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13-year-old is a champion on the back of a horse

Isabelle received a Rising Star trophy for her performance this year.

Isabelle Pienaar (13) showed remarkable horse-riding skills.

Isabelle was qualified by the South African National Equestrian Schools Association (Sanesa) to represent Mpumalanga at the Nationals Competition.

She was selected for the Mpumalanga A team for and participated in six events.

Horse riding is a sport that requires hard work and dedication, and Isabelle has shown nothing less.

Isabelle started horse riding at just the tender age of six years old while she was in Grade R just for fun, but little did she know that she would fall in love with horses and horse riding.

Her parents, Lana and Bertus Pienaar said they got her started on horse riding lessons on a pony.

Isabelle’s first competition was in 2019 at Pienaardam Resort with a horse named Rosie where she won first place on 40cm accumulator and started show jumping on 40cm where she received first place. It’s safe to say she has never looked back, as she has participated in a lot of training shows ever since.

Isabelle did four qualifiers in the year 2021 and was selected for the Mpumalanga provincial team and represented them at the Sanesa Nationals.

In 2022 Isabelle got a new horse called Midnight. Together the duo received two qualifications which qualified them to participate in the nationals again. Isabelle obtained third place with 70cm Equitation; this was one of the biggest accomplishments in her career, with a new, young horse and first time competing nationally.

In the same year, she also qualified with two horses (Saphire and Midnight) in all six events to represent the province at the nationals.

Her parents did not shy away from the fact that Laerskool Taalfees is very supportive of the grade 7 learner, “over the years there were a lot of absent days in order to participate in competitions,” her parents said.

Isabelle received the highest award for outside-school sports for two years in a row from Laerskool Taalfees.

Her coach, Lea Buhr from Royal River Equestrian in Middelburg, is always motivational and inspiring Isabelle and the young riders.
Isabelle said she enjoys doing show jumping, equitation, working hunter, handy hunter, and performance riding.

When asked how she remains focused during her competition, she mentioned that the horse and rider must both be very fit, “It takes a lot of hard work and practice, there are also limited opportunities and sponsors, so I have to be at my best at all times. My parents are also very involved and manage everything whilst giving their 100% support,” Isabelle expressed.

Currently, Isabelle is jumping 80cm, and in 2024 she will do all 90cm events.

Through her representing the school, Laerskool Taalfees won the floating trophy: Mpumalanga Primary School I (single learner in a school accumulating the most points for her school).

Isabelle also received a Rising Star trophy for her performance this year.

She has been placed: – 6th place 70cm Equitation (22 riders). 7th place 80cm Competition show jumping (21 riders), 3rd place for team MP 80cm Competition show jumping, 3rd place for Team MP 80cm Two-phase show jumping, 4th place for Team MP 70cm Handy Hunter, 4th place for Team MP 70cm Working Hunter



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