Derby Show Director: Heather Mpofu

1. What will your roles and responsibilities be as show director of the SA Derby?

I have to make the schedules, and ensure that the rules indicated are up-to-date and apply to each and every competition. In conjunction with the disciplines we address all possible scenarios positive or negative and ensure that we have a solution beforehand. Then there is the actual production of the timetables as well as ensuring that I have a team of qualified personnel to handle all the different roles involved with the running of the show. Once the show starts I get involved in ensuring that all arenas are running smoothly and timeously, everyone is accounted for and playing their role. I have to come up with solutions for every eventuality as it happens.

2. How is the planning and preparation going thus far for The SA Derby?

So far so good, the schedules are all out and entries are steadily coming in. Ticket sales are also doing very well. There is a lot of construction going on at the club ranging from a complete refurbishment of the Bob charter/Stubbs Warm-up arena, clubhouse toilets and lots of painting. At the end of it all the venue will be stunning and ready for our glamorous “Spring in the Hamptons” themed Derby show.

3. With less than 6 weeks to go until show day, what are the major challenge’s you’re dealing with?

The pressure is now on, all the incomplete projects need to be completed in time and 6 weeks go by within a blink of an eye. Entries will also be closing on 3 September and the program needs to be finalised – which isn’t as simple as most people think as we have to minimise class clashes so our riders are catered for and not put under great strain to be in more than one place at the same time. We also have to ensure the flow of the events also taking into consideration the time needed to build and change courses. This is the most difficult part of show prep as there is no room for time errors and we cannot leave things to free flow, all has to be meticulously and appropriately timed.

4. What event are you most excited about during the show and why?

I have two events, the Compleat Horse free test on Sunday: I can’t wait to see the top 5 riders’ imaginations come to life as they showcase their fearless and beautiful horses according to their interpretation of a self- selected theme and music. Secondly I’m nervous to see who wins the Derby this year, the Derby class always has one at the edge of their seat.

5. Who do you believe has a good chance of winning the derby?

Honestly the Derby horses always come in such top form and one can never be sure. Let me just say I will be looking out for Marlene Sinclair and Camaro – they were so close last year and from what I have seen this year they are on top form. This could be their year.

6. What do you love most about your job as Show Director for the SA Derby? At the end of the show I do a post mortem of the show. Seeing how everyones’ hard work pays off and knowing that I was part of coordinating and marrying those efforts together and the result of a magnificent Derby is basically what makes me love my job the most.

7. How are the Bob Charter arena as well as other arenas looking for the show?

The amount of work that is being put into the Bob Charter, Stubbs and their warm-up arena is going to ensure that we have the best Derby arenas than we have ever had. If you drive past KEP the green grass in the Stubbs arena as well as the Bob Charter will surely capture your eye. It’s the best we have ever had at this time of the year. The May Foxcroft Arena where the dressage will be held was refurbished earlier this year and it’s in top form and ready for Derby action.

8. What are some of the jobs that will keep you the most busy during the 5 day show?

Making sure all that all parties are working together and things are going according to plan; that the arenas are being kept in their top form as well as a general pleasant atmosphere is being maintained. I would like everyone to enjoy Derby this year – that is our main priority.

9. Who would you like to thank at KPC / in your team?

Definitely Jeanette Schulz and Wayne O’Gomann. Also Sue Cook from Showing SA; SASJ Rep Di Baxter; Anne-Marie Esslinger; my assistants Agnes Phiri and Unathi Moyo; and lastly Kerry Byerley who runs KPC Dressage.

Derby Show Director: Heather Mpofu

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