your horse before the big classes?

I normally step away from the public for a few hours before the class, and just settle myself down. I often watch previous rounds of myself riding and look for ways to improve. When it comes to  Crash Man, I just keep him as comfortable as possible and try not show my anxiousness to him.

Which horse do you ride in the parade?

I ride Crash Man in the parade as I feel it psyches the horses up and gives them adrenaline. Some horses love the parade and other’s don’t. I think it works really well for some of them!

Who is your favourite horse on the SA circuit?

Well I would definitely have to say my own horse Capital Chantilly. She is a champion at heart and in talent. She gives me everything she has and I can always count on her. She loves winning more than I do!

What is your biggest challenge at the Derby?

My biggest challenge is the plank after the bank. Crash Man has a bit of an issue with the plank, so I have started my training and hopefully I can fix our problem before the big day.