Neriske Prinsloo is one of the GCS-Max sponsored riders, she is competing in the South African Derby taking place at Kyalami Equestrian Park, Johannesburg. Neriske, aged 29, has recently returned from a five-year stint in Europe where she represented South Africa in show jumping. We chatted to her ahead of her participation in the Derby:
CV: What are your top tips for preparing for a prestigious event such as the South African Derby?
NP: 1. I don’t have a specific routine per say, but the main thing that I always focus on is ensuring that my horses are as fit as possible ahead of the competition. In addition, it is just as important that I, the rider, am also fit. At this stage ahead of Derby I’m not sure whether I am quite there yet.
- Secondly, it is just as important to check your horse’s gear – you don’t want any surprises on the day with nerves and tension running high.
- Preparing your horse and ensuring that it knows what to expect is vital. Knowing that your horse is brave enough to make the jumps is possibly the most important thing in Derby. White Spirit C, my speed horse, is very brave and she won the Micro Derby in 2010, however, I decided not to bring her with me this year as she is very careful and gets too excited in the big open grass arena. She is especially excitable with the funny looking jumps and I seem to run out brakes at that stage! My choice of horse for this year’s Derby is my new ten-year-old imported Belgium Studbook stallion ‘Equistro van de Mispelaere’. He has not been in South Africa too long but seems to be a brave soldier to have by my side for the upcoming week. It will be his first time jumping any sort of Derby fences (no pressure)! We will definitely take it as it comes! I’m excited and nervous to compete but I am looking forward to it!
CV: Do you have any advice for an up and coming rider who is competing in Derby for the first time?
NP: A driving force in my career is that I feel that it is important that you have to believe in yourself and follow your own feelings. At any event you must take your own riding style into account, and that of your horse’s. That way you can focus on your own strengths and aim to better these, rather than worrying about what other riders are good or bad at. I think that it would be a good idea to set yourself clear goals, which will focus your ambition and once you have those clear goals in mind, just don’t give up. You either have that competitor spirit or you don’t. Take a long, honest look at yourself and knowing your own competitive drive is what will get you through the competition or not. Before embarking on this journey, be self aware and honest with yourself.
CV: What have you been doing whilst in Europe? Talk us through some of your experiences.
NP: I have recently returned to South Africa after having been based in Europe for 5 years. More specifically, I was based in Belgium where I rode for South Africa in the World Games in 2014. I also had the amazing opportunity to jump in the Global Tour in Paris. I also competed in many 5 Star World Cups from Doha to Europe. People may think that it is a glamorous lifestyle but I’d like to set the record straight and state that it is a very tough and challenging way of life that requires heaps of dedication and a lot of money – showjumping is an expensive sport! Moving horses around the world is equally as challenging and in Europe we had a truck that moved our team around. We had a team of 16 horses in Belgium and would change horses every two weeks.
CV: Can you tell us about your experience with GCS-MAX?
NP: I think that it is a wonderful product – I have always used it and I am very excited to be one of the GCS-MAX brand ambassadors. I look forward to being able to promote it in a credible way amongst my community. I would like to thank GCS-MAX for giving me the opportunity to be involved with the brand!
Cipla Vet is very proud to sponsor Neriska Prinsloo and NP Sport Horses with GCS-MAX.