The first in the 2017 series of 7 international Boudheib Initiative endurance events took place in South Africa last weekend, 26 – 28th May, on the beautiful Sondela Nature Reserve in the Limpopo Province.
The event, organised by the PwC Sondela Committee, did a fantastic job. The Vet Gate worked perfectly, and the facilities were superb. The course was interesting and very well marked. It was flat, but technical alternating from dirt roads to deep sand in places. Many of the competitors saw giraffe and kudu while riding through the veld and of course some of the horses were not always impressed but the riders loved it!
Of the 309 starters over the two days, the overall completion rate for all divisions combined was nearly 80% which is absolutely fantastic especially given the technical trails, proving once again that the Boudheib Initiative is making its mark in its mission to put the ‘welfare of the endurance horse’ as primary importance.
The total field comprised 229 horses on Saturday’s event and 80 riders on Sunday. Saturday’s main ride saw 117 competitive riders tackling the very technical course comprising 3 loops of 31km, 31km and 18km. The first 2 loops varied from firm footing and grass jeep tracks to deep sand tracks. The sand tracks became even deeper on the second loop after 229 horses had waded through the sand on the first loop. The 3rd loop comprised easy going and firm footing but if the riders had not negotiated the second loop correctly the better going didn’t offer any respite on the final leg.
6 horses entered the 120km event with only 1 finisher who also finished within the BECA (Best Endurance Challenge Award) protocol. The 120km comprised a 40km first loop followed by 31km,31km and 18km of the 80km competition. Of the 5 failures to complete, 3 were rider’s choice and 2 for gait.
The competitive 80km riders and 120km riders were all automatically included in the Boudhieb Protocol competition – a first at the PwC Endurance Event. All riders who exceeded the protocol restrictions were allowed to continue in the race as long as the national rules for pulse, metabolic and gait were adhered to. Riders were then only excluded from the BECA competition but continued in the national competition. The National South African regulations for pulse, metabolic and gait criteria are the same as FEI regulations. All competitive horses were voted at the final inspections by the line vet and a constant panel of 2 veterinarians were on hand to ascertain a gait scoring for the BECA protocol.
Main organiser, Susan Koekemoer, did a wonderful job in taking on the event and was delighted to say that “All in all the riders thoroughly enjoyed the event and have asked for the BECA award to be included in the 2018 event. As organisers, Premier Equestrian Club, are proud to have been given the opportunity by our national federation and the Boudheib Committee to implement the BECA protocol in South Africa. Thank you to His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan for implementing the protocol in the sport of endurance and for keeping the horses welfare in the forefront of the sport.”
The winners of the Boudheib Best Endurance Challenge Award were delighted, and gave positive feedback on the goal of improving welfare and horsemanship by adhering to stricter standards. There was a cash prize, day sheets and numnas, and the two Junior winners received saddles as prizes.
The day following the competitive rides a 40 k “fun ride” was held, with a bush breakfast offered at a water point half way through. Lots of kids and families took advantage of this opportunity for a relaxed day’s riding in a beautiful setting.
229 TOTAL STARTERS FOR SATURDAY
117 COMPETITIVE RIDERS (120km and 80km)
83 COMPETITIVE RIDER COMPLETIONS
36 OF THE COMPETITIVE COMPLETIONS COMPLETED WITHIN THE BECA PROTOCOL
80 TOTAL STARTERS FOR SUNDAY
21 80km STARTERS
2 80km FTQ
9 non-competitive FTQ
120km Sam Chepape 7088
Heavy weight Nick Harper 8075
Lightweight Yolandi van der Klashorst 10099
Standardweight InnekeThirion 4296
Young Rider Kayla Hairbottle 7905
Child JanikeJoubert 7236
Lightweght Lanel van Nieuwenhuizen 2432
Standardweight Tommy van Niekerk 3760
Young Rider Ralien de Beer 10186
Boudheib BECA winners
Heavy weight Nick Harper 8075
Lightweght Liezl Ferreira – mother and daughter!!!! 6138
Standardweight Frieda van Zyl 4763
Young Rider Mille’ Ferreira 10319
Child Lente Schutte 8019