As a team member of the World Equestrian Games in Aachen. It was a great privilege to finish as part of a team and end 9th out of 43 countries. We were also the only country finishing as a team on hired horses. A big thanks to Moolmanshoek Sweep that I qualified on. And Leon to make it possible for me to go.
New Zealand - April 2007
There was a full sponsorship to compete in New Zealand and our Aachen team was re- elected to attend the Horse of the Year 100km ride. We arrived at four o’clock in the afternoon just in time for the last part of the briefing and did a course inspection until late afternoon. Makahiwi Charleville was a 14.3 hand English bred Arabian mare with a personality that I immediately took interest in. We were eliminated after 60km and it appeared to be a sheared heel. Leon’s friends and also the owners of the Makahiwi stud invited us to stay a bit longer. We were overwhelmed by the New Zealand hospitality and Leon had so much interest in his saddles that he started an agency for his saddles. We decided to do the National 100miler championships that was in three weeks time and the only horse available was Charleville. She hadn’t done a ride longer than 80km and this was a 160km. Of all I heard was that New Zealand did not have flat or even slightly flat or undulating rides. I walked her for two and a half weeks in the mountains everyday and finished the 100miler in a scary time of 15:32:56. My claim to fame was that on the last leg she re- checked with a pulse of 32 and on the last loop, picked up her head, pitched her ears, collected her gate, stopped tripping over her feet and finished as a old trained and balanced endurance horse. She was such a magnificent companion. Thanks to Struin Duncan and his family that entrusted their young mare to me. To Teresa and Peter for an unforgettable time spent.
160km de Florac - France 2007
For Aachen we hired horses from Stephane Chasel and it was his mare Iris de Saint Agne that I rode. He invited me to France to do the Florac 100miler ride in France which is one of the toughest in the world. My friend and team mate in Aachen Gillese de Villiers set of to France the 26th of June 2007. We landed at Charles de Gaul airport at about ten o’clock at night, got our rented car, visited the Eiffel tower and ended up… eventually on the main road taking us to Florac 500km south. The French have huge horses and I was convinced that their horses were thoroughbreds. Izar de L’ardus was between 15 and 16 hands and pure Arabian. We attended the ride briefing looking like total idiots because everything was in France. The next moment we were called forward to receive our riding numbers, even our names sounded unfamiliar. The Florac ride was one of my most unforgettable endurance experiences. We finished the 100miler in a time of 14:13:59 on Saturday afternoon. Set back to Paris on Sunday morning, caught the flight Sunday evening, landed in Johannesburg on Monday morning, took the domestic flight to Bloemfontein, weighed in for Fauresmith 201km over three days Monday evening and mounted Sweep Tuesday morning for the three day event. I finished Fauresmith. They call this GLOBAL TROTTING!!!!
THE MASTER ARGHITECT OF TRAILRIDER SADDLES PERFORMES ON THE ENDURANCE SCENE
Leon’s passion for riding came to a turning point when he lost 50kg and started doing endurance passionately. In May 2008 the first tri- nations event was held at Hofmeyr over a 130km and Leon and his horse Moolmanshoek Roes were in the National Heavy Weight Team. Roes had a good reference as he finished overall third at Christiana with Leon and has never been eliminated in his almost 2000km. Now Leon was running for the National team and Roes was in good shape. Leon’s excellent horsemanship was rewarded with an astounding 3rd place that also guaranteed him his National colours. Leon then entered for the Fauresmith 201km over three day’s a completely different ride with Van Duyn a very difficult horse that only Leon could master and got a well deserved 4th place in the heavy weight division and also captained his provincial team mates to a well deserved placing.. Leon with his outstanding performances in these rides secured his place as part of the National Heavy Weight Team in the tri - nations event in Namibia Walvis bay with Moolmanshoek Roes. He also captained this team and finished 7th. A month and a half later Leon crowned it all to do the Botswana 125km and came overall second with the best recoveries for the day. Him weighing in at 89kg and the winner a 75kg. All of these long distance FEI rides placed him as number one rider and horse combination on the world rankings. In one year Leon re- confirmed his valuable input and understanding of this equine sport- from master saddle maker and designer, endurance trainer, natural horse master to National acclaimed endurance rider. Well done!!!
H.H SH Nasser Bin Hamad al Khalifa Endurance cup for ladies 120km - Bahrain
This ride was in February 2009 and me and my daughter was invited by the Sheik of Bahrain. It was a ladies ride and such a pleasure to experience their hospitality. Lindi came 5th on the horse Maraka and I finished on River Dance in the 6th place.
H.H The King’s Cup Endurance ride Championship for seniors - March 2009
I was fortunate to be invited again and attended the King’s cup where all the countries of the East compete against each other. I for the first time finished 10th on Waterlea Oliver in 19.1 km/h. I was also the first European to finish the ride. Thanks to Sheik Daij from Bahrain who invited us again, this was an incredible opportunity.
I will be retiring from competitive endurance riding and will only ride young horses allocated to me Moolmanshoek sweep and Moya has retired to their place of birth. Leon is in partnership with the famed Moolmanshoek Endurance Horses and the stud consists of a 200 horses. These horses are family or partly family of the Champions Moya, Pula, Sweep and Roes. Leon has once again gone the extra mile and did a research on what bloodlines give you the bigger average of endurance winners and introduced these hand selected stallions to the precious motherliness. For the bigger story visit us on moolmanshoekhorses.com.