World Horse Welfare’s president, The Princess Royal, was in Soweto on Monday to see the charity’s work in South Africa at first hand – and meet a visionary South African showjumper.
World Horse Welfare launched a training programme in Soweto in 2008 to provide local people with saddlery and farriery skills.
Common injuries to working horses were being caused by ill-fitting harness, carts bearing weight incorrectly and poor shoeing.
And many horses were being kept in dangerous surroundings.
To date the charity has trained 39 farriers and 35 saddlers and the Princess met the 10 saddlery and 12 farriery students who are currently being trained at the Soweto Equestrian Centre.
Princess Anne also met South Africa’s first black showjumper, Enos Mafokate, who runs the equestrian centre.
Enos make this showjumping debut in 1962 and competed at the Royal International Horse Show in 1980.
He founded the Soweto Equestrian Foundation in 2007, in partnership with Johannesburg City Council and World Horse Welfare.
The facilities are now used by more than 50 able-bodied and disabled children.
The Soweto Equestrian Foundation Vaulting Team won a number of classes at the South African Vaulting Championships, with one of the team members subsequently being selected to represent South Africa at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky.
And Enos has himself completed World Horse Welfare’s farriery training course in Cape Town, where he gained professional shoeing skills and continues to work as a farrier.
Enos said: “When I heard that The Princess Royal was going to be visiting us in Soweto, it was like a complete blessing had been made not only to myself but to the Soweto Equestrian Centre.
“It has always been a childhood dream to meet a member of the Royal family and to think this will now happen as a result of having a life-long passion for horses will make the occasion even more rewarding.”