Catherine Berning

Catherine is a leading and dedicated Grand Prix South African dressage rider, who has won numerous South African titles and represented her country abroad.

When did you start riding?

I have always had a passion for horses and i started riding even before i could walk. Horses have always been a huge part of my life and i’m truely thankful for that.

What do you believe is the key to your success

My best horses have always found me and i have believed in creating a bond with them which has helped me get to the top. I am still learning every step of the way and i am loving the journey.


Jan Kleynhans

Jan has always had a passion for horses and has numerous sucesses in the showjumping arena.

What was your first riding experience like?

I’ll never forget the first time I sat on a horse. I was around 6 years old and I remember thinking how much I loved just sitting on top, looking down at his mane and patting his neck and I felt an instant connection with him.

Have you always been into sport?

As a kid I was very sporty and enjoyed all the sports one does at school. I rode horses during my high school and university years and managed to ride at quite a high level in my early 20s. I stopped riding to finish my CA (SA) exams and then pursued a career in finance and banking. As an adult I played tennis, golf and cycled a lot.

What made you go back into riding?

Although I played many sports as an adult, something was missing in my life, blessed as I was.

At the time of my career taking off I also I married my teenage love Tanya and we brought up a family of three lovely children. One day I said to Tanya I want my life to be with horses, I want to live with them, train them, go to lots of shows and just immerse myself with horses as well as have my family around our horsey home

Problem was, I didn’t have my own horse and I needed to make some big changes in my life. I just knew and felt I needed to be with horses again.

We later built a beautiful equestrian home in Kyalami and I’m the happiest person for it. I hadn’t ridden properly and competed for over 20 years and dived right back into it.

What are you thankful for?

These past 10 years we’ve learnt so much about horses and we keep learning all the time about how to manage and care for them.

I have had many successes over the years and I truly feel that it’s an absolute privilege and a blessing to have this life.

I’m incredibly aware of that fact and when I sit on one of my beautiful horses, I often think back to that little boy 50 years ago and how I managed to pursue this passion for horses all these years after.

Mikaela Martin

Mikaela is a talented and hard working Showjumper and is one of SA’s leading young riders.

Why did you start horse riding?

I was born into animals, with my dad being a vet and my mom the owner of Penbritte Equestrian Centre,  I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by animals. My mom was not sure if I would like horse riding and decided to leave me to decide for myself.  If I wanted to ride, I had to start like everyone else.  I learnt on school ponies and had to do several chores on the farm. My love for riding began with the animals and just being with horses.

Tell us about your achievements?

Once I rode well enough, I could pick a school pony as my own. I started lessons and shows on Midnight and progressed to Penbritte Turkish Delight.  I schooled her and Bella to the 1.10m Pony Rider classes.  When Penbritte’s Turkish Delight (Pinkie) got injured, I took on a very quirky pony Dapple Apple who although very talented was anxious at shows.  He taught me patience and never to give up.  After a few people saw me struggle on Dappy, I was offered 3 amazing ponies to sit on.  I chose Bronze Master, the most incredible little pocket rocket anyone could wish for.  The first day I rode him at home, he gave me a bloody nose just before bucking me straight off.   I realized that I would have to learn to sit him and fast!  I was lucky enough to win many championships and victor ludorums on Pinkie, Golden Dreamer and Bronze Master.

In 2018, I won both the championship classes and victor ludorum on both Golden Dreamer (90cm PR) and Bronze Master (1m PR).  I was also in the Gauteng Intermediate Equitation team and jumped Dapple Apple in the 1.10m PR classes.

2019, was my best year.  I took on a young warmblood we bred and started to produce and compete him.  Bronze Master won several open championships for me and we won SA open 1.10m PR champs.  We jumped double clears in the Open Pony rider team event and won most stylish rider.  Penbritte Quick also had a great show placing in all his classes and coming 3rd in a very competitive championship class.

2020 was a bitter sweet year as I decided to retire Bronzie and go for the junior and children classes.  I came 2nd at President’s cup and SA Youth champs in the 1.10m Children’s open classes with my young horse Penbritte Quicksilver and I also jumped Cosmic Girl in the 1.20m.

How to you prep your horses?

My horses are well cared for and we ensure their diets include top feed such as Epol, along with joint supplements if needed and a balanced training program. This includes, trotting, track work, flat work schooling and jumping helps them to stay healthy and to enjoy their work. We have a great farrier who takes care of their feet and we make sure they are fit and enjoying their work.

I love doing jumping tracks as my horses are very different and I must understand each of their best canter rhythms and preferences which I cannot learn while doing lines.  I do however like to do grid and gymnastic work between shows just to keep my horses supple and strong in their bodies.

What are your future hopes?

I am extremely excited about 2021!  I have been given a once in a lifetime opportunity to ride one of Leoni van der Burgh’s horses, The Burgh’s Balle as well as my new horse Penbritte For Cruise, while Penbritte Quicksilver gains experience in the ring.

What do you think is the key to your success?

I love my horses and I think my success has been down to the fact that I spend hours with my horses.  I groom them, tack them up and hose their legs after exercise.  I believe they will do more for you if they have a bond with you.  I also like to be organized, so I clean and pack my own tack and draw up a weekly schedule to balance school work and riding times.

Being organized, knowing I packed my own stuff and trained sufficiently for a show helps keep me calm.  I make sure that I stay ahead with school work and summarize all my work to make exam times less stressful so that I can continue training during exams.  If I would like to continue with horses I need to study for a suitable career to fund my horses, so school work is important.

My motto has always been “Practice like you have never won and perform as if you have never lost”.

Loving and understanding horses is what motivates me and setting goals are what drives me.

Jodi Pieters

Jodi’s dedication and passion for the sport has seen her rise to the top of SAs leading Showjumpers.

Tell us about your early riding career?

I have always had a passion for horses having grown up on a farm and started riding from the age of 4. I competed in Equitation and Show Jumping in my pony rider career and was part of the KZN team for both disciplines from the age of 11.

Name the achievements you are most proud of?

I am still to date the youngest rider to have won the Kwa-Zulu Natal Adult Championships at the age of 16 and this really drove me on in my riding.

In 2011, I won the SA Show Jumping Championships with my horse, Capital Rafika D’Or. We went on to win two World Cup Qualifiers over our career as well as being titled the overall RSA World Cup Series winner in 2012.

What did you do after school?

After matriculating from St Mary’s D.S.G with an A aggregate, I based myself in JHB for a year to train with Barry Taylor. During this year I stepped up to the 1.50m divisions and competed in my first Derby. I then went on to complete a BCOM Honours degree in Business Finance at UKZN whilst still travelling the national circuit.

Tell us more about yourself?

Whilst competing full time, I also run a successful pre-training and spelling facility in Drummond.  I am also engaged and due to get married next year August. Me and my fiancé, Glenn, share several interests including hiking, mountain biking and the occasional triathlon. I have also completed the Comrades marathon as well as the Ironman 70.3 in East London.

My current string of horses includes Kuda’s King of Hearts who I compete in the 1,50m division along with a number of youngsters that I am producing up the levels, so I am extremely excited for things to come.

What is your most significant horse?

That would be Jaunty Gent, a thoroughbred that I produced myself from 70cm in the junior divisions. He went on to come 3rd in the SA Derby as well as win the Pretoria Riders Grand Prix.

Chris Van Der Merwe

Chris has risen through the ranks of pony riders, juniors and with hard work and serious passion has become one of the Top SA showjumpers.

Tell us about yourself?

I am a professional show-jumper and producer of young horses, I have had a passion for horses from a young age and I have been fortunate to combine my passion for show-jumping with my business.

Myself and my wife Leona Van der Merwe rent Bloubergryskool from Marlize Steyn in Limpopo where we run a successful riding school.

How is it working with your spouse?

We love it, although it doesn’t work for everyone, we enjoy it and are extremely successful. Leona is also a professional showjumper and teaches the pony riders whilst I teach juniors and adults and so we spilt our clients in order to provide them with our full expertise.

What your you most thankful for?

I have been fortunate to have had a successful career through ponies and juniors and now as an adult rider. I have won multiple Grand Prix’s and World Cups including winning the World Cup series in 2019.I have a passion to produce young horses and I spend a lot of time training talented young horses for the future sport.

Fred Pistorius

Where did your love of horses all start?

I grew up with horses and Tentpegging as my whole family competed in equestrian sports from childhood. My father and brother also compete in Tentpegging.

I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to start competing and in 2019 when I was 13 years I got my first horse and was able to start.

Tell us about your horse?

My horse, Edel-El-Pedite aka Petete, is a 19 year old Registered Boerperd Mare. She is a wonderful energetic horse that never puts a hoof wrong, so I love her to bits.  She is the queen at our stables.  At 19 years of age her feed is very important and that is why we only feed Epol Rider Muesli.

What are your proudest achievements so far?

On my first South African Tentpegging Champs in 2016 I was selected for the Development team and that’s where it all started to turn for me.

Is was in the Limpopo Tentpegging team from 2016 untill now.

In 2018 I was selected for the Under 21 Boys Presidents team.

From 2019 I was selected as Team Captain of the Limpopo team and on that SA, I was selected for the SA Under 21 Boys Protea team, and I was also selected as Protea Team Captain.

In August 2021 I was captain of the Under 21 Boys SA Protea team that won a International Test against Sudan.

Leona van der Merwe
Leona van der Merwe

Tell us about yourself?

My name is Leona van der Merwe, and I’m currently competing at World Cup level showjumping with my horse Capital Clarissimo. I started my showjumping career at Blouberg Stables with my sister Marlize Steyn.

Recently myself, my husband Chris van der Merwe, and our two children made the move to JHB in order to  ride and work for Govett and Aisling Triggol at the 334 Sporthorse Stud.

Tell us about your horses? 

I have amazing string of horses that I’m truly excited about for the future. These include the 1.40m horses Hey I Wilma and Finale U, the 1.35m horses Capital Callaway and Callaho Vidante. My exciting  young horses Crispy Air 334, Matilda 334, I star 334, Comme Pleasure 334, Hamlet and Rip Tide are all ones to watch.

Sone Smit

Where did your love of horses all start?

I grew up with horses and started with riding lessons at the age of 5. Since that day I have been hooked

What is it that you love about Endurance?

I love Endurance because its a family sport, you can not compete in the higher levels if you don’t have a strong “groom” team on the ground as well as a support system at home.

How long have you been competing?

I am a member of the Endurance Ride Association of South Africa and I have been competitively competing in Endurance since 2013. I am a proud Limpopo Team representative and I am the standard weight manager.

When your not competing how do you spend your time?

I recently started a riding school in our area for beginners. My aim is to promote horse riding and the benefits it has on child development. My three daughters also ride and so really there isn’t a day that horses are not part of the picture.

Why Epol?

Nutrition is the key to success for any athlete, but becomes even more important for the endurance horse. Our horses are competing across various terrains for extended periods of time in all weathers, meaning their diets need to be the very best. I have always fed Epol and I truly believe in these incredible products. My horses are always in top condition performing at their very best.


Divan Bosman

Divan is a competitive Junior Showjumper and is extremely passionate about his horses.

Why did you start horse riding?

Way back in 2010, my older brother brought a horse riding pamphlet home he got from school. My parents decided to take the whole family, including my 3 brothers to start horse riding lessons. We started horse riding lessons, and a year later we bought our own first pony called Desert Child. My oldest brother started competing in Showjumping with him. I was only 4 years old and started growing an interest in Showjumping as well.

I started competing in SANESA shows and when I was 9 years old, I started doing graded shows with my first pony Silverado, who gave me a competitive edge. After that there was no stopping my enthusiasm for becoming a champion.

I also love animals and love spending time in the outdoors with the horses.

Tell us about your achievements?

During my Pony Showjumping career I had lots of success in 90cm, 1.00m and 1.10m with my favourite ponies Victor’s Pride, Gapsie and Cornerstone’s Riddle. I started my open Showjumping Pony career in 2018, when I won the FEI Silver competition and ranked 2nd in the world on the FEI rankings. I represented Gauteng every year since 2017 in several heights at the yearly SA Champs competitions.

In 2019 I won the 1.00m PR SA Champs with Cornerstone’s Riddle and was also crowned Victor Ludorum.

In 2020, I had a very successful year, competing in both Pony Rider classes as well as Junior classes. At the 2020 SA Champs I won the 1.10m PR Championship, came 2nd in the 1.20m PR Championship and 2nd in the 1.20m Junior Championship. This was a big achievement for me as it was my first Junior SA Champs competition.

During 2021, I had a very successful Junior year, competing with my awesome horse, Cornerstone’s Midgard Zhakiro in 1.30m and 1.35m Juniors. I have won the Gauteng Champs 1.35m Championship class, which was a big achievement for me.

How to you prep your horses?

Our horses are stabled at Cornerstone Equestrian, where they are well looked after and fed foods supplied by EPOL. I ride my horses at least 3 times a week under the supervision of my instructor, ensuring a balanced workout to build and maintain muscles for optimum performance. Horses are treated with massaging blankets and massaging tendon boots after every show to prevent stiffness after shows. Back at home they get hosed down and put in the solarium to further ensure that any muscle stiffness is prevented.

I also love to spend quiet time with my horses, just walking them and relaxing, especially after a rigorous workout.

What are your future hopes?

It is my ambition to be competing at 1.50m as soon as possible. I would also like to compete in the Olympics for South Africa.

I have a passion working with animals and especially horses, and would like to become a vet and specialize in equine eye care.