South Africa premieres twice

A “black pearl” has paved the way. When Chere Burger entered the dressage arena at Ornano Stadium in Caen the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 celebrated two premieres at once: Burger’s horse Adelprag Anders is the first Friesian horse to compete at world championship level, and for the first time South Africa is represented by a team.

South Africa premieres twice
© PSV Photos

Burger and Adelprag Anders are keeping a long distance relationship. The rider is based in South Africa, working as a head coach at a stud with some 80 horses, mostly Frisians and crossbreds. The horse is based in Holland with Imke Schellekens-Bartels. Burger travels from South Africa to train and compete with him in Europe. “It has been a tough road for us to come here but it was worth it”, said Burger after scoring 64.929 percent with the 14-year-old black stallion.

They are a team since two years. In March 2013 they had their first international competition. Burger has started out as a jumping rider and developed a taste for dressage in 2007 when she first came in contact with Friesian horses. Four years in a row she has been South African dressage champion.

The other three team members are based in Europe. Nicole Smith (23) and Tanya Seymour (31) both are in Germany, one training with Hubertus Schmidt the other with Jonny Hilberath, whereas Denise Hallion (44) lives in England. When in South Africa, Burger has to do without a trainer. “We all do our own thing. Everybody else is just too far away.”

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