Throughout its history, the Royal Show has played an active role in promoting the equestrian disciplines, and provides the general public with a chance to see some of the country’s finest horses and riders in action. This year, the Royal Show will host the KwaZulu-Natal Regional Boerperd Championships, from the 30 May to 1 June.
The Boerperd is considered a true South African horse breed, and its lineage includes horses of Arabian, Andalusian, Berber, Flemish and Cleveland Bay stock. Over the past three hundred-odd years, this breed has been selectively bred to suit South African circumstances and, after the South African Wars (1899-1902) – during which thousands of breeding stock was lost – a concerted attempt to standardise breeding and establish a Stud Book was made. Several attempts, and decades, later, an official Boerperd Society of South Africa was established and in 1980 the breed was officially recognised by the Department of Agriculture and was subsequently affiliated to the South African Stud Book and Livestock Improvement Association.
For the past three decades, the SA Boerperd Society has been using an inspection system, like that used by the European Warmblood breed societies, to maintain a high breed standard. At 30 months, a young animal of registered parents can be inspected by a panel appointed by the council of the SA Boerperd to establish whether the horse conforms to the breed standard. In order to qualify for the SA Boerperd brand, a stallion must achieve a mark of at least 75%, a mare 70% and a gelding 65%. On passing inspection, horses are branded with the famous ‘B’, which is the brand mark of quality. Only then is the horse considered a registered SA Boerperd.
Although traditionally showed in its own style, including the three and five-gaited classes, Boerperds can also be used for dressage, showjumping and carriage driving. Their steady nature, intelligence, versatility and presence make them the ideal horse for pleasure or sport.
The Royal Show is an ideal platform for the public and fellow equestrian enthusiasts to see some of the best of our breed in show: