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Tony’s team saddle up

By Mark Etheridge

A team of our top equestrians will be in action at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky (US) from 25 September to 10 October.

A total of 58 countries submitted entrants for the prestigious event where eight world championship events will be contested.

The nominated entries list includes more than 900 athletes and more than 1,300 horses. Four nations are currently scheduled to field athletes for all eight disciplinesÔÇöAustralia, Canada, Germany and the United States. Additionally, 19 nations have submitted teams or individual competitors in five or more disciplines.

The Games are held every four years, and this will be the first hosting in the United States. Explained Chef de Mission, Tony Lewis. ‘The games are staged every four years between the Summer Olympics and these are effectively the equestrian Olympics. It’s extremely important event, the main qualifying means to get to London, 2012.

‘We’ll be represented in six of the eight event, the only competition we don’t have representation is in the dressage and driving divisions. Only a limited number of teams are allowed to participate at the London Olympics, about 30 nations, so these games are a huge issue for us.’

In terms of possible medals Lewis rates endurance rider Lanie van Gerve, para-equestrian Philippa Johnson who got two golds at the last Paralympics and showjumper Oliver Lazarus.

Logistically it’s a huge challenge. ‘Our horses taking part spent 60 days in quarantine in Cape Town and then another three months in Europe. Then there’s a huge movement of horses, more than 600 in all, from around the world to get to Kentucky for the competition,’ said Lewis.

The full South African equestrian squad
: Anthony Lewis — Chef de Mission, Dr Sheelagh Higgerty — Veterinary Official, Dr Mike Ross — Veterinary Official, Dr J W Eksteen — Veterinary Official

Sakkie van Niekerk — Chef d’Equipe, Lani van Gerve, Dominique van Zyl, Eone Willemse

Peter Thomas — Chef d’Equipe, Jean Philippe Camboulives — Trainer, Paul Hart, Martyn Swanepoel, Douglas Welsh, Graham Winn, Heidi Wood
Anne Marie Esslinger — Chef d’Equipe, Alexandra Carter, Cara Frew, Oliver Lazarus, Johan Lotter, Charles Luyckx

Para Dressage
Sharon Boyce — Chef d’Equipe, Anthony Dawson, Philippa Johnson, Cathy Lloyd, Marion Milne, Wendy Moller

Shane Borland

Danielle Pienaar — Chef d’Equipe, Team: Barbie Gertenbach — Trainer. Melanie Harcourt Cooke, Chelsey Gertenbach, Jasyn Gertenbach, Kayla Gertenbach, Bongani Mabandla, Hannah Newman, Zahne Pienaar

Individual Female
Kelsey Jo Baumann, Alexa Stais

Individual Male
Sebastian Andrews, Bongani Mvumvu, Kegan Smith

Dylan Jones — Reserve Individual
Khensani Maluleke — Reserve Team