Leopard Ecology & Conservation (LEC) Kaudwane horse race is a conservation themed horse race project, which aims at improving the health and welfare of local horses also as a strategy to minimize predation by wild carnivores. All registered horses in LEC study area go through 4 months animal husbandry care training supervised by a qualified farrier. The selected horses then compete in a horse race event that takes the whole day.
During the day of the horse race I got the opportunity to go and see the horses that were participating in the horse race. I saw beautifully groomed horses with shiny coats. Some riders went the extra mile to shape their horse’s tails and manes in different shapes and sizes. It showed me a creative and passionate side that the riders had towards their horses. The horses looked so beautiful that I even wished I had one of my own.
All in all there were three horse races. Two races being the 1000m and 1500m which were qualifying races to participate in the final race of 1500m that had 9 finalists. During the awards ceremony, no body left empty handed in order to appreciate everyone’s effort.
Just before the races began the crowd would swarm close to the starting lines to see the horse’s race. As the horses would go around the race pitch so would the crowd, running to where the horses were to see all the action. It was an eventful hot day!
Cheetah Conservation Botswana, an organization that aims to preserve Botswana’s cheetah population partnered with us during the horse race and together we taught conservation issues to the crowds that had gathered at the horse race.
The community of Kaudwane was a huge part in the preparation of the horse race event and worked hand in hand with Leopard Ecology & Conservation. A farmer from Mangadiele gifted us with a sheep that was used as food for helpers during the horse race. In addition, we LEC was in partnership with the Letlhakeng Sub District Council that assisted with resources to make the horse race event as successful as it was. Elicar Wagner of the Getika Foundation financially contributed to the horse race event and assisted for the horse to be held.
We are very grateful to all the stakeholders that partnered and supported us, thank you! We look forward to an even better next horse race.
Text: Kefilwe Mokgwathi