In a bid to form a strong national endurance team to take part in next year’s SEA Games in Malaysia, the Cambodian Equestrian Federation organised 20km trials involving eight riders at the Khmer Equestrian Center at Kab Srov in Phnom Penh on Sunday.
In the Myanmar and Singapore editions of the SEA Games, Cambodia fielded riders in the jumping and dressage events, but the recently revamped CEF is determined to build an endurance team so that the Kingdom can register its entry for this event before July’s deadline.
“We had this trial as a first step to see how well the riders and the horses perform. In September we will step up the trials to 40km for the next batch of riders.
‘To be eligible for this discipline in Malaysia, we need to hold trials over 40km and 80km two times each before the registration,” the newly elected CEF president Moha Tep told the Post yesterday.
“The schedule is very tight but we believe that the ongoing support from the SEA Equestrian Federation will help us reach this goal.
“We also need to reinforce our methodology and techniques to ensure that both the rider and horse are safe and sound,” said Mona Tep, who has taken part in several national jumping shows.
Being the first of its kind to be staged in Cambodia, the endurance trials whipped up lot of excitement at the KEC, which is situated in the suburbs of Phnom Penh on a three-hectare site ideally suited for such stamina tests.
Currently there are 23 ponies stabled at the KEC along with three newborns. The stock for the 20km trials came from the KEC yard.
It was no surprise that many of the national jumping riders pitched in for the trials.
Hoy Sopharith on Hung went on to win the show, with Nol Kim Hee, Sim Narith, Pat Makara, Long Sopeaktra, Van Nitha, Ly Sovanachandara and Yoeung Say Ha finishing in that order.
Two teenage girls, Alicia Khiem and Chenda Gossens, who are better known in the jumping events, took a shot at the trials and said they were thrilled to participate in this new adventure.
Almost all the national riders said they would pursue this new challenge and are confident of making it to Malaysia next year.
Technical director of the federation Guillaume Larivan of France said the enthusiasm among national riders to get into endurance racing could be channelled to produce a competitive team despite a limit on time and resources.
Meanwhile, the day before the trials, the CEF was restructured, with Mona Tep taking over as president in place of the federation’s founder, Van Sou Ieng, who was named as honorary president for life.
Assuming charge as the new secretary-general is Kao Vannarin, a leading administrator in kun Khmer kickboxing.