We caught up with Kelly Searle a talented 3 * event rider and open show jumper. She tells us about her top horse and her experience riding for British Olympic Show Jumper, Tim Stockdale.
CV: What made you choose eventing?
KS: I grew up on a farm in George, Western Cape. The George Riding Club has really nice eventing courses and that’s pretty much how I started. I love the fact that it’s a triathlon type of sport that tests the horse and rider in three phases. It’s also a lot of fun and a massive adrenaline rush galloping over the big x -country fences.
CV: Tell us about your top horse, Equi-Feeds Ultra Montani Ganesh
KS: I got Ganesh as a 5 year old unbacked and newly gelded horse. He has 3 or 4 babies running around that I know of. He has a very strong and stubborn personality, and doesn’t like working too hard. I have to take a jug of food to catch him in the paddock otherwise he runs away from me, but he is a big softy at heart as long as you’re not holding clippers.
CV: What is his breeding?
KS: He is Namibian Warmblood, bred at the Onduno Stud and born at the Ultra Montani Stud. He is out of a Wendisi mare called Genta. We do not know who his sire is as there was a fire at the stud, all the mares and stallions were put together in one paddock during the fire.
CV: Do you do anything specific to keep Ganesh in top condition?
KS: All my horses are fed Equi-Feeds which keeps them in really good condition and feeling amazing. Ganesh is on a permanent diet and does a lot of core work as he very easily gets a ‘pregnant mare’ looking belly. A good supplement like GCS-MAX also keeps him in top condition as well as his favourite Woolworths carrots – much to my boyfriend’s dismay.
CV:Tell us about your “day job”
KS: I currently live half the year in Northampton, UK and half in Cape Town as my boyfriend, Richard is a professional cricketer and plays county cricket in the UK during South African winter. While I’m in Cape Town I do a bit of coaching as well as school other people’s horses. While I’m in the UK I’m lucky enough to have a job riding for Olympic Showjumper Tim Stockdale which is an absolutely amazing opportunity and learning experience.
CV: What has been the highlight of your career to date?
KS: In 2005, I represented South Africa in the Young Riders Eventing team against Britain and an Out of Africa Team, on my horse Equi-Feeds Strictly Cash. I was also selected for the South African Eventing Squad for WEG2010, and the London 2012 Olympics. Ganesh and I also won the 2014 SA Micro Derby and that really stood out for me as Ganesh, at that point, was also a 3 star event horse.
CV: Name one person involved in the sport that you look up to and why?
KS: Graham Winn has always been someone that I have massively looked up to. He has coached me and taught me so much about eventing and he has done so well himself in his eventing career as well as now starting a very successful career in Showjumping. He is a true horseman.
CV: Who is your greatest supporter?
KS: That would definitely be my mom. I am very lucky to have grown up with a parent that also rides and competes and has the same interests as I do. I would never have been able to drive around the country for shows without my mom by my side.
CV: What are your goals for 2017?
KS: I have a 6 year old thoroughbred called Equi-Feeds Just Al, and would love to get him up a level or two in both show jumping and eventing before I head to the UK. He is showing huge potential as my next eventing champ. And then when I’m in the UK it would be great if I get the opportunity to compete in a couple of shows again.