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Entries open for the Race the Wild Coast

In October 2017 Rockethorse will hold the second edition of Race the Wild Coast, a new breed of horse race. Riders, with a team of three horses, compete for victory over 350km of rugged paradise on the remote east coast of South Africa; navigating through the wilderness, swimming through rivers and keeping horses fit for vet checks.

This complex multi-stage format includes: dawn start and dusk cut-off, compulsory holds for tide-affected river crossings and timed releases to challenge the endurance of any horseback adventurer.

What is this all about? Let’s have a look at how it went last year.

The start was on 22 October 2016 on a beach just south of the Mtamvuna River, on South

Africa’s eastern seaboard. And 350km later the finish line was at Kei Mouth.

The route is without ground markings but follows a recommended track with alternative routes or a stage destination dependent on the terrain, and a GPS is provided to aid navigation.

The concept is the brainchild of the duo Joe Dawson and Barry Armitage who have been riding the Wild Coast regularly for the last six years.

It’s a race over twelve stages and the challenge for the competitors is to finish it in five days with the dates chosen for favourable tides to facilitate crossing the many rivers along the coast.

The allocation of the horses, provided by a South African stud, are done by the riders drawing their team of three horses out of a hat at the start camp, with two days to get familiar with their mounts and learning how to swim with them.

The riders will change horses at Port St Johns for the first time after 104km, and the second time after 86km at Hole in the Wall which means that the final stretch is 141km.

There are twelve vet checks, approximately every 40km, and obviously a rider may only continue without penalty if their horse passes the vet check.

Last year, by the morning of Day 3 the racing was getting serious with the leading riders leaving the overnight stop at Hluleka Nature Reserve before first light. A trio had managed to break away from the rest of the field, setting down a small lead. Sarah Cuthbertson (Canada), Monde Kanyana (South Africa) and Sam Jones (Australia) had established themselves as the main contenders for line honours. Louise Crosbie (Australia) was struggling to hang onto the back of this leading group and her third horse was eventually vetted out at The Haven vet check 87km from the finish.

On the penultimate stage with just 46km to go at the mouth of the Kei River, Sarah left the Kob Inn vet check with a 33-minute lead over Monde and Sam who had decided to wait for the farrier to re-shoe their horses, having each lost a front shoe.

The duo went into pursuit of the leader and caught her, and from then the trio remained a strung-out group for the remaining kilometres with Sam pushing the pace.

The finish was a beach gallop for the line at the mouth of the Great Kei River with Monde taking the honours, Sam a close second and Sarah resigning herself to third after a spirited ride.

What is on the agenda for this year?

It will be the same ride as the twelve riders, from seven countries, did last year from the eastern seaboard of South Africa, from Port Edward to Kei Mouth.

The schedule is from 24 until 31 October with the race briefing on the 24th.

Then the horses will be allocated and there is the opportunity to train for two days, meeting the backup team, kit and tack testing, and horse orientation which includes practicing swimming in the rivers and strategy discussions.

Because of the format of the race, real horsemanship skills are required. Riders must be experienced to ride long distances and competent in using GPS; first aid and navigating in this environment will both be critical.

Sarah Cuthbertson stated after the race: “The scenery is worth the trip itself, both the thrill of racing and the discovery when tackling the challenges in a race environment are totally different and worth it too! It’s amazing what you can do when you set your mind to it!”

Photo credit: Rockethorse Media

Website: http://rockethorseracing.co.za/


Race the Wild Coast Gallery

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Entries open for the Race the Wild Coast

In October 2017 Rockethorse will hold the second edition of Race the Wild Coast, a new breed of horse race. Riders, with a team of three horses, compete for victory over 350km of rugged paradise on the remote east coast of South Africa; navigating through the wilderness, swimming through rivers and keeping horses fit for vet checks.

This complex multi-stage format includes: dawn start and dusk cut-off, compulsory holds for tide-affected river crossings and timed releases to challenge the endurance of any horseback adventurer.

What is this all about? Let’s have a look at how it went last year.

The start was on 22 October 2016 on a beach just south of the Mtamvuna River, on South

Africa’s eastern seaboard. And 350km later the finish line was at Kei Mouth.

The route is without ground markings but follows a recommended track with alternative routes or a stage destination dependent on the terrain, and a GPS is provided to aid navigation.

The concept is the brainchild of the duo Joe Dawson and Barry Armitage who have been riding the Wild Coast regularly for the last six years.

It’s a race over twelve stages and the challenge for the competitors is to finish it in five days with the dates chosen for favourable tides to facilitate crossing the many rivers along the coast.

The allocation of the horses, provided by a South African stud, are done by the riders drawing their team of three horses out of a hat at the start camp, with two days to get familiar with their mounts and learning how to swim with them.

The riders will change horses at Port St Johns for the first time after 104km, and the second time after 86km at Hole in the Wall which means that the final stretch is 141km.

There are twelve vet checks, approximately every 40km, and obviously a rider may only continue without penalty if their horse passes the vet check.

Last year, by the morning of Day 3 the racing was getting serious with the leading riders leaving the overnight stop at Hluleka Nature Reserve before first light. A trio had managed to break away from the rest of the field, setting down a small lead. Sarah Cuthbertson (Canada), Monde Kanyana (South Africa) and Sam Jones (Australia) had established themselves as the main contenders for line honours. Louise Crosbie (Australia) was struggling to hang onto the back of this leading group and her third horse was eventually vetted out at The Haven vet check 87km from the finish.

On the penultimate stage with just 46km to go at the mouth of the Kei River, Sarah left the Kob Inn vet check with a 33-minute lead over Monde and Sam who had decided to wait for the farrier to re-shoe their horses, having each lost a front shoe.

The duo went into pursuit of the leader and caught her, and from then the trio remained a strung-out group for the remaining kilometres with Sam pushing the pace.

The finish was a beach gallop for the line at the mouth of the Great Kei River with Monde taking the honours, Sam a close second and Sarah resigning herself to third after a spirited ride.

What is on the agenda for this year?

It will be the same ride as the twelve riders, from seven countries, did last year from the eastern seaboard of South Africa, from Port Edward to Kei Mouth.

The schedule is from 24 until 31 October with the race briefing on the 24th.

Then the horses will be allocated and there is the opportunity to train for two days, meeting the backup team, kit and tack testing, and horse orientation which includes practicing swimming in the rivers and strategy discussions.

Because of the format of the race, real horsemanship skills are required. Riders must be experienced to ride long distances and competent in using GPS; first aid and navigating in this environment will both be critical.

Sarah Cuthbertson stated after the race: “The scenery is worth the trip itself, both the thrill of racing and the discovery when tackling the challenges in a race environment are totally different and worth it too! It’s amazing what you can do when you set your mind to it!”

Photo credit: Rockethorse Media

Website: http://rockethorseracing.co.za/


Race the Wild Coast Gallery

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