Thursday 24 May 2018, a cool and crisp morning saw over 100 horses set off for the much anticipated Kynoch Chinhoyi Derby. This Derby is steeped in history and is the second oldest in the world! Riders from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya and the DRC all met in the lush arena that afternoon to receive generous rider packs. Horses were offloaded into stables, grooms chatted happily and set up their tents, whilst the riders discussed the weekend’s lineup and noshed on the delicious macadamia nuts kindly donated by the Johnsen family. The jumps had been erected and the arena looked world class, all set about with sponsors’ flags and banners. Later we congregated at the Rouse’s beautiful dam for sundowners and the proverbial braai.
On Friday, we were all set up for an early start, with horses and riders being put to the test! Ryan Sander built outstanding tracks, sending us over the banks, drops and the dyke, as well as interesting combinations and turns.
Spectators witnessed the thrills and spills of showjumping. Later, we were treated to an evening at the Chinhoyi Country Club where it felt just like the good old days- a smoky pub, lots of Zimbo banter and kids running riot outside. We all went to bed warm and happy, having eaten a delicious curry, cooked by the lovely local communities ladies.
Saturday was another eventful day and the top horses and riders got to try the infamous derby bank and the water jump! Again we were privileged to ride challenging tracks. After a long day, people settled into the pub behind the grandstand for an awesome “jump up” with Gary Stanley behind the mic. Riders “flicked a hoof” on the dance floor, joined by some of the Chinhoyi community. Again, we were all fed and watered incredibly well by the locals. We also really appreciated the huge effort that had gone into providing us all with fantastic facilities such as the bar area and ablutions, as well as hot showers! Sunday morning and Derby Day. This is what we had all come for – the pony riders entertained spectators with speedy jump offs and beautifully turned out ponies. The Tilgrow
Enterprises Pony Riders Derby was won by Amy Hay on Toy Story.
Everyone had a turn to jump their championship rounds and those lucky enough to win, received awesome prizes. We then moved on to the Micro and Mini Derbies, which were phenomenal. The crowd cheered as riders and horses jumped their hearts out. Camilla Morris and Echo Burning won the IPF Micro Derby and Brianagh Clark and Smoulder won the Blue Sky Mini Derby. Our
hardworking grooms were also recognised with prizes for best turned out horses generously donated by Metro Peech, and the traditional bicycle prize going to Maxwell Wakarinda as the winning groom.
The Derby horses were paraded for the crowd, led on lead rein, and ridden by tiny tots, pupils from Lomagundi College and the grooms. Prayers were said for these special animals, and
despite the somewhat miserable winter weather, the main event, sponsored by KYNOCH, started. It was so exciting, with seven horses and riders taking part. The winner was Judy Riddle on Bitumen World’s Always Aquila. Huge congratulations to this pair on their superb win.
All in all, the 54th Chinhoyi Derby was truly what memories are made of: good Zimbabwean hospitality, a community pulling together, and of course, our very generous sponsors. Thanks must go to all those people involved – the committee, the the judges, the timekeepers, course
builders and arena parties. Without you we wouldn’t have had a show! Heartfelt thanks from all of the riders and their families and friends.