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WCHS Brings South African Spectators



The World’s Championship Horse Show, which celebrated it’s 100th anniversary this year, attracted a group of industry members from South Africa for the competition. The group included Koos van den Berg, owner/exhibitor and president of the South African Saddle Horse Breeders Association and his wife Felicity van den Berg. Elra Tonkin, a professional trainer and horse show judge in South Africa made the trip along with amateur trainer Donald Smuts. Johan de Wet, a member of South Africa’s World Cup team and equitation rider was part of the group as well.

Junior Smith and his wife Nicolette breed, own and show Saddlebreds and were joined by Wim Bestel, Chris Jiljoen and Chris Botha. Bestal, Jiljoen and Botha all own, show and breed Saddlebreds in South Africa.

According to Tonkin “The Saddlebred industry in South Africa is much smaller than here in the United States. We have many different associations at home including the breeders association, judges association, stewards association, amateurs association, professional trainers association and Equestrian Saddle Seat Association of South Africa (ESSASA). We do things a little differently there but we are really committed to breeding top horses and expanding our industry. We are really happy to see so many good South African horses and young trainers making a name for themselves in the United States.

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