The Cambodian Equestrian Federation (CEF) took a giant step in preparing the Kingdom’s team for endurance events at the forthcoming SEA Games in Malaysia later this year by holding the first ever 80 kilometre trial at Phnom Penh’s Areyksat Club’s horse park.
The CEF is planning to organise the second of the three mandatory trials required for qualification in Siem Reap in the near future.
It was a match race only of sorts as two contenders lined up for the 80km event, but there was plenty of excitement around the park since this was the first time ever that local riders and horses had taken up this gruelling challenge.
“We were indeed thrilled that the trials went off better than expected, with both riders finishing the course.
“One of the horses failed in the gait test but I am confident we will have more horses and riders making the grade as we go on,” president of the CEF Mona Tep, herself an accomplished equestrian rider, told The Post yesterday.
With the Malaysian SEA Games set for August this year, the CEF has been pursuing the preparation of endurance riders as a top priority since it is a mandatory eligibility criteria for a participating country to complete a minimum of four trials three over 40km, extending to 80km for the final one.
After beginning this qualification process with an exploratory round in September last year, the CEF went through the first official 40km trial in the middle of October at the Khmer Equestrian Center situated on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.
Along with the 80km run, the second 40km trial was also held to be up to speed to complete the mandatory trials before the qualification deadline of July this year.
The 80km trial was won by Meng Sochea astride Alenka. His only rival, Chem Ravi on Pimousse, failed to qualify. The winner clocked 2:48.05 over three phases.
The 40km trial was won by Ly Sovanachandara, riding Miki. He also topped the 20km trial on Roundout.
Lon Sopheaktra, a regular member of the national showjumping team, had won the first 40km trial ahead of teammates Sim Narith and Sovanachandara
As one of the leading equestrian nations in the region, Thailand has stepped in to lend its expertise to help Cambodia move beyond its dressage and showjumping capabilities to the more demanding endurance events.
The Thai Equestrian Federation and the ASEAN Equestrian Federation have pledged continued logistical support for CEF as Cambodia makes its journey to Malaysia.