THE absence of beloved horse rider Piet van der Merwe was definitely felt at the memorial ride named after him, which took place at Lormar on March 2 and 3.
All participants shared beautiful and fond memories of the legend, most of which were of unique moments shared with him.
The weather was nearly perfect and everyone could enjoy cool mornings, clear skies, sunny afternoons and a full moon to light the way for the early starters.
Well-seasoned officials from Namibia, Botswana and South Africa made sure the rules were upheld at all times.
Horses were closely monitored by vets who have decades of experience and compassion towards the beautiful creatures who make endurance riding possible.
Most of them will be supporting the up-and-coming ride at Lormar on October 19 and 20.
In true Lormar fashion, the social part of the event was upheld by the few who kept things cheerful.
Humorous memories of Van der Merwe were shared at the ride briefing by Robert Lord and Andries Pretorius, who lifted the spirits of everyone who cared for the legend.
The track was flat at stages but the rain from earlier in the year had made the track more of a challenge than intended as the veld paths were slightly deeper and damaged.
The winners were chosen from local categories (ERASA) and international (FEI) categories.
The ride was held under international rules (FEI).
The following riders were the winners in their respective categories:
. FEI 160km Standard-weight: Odet van Wyk on Saruk Sumo, 09:12:08
. ERASA 160km Standard-weight: Nico-Meyer Le Roux on Waterlea Selena, fastest time 09:05:10
. ERASA 160km Lightweight: Jessica Mostert on Leyla Rodan, 10:17:38
. FEI 120km Standard-weight: Mabet Cilliers on Ryhom Razzaq, 06:27:14
. FEI 120km Lightweight: Nico-Meyer Le Roux on Tsunami Rosy, 06:23:15
. FEI 120km Junior: Ralien de Beer on Mekadesh Jiddan, 07:00:46
. ERASA 120km Heavyweight: Hubert Ferreira on Henham Lormarie, 06:30:06
. ERASA 120km Standard-weight: Mondi Kanyana on Amra Kraken, 7:23:31
. ERASA 120km Lightweight: Charlene Grunow on Sauk Kaydi, fastest time 06:22:46
. FEI 80km Standard-weight: Trevor Nel on Nawadi, 04:10:41
. FEI 80km No-weight: Michael Vaaltyn on Nira Thunder, fastest time 03:58:26
. FEI 80km Young rider: Marius Venter on Joni Shamahl, 04:01:38
. ERASA 80km Heavyweight: John Bell on Caprice, 04:52:44
. ERASA 80km Standard-weight: Marli Louw on Beaconsfield Chief, 04:06:27
. ERASA 80km Lightweight: Klaas Jonas on Al Kamiya Rabeh, 04:34:32
. ERASA 80km Junior: Nicolas Engels on Lormar Century, 03:59:33.