Cape Town - The world’s grittiest
horse race, Race the Wild Coast (RTWC), was won on Friday, October 25, 2019 when
Australian rider Emma Manthorpe crossed the finish line at Kei Mouth,
ahead of 13 other international competitors.
The dramatic multi-stage 350km
race, sponsored by KTC and supported by Jack Black Beer, was the third
iteration of the race, held on the Eastern Cape’s iconic, unspoilt Wild Coast.
It took place with entrants from as far afield as
the USA, Hungary, Australia, Switzerland, UAE, France, Ireland, South Africa
and the UK.
There were two riders from South Africa. Seven male and seven
female riders competed against one another.
According to race
organiser and co-founder Barry Armitage of Rockethorse Racing: “We congratulate
Emma - as well as all the participants - and recognise their grit, tenacity,
and exceptional horsemanship. The race is always gruelling, despite the fact
that the Wild Coast is a paradise of a location.”
RTWC kicked off in Port
Edward with riders navigating highly technical terrain that consisted of rocky
paths and cliff-tops, beaches, rivers and estuaries, and wild vegetation -
often in adverse weather conditions.
Entrants covered 80km a day and the race
took place over 12 stages. At the end of each stage, the horses were thoroughly
checked by Rockethorse Racing’s own vet team of five on-site vets working under
a head vet, and monitored by SPCA vets, to ensure that the animals remained in
top condition. The horses’ health is of the utmost concern, and riders are heavily
penalised if horses are overworked, which can have repercussions on the
The horses were all
sourced from local endurance stud Moolmanshoek, owned by Wiesman Nel. The
mounts included three types: pure bred Arabian horses for speed, Arabians
crossbred with local Boerperde for their hardiness and temperament, and pure
Boerperde suited to the tough conditions of the Wild Coast.
The terrain of the race
varies. It spans hard sand on beaches with outgoing tides; coastal hills cut by
ravines that often require leading the horses; tight forested tracks; and soft
sand where haste could result in tendon injuries. River swims are also part of
the race. Riders are forced to keep a steady pace while looking for the
quickest or best route, not knowing what obstacles may crop up next.
Long-distance horse racing
is a growing genre internationally, and South Africans are no strangers to the
sport. Armitage himself won the Mongol Derby in 2017. RTWC blends the spirit of
the frontiersman and the modern horseback adventurer - a test of endurance,
horsemanship, survival and navigational skills across an iconic wilderness -
and is making its mark as a global sporting classic.
also has a social conscience, and its nominated beneficiary is the Southern
Lodestar Foundation (SLF). SLF
is a registered NPO, based in Hilton, KwaZulu-Natal. Through projects that
focus on health, nutrition, physical activity and nutrition education, the
foundation’s goal is to support individuals to reach their full potential and
lead communities to do the same.
To find out more or enter the next RTWC visit http://rockethorseracing.co.za/.