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

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