Farmer's Weekly (South Africa)
Indigenous horse racing soon to be officially recognised
An initiative born from a desire to see rural horses receive better care is now reaching the point where participants in the indigenous horse sport could soon be able to qualify for national colours.
One of the founders of the recently established Indigenous Horse Riders’ Association, Gerda Liebenberg, said the first sport they were attempting to have formally recognised by official equestrian and sporting bodies was Trippel Racing, also known as Racking Racing in other parts of the world.
“We have started with Trippel Racing, but the idea is that the association will be open to any type of traditional or cultural horse sport.” According to Liebenberg, in South
Africa, Trippel Racing was traditionally a weekend sporting activity in rural and remote areas and communities.
The race was different from Thoroughbred racing in that horses did not gallop, but were instead expected to compete in the rack, which was a specific four-beat gait associated with horse breeds such as the American Saddlebred, Hackney, or the indigenous Boerperd.
Competitors from the age of 10 to 80 could take part, and the races took place over a distance of 2km.
Liebenberg said there were already several clubs active in the Free State, and races were hosted at the stadium in Botshabelo once a month. She added that clubs were now being established in other towns as well, and they were also negotiating for a venue to host races in the Northern Cape.
The president of the Free State branch of the South African Equestrian Federation (SAEF), Gustus Roux, said he was excited about the new discipline. A delegation from SAEF had attended a race in Botshabelo last year. “I was amazed at how well-looked-after those horses were, and the pride and love the owners had for their animals.”
The new indigenous horse-riding discipline was provisionally accepted during an SAEF general meeting late last year, and he was certain the new association would be incorporated under the federation at its upcoming annual general meeting. – Sabrina Dean