His Highness Tunku Idris Iskandar Ibni Sultan Ibrahim presenting Sultan Ibrahim Cup to Nabil Ismail.

UTM International Johor Horse Show 2012 (UTMIJHS 2012) held at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Johor Bahru last week, create a new history with the highest number of participant in equestrian event of the country.

 A total of 156 riders representing 24 clubs, including seven from Victoria, Australia are expected to perform their skills at the 5 days championships.

 The total number of participation in  the fifth annual event runs from 11 April until 15 April 2012, surpassed national record in term of number of participation in equestrian event held at Selangor Turf Club in 2011.

The tournament was inaugurated by His Highness Tunku Idris Iskandar Ibni Sultan Ibrahim, Tunku Temenggong Johor, representative of His Royal Highness Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar.

Last year defending champion, Nabil Ismail once again demonstrate his skills to defend the Sultan Ibrahim Cup by making “clear rounds” jump to beat closest challengers Edric Lee and Aizat Abdul Malik.

Among other events held in the equestrian championship were dressage, show jumping and pony club mounted games. The contingent from Victoria, Australia also took part in the competition.

Gaye Gauci-Merchant, the Equine Director of Goals and Dreams from Victoria said, she brought seven riders aged between 12 and 17 years to take part in the championship.

“We are delighted to be invited to participate for the first time in the equestrian sport in Malaysia organised by UTM.”

“I brought riders and their family together and we arrived earlier than other teams for training and to adapt to the horses and weather here,” said Australia’s first female jokey.

Gaye said, she managed to get sponsorship of A$26,000, allowing them to make various preparations including to bring riders’ family members to UTM.

She also expressed her gratitude to UTM for providing comfortable accommodation during the championship and ready to accept students from UTM to undergo training in equine academy under her supervision in Australia.

Meanwhile for endurance event, 60 riders including from Indonesia and Singapore took part in two categories, 80 km and 40km categories. The 80 km category was recognised by Fédération Equestre International (FEI), a sole controlling authority by International Olympic Committee (IOC) for all international events in equestrian sports and 40 km category was endorsed by the Equestrian Association of Malaysia (EAM).

National riders Datuk Shuib Ishak, Wan Kamarudin Wan Yusuf and Norlaili Bunyamin participated in 80 km category. UTM Vice Chancellor, Professor Dato’ Dr Zaini Ujang who won 20 km category last year also took part in 40 km category.

Event Coordinator Hj. Mohamad Din Mat Said, the response to endurance event was very encouraging that the organiser had to reject some of the entries due to large number of participants.

Total prizes of the competition were increased to RM90,000 due to overwhelming response by riders and spectators last years.

This year the audience response was encouraging with the presence of many students and adults to watch the various competitions.

Although the Sultan Ibrahim Cup was postponed to two hours due to the bad weather, the crowd still waiting to see riders performing their skills.