A big, black horse turned many heads on the first day of the dressage competition at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, with Friesian stallion Adelprag Anders making the breed’s debut at World Championship level.
Ridden by South African team member Chere Burger, the 14-year-old stallion finished the first day in 38th place. It is also the first time the country has sent a dressage team to a WEG.
Burger and Adelprag Anders have somewhat of a long distance relationship. The rider is based in South Africa, working as a head coach at a stud with some 80 horses, mostly Frisians and crossbreds. Adelprag Anders is based in The Netherlands with Imke Schellekens-Bartels, and Burger travels from South Africa to train and compete with him in Europe.
“It has been a tough road for us to come here but it was worth it”, said Burger after scoring 64.929 percent with the stallion.
They have been together for two years. In March 2013 they had their first international competition. Burger started out as a jumping rider and developed a taste for dressage in 2007 when she first came in contact with Friesian horses. For the past four years she has been South African dressage champion.
South Africa’s other three team members are based in Europe. Nicole Smith, 23, and Tanya Seymour, 31, are both in Germany, one training with Hubertus Schmidt the other with Jonny Hilberath, whereas Denise Hallion, 44, lives in England.
When in South Africa, Burger has to do without a trainer. “We all do our own thing. Everybody else is just too far away.”