29 AUGUST 2007 WALVIS BAY NAMIBIA
Namibia was once again the proud host of the African Endurance
Championship held in the harbour town of Namibia, Walvis Bay.
Namibia extended an invitation to Brazil and Australia to send
national teams to compete at this prestigious event and Namibia
supplied horses to the visiting teams. Brazil sent a Young rider
team and Australia sent a senior team. Three of the Brazilian team
members competed at the World Championship in Argentina in March
2007 and the well know Meg Wade was included in the Australian
JYR 120 km event participated Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and
Brazil. In the team competition of the senior event over 130km
competed Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and Australia.
weather forecast is always watched intensely before the event
because the early morning start in Walvis Bay can be greeted by a
sand storm, thick mist, devastating winds, or a perfect clear,
windless day. As if by prior arrangement, the morning of 29 August
was a perfect day which held until late afternoon when strong winds
blew the last riders home.
first loop was in darkness (but full moon), a loop of 31 km easy
going, flat surface to the salt pans. The second loop (29 km) was
along the shore line, a panoramic loop with brisk sea winds making
it a pleasant but deceiving experience. This leg is traditionally
known for causing metabolic problems due to the fact that the high
humidity does not make it easy for the horses to cool down.
third leg (30km) is through the desert, seemingly an easy leg but
the strong winds during the previous weeks caused many new, soft
dunes which tired the horses easily. The fourth leg (30km) was the
highly intimidating Dune 7. This dune was used in earlier years for
military training; this dune would make or break a soldier. It did
the same to horses. The senior riders had the last 10km loop along
was tough competition amongst the Juniors and a few who bargained on
a definite win. The leaders of the first three loops could not keep
the pace on the last loop, the dreadful dune 7. Experienced riders
knew that they should save their horses’ energy for dune 7 and make
sure that horses were not exhausted or marginally dehydrated before
attempting the “Everest” of the ride. Izolde von Schauroth,
captain of the Namibian team, departed for the last loop in sixth
place, 7 minutes behind the leading horse. Her horse, Akasha
Sansnasib, was in excellent condition when they mounted dune 7.
They made up a few minutes and were 4 minutes behind the leader when
they came down dune 7. Devon Bolleurs on Sebastiaan kept close to
Izolde and gave her stiff competition. Approaching the last water
point, 5 km from the finish line, Nicola Coetzee from SA was still
in the leading position and Izolde and Devon was in a safe second
and third place with the fourth horse being well out of sight.
Izolde von Scharoth finished in first place, 6 minutes ahead of
Devon Bolleurs (Namibia) in second place. Izolde had finished in
third place in 2004 and in second place in 2005 and it was a dream
come true to win this competition.
Izolde von Schauroth on Akasha Sansnasib 6:10:06
Devon Boleurs on Sebastiaan
Anna Wucher on Shaira SW
130km Standard Weight:
South African riders dominated the first three loops of the ride.
They stuck together as a team and were determining the pace. Fritz
Konjak on Image from Namibia stayed within a 500 metre range from
the leading group. On the fourth loop, after dune 7, he was the
first rider to depart from the water point. He managed to establish
a one minute lead. At the last water point of loop four Fritz,
Stefanus Pienaar and the 2006 winner, Frans Saubek, departed
together. Fritz again managed to obtain a one minute lead. He held
this lead until the end of the ride and finished in first place, one
minute ahead of the second place Stefanus Pienaar. In the mean
while Wanette Hanekom managed to catch up with Frans Saubek and she
finished in third place with Frans in fourth place. A newcomer to
the FEI arena was Paul Brand. It was his first time as member of
the Namibian team and he finished in a credible fifth place.
Fritz Konjak on Image 6:58:50
Stefanus Pienaar on Shaiks Fire 6:59:54
Wanette Hanekom on Thin Air 7:10:45
130km Heavy Weight:
was a first time that an official heavy weigh division was hosted.
The Namibians won the team competition and the individual
classification was as follows:
Marius Carstens 97kg on Armin’s Zulu 7:39:50
Piet van Rooyen 97 kg on Tsaar
Rudolf Oosthuizen 99kg on Danesca Ryneath 7:53:33