That time I slayed in Jacques LaGrange Couture at the J&B Met earlier this year. Picture by Henk Kruger .
A lot of you know that I love a beautiful day at the races. It’s an opportunity to dress up, a chance to mingle with the who’s-who’s of South Africa while sipping on ice cold champagne and nibbling on good gourmet food…Oh! and now and again one will spot a horse or two racing on the plush grass.
Basically that sums up a horse racing event for most people. We have several must-attend horse racing events in the country. In Cape Town, my favourites include the L’Omarins Queens Plate, The J&B Met now refered to as The Met. And Durban has the Durban July. All mentioned events are attended by the South African elite crowd who dress up in designer clothes to pose and be photographed by both the media and the public.
As you know the horse racing industry is a multi-million rands business. The horses that get to compete are treated like gold, worth a lot of money and train like athletes. As a Lifestyle Features Writer for Independent Media I was fortunate enough to learn a lot about the process that goes into preparing a horse to race…from conception to the race track. It’s quite an interesting and lucrative industry that is small and still needs to do some ground work in getting young people to be interested enough to invest into it.
Enters myself and a handful of carefully selected influencers who have been chosen to be Brand Ambassadors for the sports racing brand “Racing it’s a Rush” in the Western Cape.
In a nutshell, “Racing it’s a Rush” promotes the glamorous and lifestyle side of the sport. The group of ambassadors include fashionistas and bloggers like myself, photographers…basically the cool kids of Cape Town you should know. I am very excited about being part of this as it’s a bigger opportunity of learning about all things horse racing while having fun as well. For the next months we will be visiting stud farms and attending horse racing related events so follow our journey as we explore what the industry has to offer…hopefully you will learn a few things as well in the process.
Power Team: Lauren Campbell, Lucian Albertyn, ME;-) and Sibu Mpanza. Picture by Chase Liebenberg.
For our first assignment we visited the beautiful Woodhill Racing Estate in Paarl. Here horses are schooled at approximately two years of age. Training includes breaking in, starting gates and getting the horse fit to race, as well as maintaining a race career strategy.
The horses were happy to pose for selfies and pics. Picture by Chase Liebenberg.
The highlight of the morning was watching Malan du Toit, a self-trained “horse whisperer” at work. His work with horses has earned him respect nationwide, and he is frequently called in to help troubled horses.
Using his rare talent, he teaches racing horses how to load and saddle up into the gates at the start of a race, and to respond to a rider’s instructions. This interaction is fascinating to watch.
Picture by Chase Liebenberg
Malan’s training steps include establishing a relationship of trust with a horse and getting the animal to accept him as its teacher. With gentle direction and training, he then goes about changing a horse’s problem trait until it is ready to race.
“The art is to train the horse gradually through the levels so that eventually it’s accepting the rider. We do the training over a period of a month or two, depending on the horse, as each horse is an individual like us human beings;
The longer the training, the better the horse becomes,” says Malan
With fellow ambassador Lee Fraser enjoying a cup of tea
Jade Robertson and I indulging in a selfie….how gorgeous!
Our journey continues.
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