What is vaulting?
Vaulting is an equestrian sport, easily described as gymnastics performed on a moving horse going on a circle, in full harmony. At the beginning vaulting is a team sport, later on individual.
A competition vaulting team is composed of six vaulters and one alternate vaulter, one longeur and one horse. The horse canters on the left hand around a circle of a minimum diameter of 15 m. At individual vaulting the vaulter, the longeur and the horse are one unit.
Both the individuals and the team vaulters have to show two tests: the compulsory test and the free style. Those individual vaulters who manage to achieve the second round of a tournament have to show additional the technical test and a second free style.
At Championships (World or Continental) separate competitions for men only and for women only must be organised. In the team vaulting competition, male and female vaulters may compete together. In 1983, vaulting became one of the equestrian disciplines recognised by the FEI. The first European Championships took place 1984 in Ebreichsdorf, Austria and the first World Championships 1986 in Bulle, Switzerland.
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2006: 1st FEI Africa Cup - Swaziland
While the Inter-Africa Cup show-jumping competition has been running for some years, vaulting was contested for the first time in 2006. Both disciplines were hosted by the Swazi-Lizkhar Warmblood Stud near Izulwini. Swaziland and South Africa competed in the vaulting, which was narrowly won by South Africa.
The vaulting was run at E-grade, and competitors and spectators alike enjoyed a relaxed competition with a friendly atmosphere ó in fact, the two teams had the same coach (Agata Pekala from Riba) and shared the same horse (Riba’s Boet).
2007: 2nd FEI Africa Cup - South Africa
The second Inter-Africa Vaulting Challenge took place in the Lipizzaner Hall in Kyalami on the 9th and 9th of April. This event, started last year as a development project by Barbie Gertenbach from Kyalami and Kate Taman from Swaziland, has grown in just a year from three to eight teams, and from two to four countries.
2007: European Champs - Kaposvar, Hungary
2007: Austria V
2008: 3rd FEI Africa Cup - South Africa
The third Inter-Africa Vaulting Cup took place from the 22nd to the 24th of March in the Lipizzaner Hall at Kyalami Equestrian Park. For three days, the Lipizzaner Hall was transformed into an international vaulting venue, with flags, bunting, plants, and a beautiful competition arena in front of the grandstands and a screened-off practice arena at the back of the hall.
Seven South African teams from four vaulting clubs and eleven teams from Mauritius (2), Zambia (3), Malawi (3) and Swaziland (3) competed in the E-grade competition. This year D-grade was offered for the first time in the Inter-Africa Cup, and this was contested by four South African teams from three clubs and a team from Swaziland. Eight of the teams were development teams ó teams made up primarily of vaulters from disadvantaged backgrounds, who are heavily dependent on sponsorship and aid and for whom vaulting is an unprecedented opportunity.
Karen McGowan, Malawiís National Vaulting Representative, brought two teams of young vaulters mostly recruited from farms in rural Malawi. Many of these children had never been in a car before, let alone a plane; for some this was also a first experience of hot baths and proper beds. Karen said, ëThey had the time of their lives Ö we brought the vaulters as an experiment! Of course, most of our vaulters are underprivileged: they have no exposure to television, theyíve never seen sports like dancing or gymnastics. They loved it ñ weíre all over the moon.í Last year, Karen imported a horse suitable for vaulting from South Africa, and has been coaching her teams without a resident international coach ó she has hosted clinics with Agata Pekala and a visiting German coach ó and she is to be congratulated on her teamsí achievements. Most of her vaulters speak only Chichewa, so she also has to serve as translator during clinics, and during the training hosted at Riba Stables immediately before the Inter-Africa Cup. In the E-grade event, Karenís teams came 4th and 9th and the Michiru Club team, also from Malawi, came 7th.
Mauritius also has no resident international coach; Barbie and Jasyn Gertenbach ran intensive clinics there earlier this year, and Jasyn coached their teams in the run-up to Inter-Africa Cup. They fielded two very strong teams which included some very supple and talented vaulters. Congratulations to Celine Bourgault, Claire de Ravel, Victoria Seesha, and Nicolas Desvaux, the members of Mauritius 1, the winning E-grade team. Congratulations also go to Yoanna Seesha from Mauritius 2 (which came 6th in the E-grade): she was the only vaulter anyone had ever seen perform a head-stand on a horse!
Like Malawi, Zambia entered Inter-Africa Cup for the first time this year, and achieved excellent results in the E-grade competition: 2nd, 8th and 11th places. Silke Jens from Germany has been coaching there for two months, and Agata Pekala from Poland has also run some clinics. Silke says that some of her vaulters are really talented and very enthusiastic; they are looking for a canter horse and are determined to go far.
Swaziland, like South Africa, has been involved with the Inter-Africa Vaulting Cup from the start, when Kate Taman of the Swazi-Lizkhar Stud was one of the enthusiasts who got the event going. Ilka Kempes, from one of the top German vaulting teams, has been coaching in Swaziland since the beginning of the year. The Swazi teams, sponsored by MTN, were placed 5th, 17th and 18th in the E-grade competition and 4th in the D-grade event. MTN Swaziland (D) was the highest-placed development team.
South Africa fielded teams from four clubs: River Park, Riba, Willows and Enos Mofokateís Soweto Riding Club. Enos says that, after over 20 years of trying to make it possible for disadvantaged riders to compete internationally in show-jumping, he has realised that vaulting is the discipline with the most potential for development. He says, ëInvolvement in a sport, especially one that includes a chance of representing oneís country, can give these kids an interest that enables them to break free from the disadvantages of their backgrounds.í In the E-grade event, SA River Park came 3rd, SA Soweto 10th, and South African teams also took 12th to 16th places. The D-grade event was won by SA Riba 2: congratulations to Nicole Masson, Kelsey-Jo Baumann, and Julia Pitchford. SA River Park came 2nd, SA Riba 2 came 3rd and SA Soweto was 5th.
Inter-Africa Vaulting Cup 2008 was a huge success and the visiting teams all said how much they had enjoyed the experience. The atmosphere and spirit were amazing: everybody was involved and teams shared horses and coaches, fun and games, meals and chores. Mikkel Vandrup from Denmark, who is coaching at Riba, says that it was an amazing experience to see all the teams helping each other and that he will be glad to be able to boast that he was part of Inter-Africa Cup 2008. Although Mikkel helped with most of the teams, the Soweto teams were his special charge, and their performances did him proud. There were also some (happy) tears shed ó amongst the spectators during the opening ceremony, and the day after the show saw tears and many gifts of carrots as young vaulters had to say goodbye to borrowed horses that they had worked with prior to and during the show.
A show succeeds only because of the efforts of many people. Thanks are due to all the officials who served through the three days of the show, and especially to the judges ó Silke Ceruti and Shelley Paveley. Heartfelt thanks go to Janet Pitchford, Warren Hunter, Ina de Vry, Jakes Gertenbach, Cheryl Theron and Ingrid Masson, all of whom provided help in ways too numerous to mention. Thanks also go to a number of our young international vaulters, who gave a lot back to their sport and worked very hard to make the show a success. Jasyn and Chelsey Gertenbach, Bongani Mabandla and Kenhardt de Vry helped with everything from coaching and lungeing to operating the music for the show to heavy lifting, tidying up, picking up rubbish left by spectators, and all the little things that have to happen in the background.
Generous sponsorship enabled Barbie Gertenbach and her team to decorate the arena attractively, and to award trophies and ensure that every vaulter received a rosette, snacks and Easter eggs, and mementoes such as T-shirts. Thank-you to Twinings Tea, Silke Ceruti, Equipage, Haulcon, Multotec Pty Ltd, First Choice Financial Services, Oryx Logistics, Vrijehof Stud, Divine Sales, Herbal Life and Blue Hills Nursery. A special acknowledgement must be made of the FÈdÈration Equestre Internationale, which provided funding to help development teams with their costs.
2009: 4th FEI Africa Cup - Swaziland
The fourth Inter-Africa Vaulting Cup took place in Swaziland, returning to the Emerald Kingdom after two years in South Africa.75 vaulters (from 21 teams and a number of individual entries) from five countries ó Malawi (four vaulters), Mauritius (eleven vaulters), South Africa (42 vaulters), Swaziland (thirteen vaulters) and Zambia (five vaulters) ó entered this year. Nine horses were used: the two from Swaziland and five from Riba in South Africa were also made available to the visitors from Zambia, Malawi and Mauritius.
The show ran from Friday 21 to Saturday 22 August, hosted at Kate Tamanís beautiful and unique Swazil-Lizkhar Stud. The venue, accommodation, scenery and organisation were all superb. Swazi-Lizkhar is surrounded by emerald bush with a backdrop of amethyst mountains. Warthog, and buck stroll through the paddocks (to the consternation of the visiting horses) and hippo and crocodile infest the river. Australian RenÈe Collisson, who has been coaching in Swaziland for some months, ran the entire event with her small team of assistants: and her organisation was outstanding.
The judging was done by Barbie Gertenbach, Hilde Ocenasek, Helen Anderson and Kim de Villiers, all from South Africa, and the scoring was efficiently done by Yolanda Odendaal from Swaziland. Mary Binks (Chairman of Group IX) from Kenya attended the event and encouraged everyone from organisers to coaches to vaulters by her enthusiasm
Jacqueline Braissant of the FEI and the FEI itself must also be mentioned with gratitude: without their vision and continued support the Inter-Africa Vaulting Cup would never have begun, and never have grown so fast.<br>
Most of the vaulters from Malawi, Swaziland and Soweto (in South Africa) are development vaulters, who would be unlikely to have got so far in so little time in any other equestrian discipline.
Three grades were offered, E-grade to C-grade, with classes for individuals and for teams. The D-grade team event was won by Riba (South Africa) and the E-grade team event was won by Mauritius. The C-grade individual event was won overall by 13-year-old Joelle Lismont of South Africa, who had the highest score across all the age categories. The D-grade individual winner was nine-year-old Hannah Newman (SA), and the E-grade individual winner was twelve-year-old Tawina Nixon (Malawi).
The atmosphere was welcoming and pleasant, which is part of the tradition of the Inter-Africa Cup. The fact that everyone was accommodated in the same place added greatly to the cameraderie. Many of the vaulters have met before and are good friends, and many of the visiting vaulters have favourites among the South African and Swazi horses, and all the South African and Malawian vaulters joined happily together in preparing all the Riba horses for the show.
1 Mauritius; 2 Swaziland; 3 Soweto SA; 4 Zambia; 5 Malawi
E GRADE – TEAM
1st Mauritius; 2nd RSA Riba 1; 3rd Malawi; 4th Swaziland 2; 5th Zambia
D GRADE – TEAM
1st RSA Riba 1; 2nd Mauritius 1; 3rd Swaziland 1
C GRADE – TEAM
1st RSA Riba E GRADE UND
UNDER 10 INDIVIDUAL
1st Kate McGowan (Mal); 2nd Paballo Masilo (RSA); 3rd Zwakile Dlamini (Swa
1st Tando Mnguni (RSA); 2nd Mthandeni Nhlapo (RSA); 3rd Jabu Tshabalala
1st Tawina Nixon (Mal); 2nd Savannah Thomson (RSA)
UNDER 10 INDIVIDUAL
1st Hannah Newman (RSA); 2nd Melanie Harcourt-Cooke (RSA); 3rd Yoanna Seesaha (Mau)
1st Tessa Hardy (Mau); 2nd Lambert Leclezio (Mau); 3rd Natasha Piprek (RSA)
1st ZahnÈ Pienaar (RSA); 2nd Jesicca Grimm (RSA); 3rd Victor Pike (RSA)
1st Joelle Lismont (RSA); 2nd Julia Pitchford (RSA); 3rd Nicole Masson (RSA); 3rd Danika Atchia
2011: 5th FEI Africa Cup - Mauritius
2012: 6th FEI Africa Cup - South Africa
0n 16-17 June 2012 the Soweto Equestrian Foundation hosted the 6th FEI Group IX Africa Vaulting Cup at Hollyberry Hall, a stunning new indoor venue in Maple Road, Kyalami kindly loaned by Johan and Tessa Roodt. Eighty-two young athletes from three Group IX countries (South Africa (57 vaulters), Mauritius (12 vaulters), and Zambia (13 vaulters) competed over two days, as individuals and in teams representing their countries.
There were 10 C-grade entries (including 2 teams – one International and one from South Africa), 26 D-grade entries (including 6 teams – Mauritius, Zambia A & B, South Africa A & B and an International team), and 46 E-grade entries (including 13 teams – Zambia A & B, South Africa (KZN), South Africa (WP), South Africa (Gauteng 7 teams), Mauritius, and an International team). 9 pairs entered the walk pas de deux class: this was the first time a pas de deux class was offered. Host country South Africa won the three team categories and Mauritius won the pas de deux class. Swiss International judge Anna Kull judged the competition and gave two excellent, well attended seminars for the vaulters, judges and coaches. Everyone was very grateful for her input!
South African International vaulter, Jasyn Gertenbach spent the last two months coaching in Zambia, helping them to prepare for the event and his vaulters did him proud by winning the under-10 D-grade competition, having 6 well placed vaulters in the under-14 D-grade event and second and fourth places in the pas de deux event.
Polish vaulter Amelia Ogonowska has been coaching vaulting in Mauritius for most of the last year, and her influence was visible, especially in the pas de deux. Mauritius has done very well, considering that they are desperately short of suitable horses.
In South Africa, although there is good coaching in Gauteng, the other provinces do not always enjoy long-term international coaching, and Noordhoek (in the Western Cape) has no resident coach at all. In the past year Italian, Sara Stopazzini and German, Krisitina Boe visited South Africa to run clinics in
Western Province, Pretoria and Midrand. The coaches for the FEI Group IX Africa Vaulting Cup were Nicole de Villiers, Amelia Ogonowska, Jasyn Gertenbach, Bongani Mabandla and Barbie Gertenbach.
For many vaulters in Africa, the FEI Group IX Africa Vaulting Cup is the highlight of the vaulting calendar, and the atmosphere was very enthusiastic, and competitive. Vaulters enjoyed an opening ceremony, nations evening, and a closing prize-giving dinner. Feedback since has been exceptionally positive. Unfortunately, the limiting factors that meant we had only two visiting countries, were lack of funds in other countries, as well as lack of horses and limited access to coaching.
The organisers of the event would like to express their gratitude to the sponsors; Avis, Biotech, Equipage Insurance, Equus, FEI, HQ Magazine, Kuda Insurance, Midfeeds, Mike’s Kitchen, Super Rock Drills, TB Images, The Soweto Equestrian Foundation and Western Shoppe. Without their help such a fabulous competition would not have been possible!
2013: 7th FEI Africa Cup - South Africa
The 7th Inter-Africa Vaulting Cup took place in South Africa. Content to follow.
2013: Vaulting - Zimbabwe
2013: Vaulting - Lusaka
2013: Vaulting - Geel, Belgium
2013: Vaulting - La Louisa, Mauritius