KZN Breeders Dressage Challenge Awards

The overall winner, Cayla van der Walt (centre) and her American TB Ticket To Paradise. Sally McGrath pictured left and Candiese Marnewick on the right. Image: Adi Weerheim

The KZN Breeders Dressage Challenge Awards took place at the Summerveld Training Centre Clubhouse, with forty riders and their families who took part in this year’s KZN Breeders Dressage Challenge in attendance – enjoying watching the racehorses work whilst sipping on Champagne and orange juice and having breakfast.

For many it was the first time at the Clubhouse and watching the racehorses work, makes the it all the more evident of how far their Thoroughbred dressage horses have advanced and the ability of the Thoroughbred to transform from one extreme sport to another – a sport requiring great precision, dedication and discipline.

The KZN Breeders first began sponsoring in 2014, this being the second year running has seen a greater increase in entries this year and even more riders and their OTTB’s (Off The Track Thoroughbreds) are signing up to participate in the Challenge next year, for which there are more exciting plans in to improve in progress.

Trainer Craig Eudey kindly provided some insight into what everybody was seeing on the track, explaining the routine and work of a racehorse each day and pointing out the various exceptional tracks and facilities Gold Circle has installed at Summerveld.

Sally McGrath handed out the Awards, and congratulations to the 1st placed Cayla van der Walt and her American Thoroughbred Ticket To Paradise, who have a special story to tell.

Cayla and her parents lived in Ohio and when they decided to relocate back to South Africa, they brought Ticket To Paradise (known as Elliot) back with them. It has certainly paid off, with Cayla and Ticket To Paradise making the KZN Junior Novice Dressage team, competing in SA Junior Champs in Johannesburg this December.

Adi Weerheim, who kindly doubled up as official photographer for the Awards ceremony received the Special Achievement Award on Bella’s Magic. She has had consistent performance throughout the year and also a member of the KZN Adult Novice Dressage Team who competed in Johannesburg earlier this year.

The highest scoring KZN-bred Thoroughbred went to last year’s winner, Golden-Acres bred Centennial and Heather Cochrane.


1st – Ticket to Paradise – Cayla van der Walt

2nd – African Drum Beat – Jennifer Smith (Owner Vanessa Gilks)

3rd – Bella’s Magic – Adi Weerheim

4th – Lagoon – Melissa Boulind

Special Achievement Award – Bella’s Magic and Adi Weerheim

Highest Scoring KZN-bred Thoroughbred – Centennial and Heather Cochrane

A hearty congratulations to all concerned and thank you to all who attended in the wet and misty weather, a big thank you to Adi Weerheim for the beautiful photos and to Sally McGrath for the organisation and management of the dressage side of the KZN Breeders Dressage Challenge!

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