Top riders to saddle up in Bay

Pericles Anetos

SHOWJUMPERS from across the country are descending on Port Elizabeth for the Nissan World Cup Qualifier 2013, starting today at the Port Elizabeth Riding Club in Lorraine.

More than 100 riders and 168 horses will be participating in the second- last leg of the six-part South African qualifier series, with the Bay’s leg offering R155000 in prize money for the different classes of the equestrian competition.

The overall winner of the South African series will receive an invitation to participate in the final of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) World Cup series, as well as R60000.

Nissan World Cup Qualifier 2013 organiser and show director Tanja Radke said the competition had a strong influence on Port Elizabeth.

“It has opened the eyes of the Port Elizabeth public [to horse riding as a sport].

“It has created interest in a sport many people did not really know about before … The impact on tourism is really big. We have all these people from the other provinces and even overseas officials here.”

The competitors will be put through their paces on a course designed to international standards by Frédéric Cottier, of France, who is the head course designer for the World Equestrian Games in Normandy next year.

The World Cup Qualifier on Sunday will feature jumps at 1.5 metres and one jump at 1.6m. The action will start tomorrow for spectators.

On Saturday there will be a fun challenge for competing riders and horses, for the highest jump.

The Port Elizabeth Riding Club has hosted an FEI World Cup qualifier for the past seven years.

Radke said the competition had made great gains over the past three years, picking up major sponsors.

Entrance is free for spectators.

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