The atmosphere was filled with excitement and jubilation at the Uplands Spring Groove Festival held at Uplands Equestrian Centre this past weekend, as equestrians travelled from Limpopo, Nelspruit and surrounds to attend the Spring celebrations. Dressage riders and their horses danced in harmony for the well-travelled and highly-experienced judge, Gregory Goss, who was extremely impressed with the quality of horses and standard of riding at this event, from the young riders to the more experienced adults competing in the higher levels. Riders also had the opportunity to participate in a feedback session with the judge, where he would suggest small technical changes to enhance the quality of riding and movements to improve their marks in future dressage events.
Horses and riders had to put their Showjumping skills to the test on Sunday. Local and upcoming professional course builder, Shan Paton, designed and built the showjumping courses so that young horses and riders had the opportunity to build confidence within the show arena, as well as testing the more experienced riders and horses with challenging turns and angles in preparation for the Maple Ridge Youth Show Jumping Festival coming up at the end of September. The show directors of the event, Carla Gerdes-Steward and Jessé Rankin were extremely excited about the number of entries received for the event and more so about the quality of riding seen in both the dressage classes as well as the showjumping classes. Special mention was made of the Uplands College pupils who are successfully competing at the higher levels and of how proud they are to have riders of such calibre competing under the Uplands school name.
While cheering the riders on from the sidelines, supporters and riders had the opportunity to explore the shopping village which surrounded the arenas. From stalls selling delicious boerewors rolls, sweet treats and ice-cold drinks to every rider’s dream tack and pet accessory shop, as well as incredible art and sculpture displays by local artists, all this definitely contributed to the incredible atmosphere felt throughout the weekend.
A special and heartfelt thank-you is extended to the incredible sponsors who continuously support the equestrian events at Uplands. From the plants used to decorate the arenas and jumps to the prizes and stunning rosettes allocated to riders as part of their winnings – these events would not be possible without their support.
Carla Gerdes-Steward (Uplands Equestrian Centre Manager)
Photos credit: Jessica Whyte (Uplands College Grade 12 pupil)