Azuluna Zimbabwe – April 2017 – Report Back

Congratulations to both of the South Africa teams, winners of the first leg of the 2017 FEI CIC* Africa Cup and Africa Shield at Azuluna, Zimbabwe.

After strong dressage performances, both SA teams held small leads ahead of Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia with Douglas Welsh putting in a fantastic test on Forecastle to take what would end up being an unassailable lead in the CIC* competition.

Both the 80cm and 1* cross country tracks were incredibly challenging and posed plenty of difficult questions. There were very few clear rounds with Kristine Ford in the Shield being only 1 of 3 riders to go clear and in the time on the 80 track and Douglas Welsh being 1 of 3 to go clear in the Cup competition. Team SA did fantastically to get all of the combinations home and set up a final round of showjumping on Sunday.

In the Shield, Kristine Ford and Sydney Yorke-Hart jumped clear to finish very close 2nd& 3rd in the overall rankings and along with Bianca Lee-Grossett and Tanya Gabel (who did fantastically on a borrowed horse), secure the win for Team SA.

Thanks to the excellent performances in the country, Team SA held a solid lead going in to the showjumping so all eyes were on who would pick up the individual prize. Andy Norbury went clear to cap off a great weekend for him and Saint Domingo and then Heidi Caine jumped clear on Kilbrannan Sound to pile the pressure on; leaving Douglas just one pole in hand. Just to add to the drama Douglas knocked one pole with just 3 jumps to go but maintained his composure and brought Forecastle home for a richly deserved victory. Team SA maintained their 100% record by winning the FEI Africa Cup.

A huge thanks must go to all of the support team; the grooms who did a fantastic job looking after the horses, Roxy Ellis for transporting the horses safely, our Chef d’Equipe’s Julie Welsh and Mike Marsden, Sean Bruss and Pops for putting the teams up and keeping us ‘hydrated’ and all of the team at Azuluna for an incredible show; Andy and Tina Lowe have created a stunning venue on which Camilla Morris built a world class track. The sponsors, volunteers and officials made it an incredible event and we all look forward to returning in 2018!

The teams:
Africa Cup
Douglas Welsh – Forecastle
Heidi Caine – Kilbrannan Sound
Andy Norbury – Saint Domingo

Africa Shield
Kristine Ford – Rivervales Beat the Clock
Sydney Yorke-Hart – Zeplins Kashmir
Bianca Lee-Grossett – B’s Charisma
Tanya Gabel – Eclipse of the Heart