Why Chilanga?

By Erica Green

chilanga image of child

CHILANGA RIDING SCHOOL FOR THE DISABLED

When I came to live in Somerset West I used to watch from far, how riding lessons were being conducted at Chilanga. My dream was to compete in dressage. This dream came true in 1985 when an opportunity came up to lease a horse stabled at Chilanga.

FullSizeRender-5 FullSizeRender

It was a difficult time for my family – my Dad had just died from complications from pneumonia. My Mom was left to bring up 3 children – I have a younger sister and an older brother.

Chilanga became my “hope”. 7 days a week I rode horses.

FullSizeRender-4 FullSizeRender-2

Sally Kluth was our riding instructor – more than that, she taught us the tough lessons in life: nothing comes from nothing and it’s only through hard work that you will succeed!

After finishing matric I was directionless – didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do, so, much to the heartache of my Mom, (and heaven help me when my daughter does something like this one day), I went overseas (Switzerland) with my boyfriend at the time. I called around to try and find some stable work – either riding horses or working at a groom.   To no avail.

My very last telephone call was to a Mr Fritz Linsenhoff – he was looking for a “young rider” to train up, along with his 6 huge, expensive horses. I didn’t know at the time, but he trained his wife and horse to a gold medal win at the 1972 Olympic Games in Seoul. We ate, slept and trained towards Olympics – all day, every day.

FullSizeRender-7 IMG_1708

To cut a long story short – I spent two years riding under his tutelage. After 2 years with Mr Linsenhoff I decided to call it a day and come back home. As soon as I got back my immediate need was to “find a new interest” and cycling it was. We had an amazing group in Somerset West and soon I was between mountain biking, road racing and track racing – all the disciplines – under the watchful eye of my local club.

The Olympic dream was (un)fortunately still there and I went about finding out how I could qualify for the Olympic Games in cycling.

With another 25 pages of story and a bunch of years later, I’m privileged to say that I’ve been to 2 Olympic Games for cycling (both road and mtb) – 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney, and still riding my beloved horses – all thanks to Chilanga Riding School and now Chilanga Riding School for the Disabled.

IMG_1709

It makes perfect sense that we, at DCS, do everything possible to assist the on-going needs to ensure the sustainability and legacy of this special place!

It’s not an easy task these days, running a stable yard – if you or your company is/are able to assist, please email me and I’ll send you an outline of what is desperately required.

Please: they need YOUR help!

If you are in a position to offer assistance and be involved, please email me and I’ll send you an official proposal.

DCS will be holding fundraising events throughout the year and all proceeds will go directly to CRSD.