The Cambodian equestrian team came through its first competitive stress test ahead of December’s Myanmar SEA Games in good shape and spirits after notching up a string of strong performances at the Selangor Turf Club Horse Show last weekend.
Competing against some of the best riders from various clubs in Malaysia, the Cambodian riders showed rich promise both in dressage and show jumping.
Though none of the six riders could pin their colours to the mast, team leader Hoy Sopharith and youngest member Lon Sopheaktra got a lot nearer by slotting themselves into second place in FEI dressage tests while 19-year-old Sim Narith finished a close third.
In show jumping, Ly Sovanachandara picked up third in both equitation and power and speed classes, with Sor Putminea getting home fourth in equitation. Phat Makara was the only member of the team going unplaced in the competition.
“The federation has to thank Horseware and RM Asia Ford for their steadfast support. Horseware has equipped the team with professional competition jackets, shirts and jodhpurs. RM Asia has been with us throughout all competitions,” Cambodian Equestrian Federation secretary general Mona Tep told the Post.
National coach Kathleen Lovatt, who accompanied the team, summed up the Malaysian tour as a rewarding experience for the Cambodian riders.
“This was by far the strongest set of rivals they had faced and I feel that they have come through this stress test quite well. It has certainly raised our expectations of a medal in the SEA Games,” Lovatt said.
“While the local riders were on their own regular mounts, our riders were on borrowed horses they knew nothing about. In this context what our team has achieved is quite remarkable,” she added.
Meanwhile, the six SEA Games probables will be seen in action at the annual Cambodian Country Club show jumping competition to be held at the CCC Horse Park on November 10. The event is supported by the sports governing body, Federation Equestrian International, and World Horse Welfare.