NHRA battles for funds
Horse riders will be competing in a race in Otjinene this coming weekend, in one of 20 races to take place this year in preparation for the Mascom Derby in Botswana, despite financial challenges.
After 30 years of existence in Namibia, horse racing has a challenge in making its presence felt in the sports fraternity because of little public interest and a battle for corporate sponsorship with other sports codes.
This year the Namibia Horse Racing Association (NHRA) program has 20 races planned in different locations in Namibia. The first race was held in Rehoboth on 12 March, which served as trials to choose horses to represent Namibia in the annual Mascom Derby in Maun, Botswana.
The Tjaka Turf Club will also host a race in Tjaka on 7 May followed by another race by Rehoboth Turf Club on the 28 May, for the African Day Cup (ADC) in Rehoboth.
According to secretary of NHRA John Wellmann, there are 11 clubs affiliated to the NHRA and most club members are horse owners.
‘’The horse owners employ certain employees who look after the horses’ training, grooming and feeding needs. Mostly one of the employees are used to ride the horses on race days. We call them the Jockeys but they are actually work-riders as Jockeys are professionals’’, Wellmann said.
He added, that the N$20 000 the NHRA gets from the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) is not enough to host racing events. At the moment every club looks for small sponsorship to host their events as the NHRA is still looking for a sponsorship.
The lowest price money per race is set at N$3000, which is divided in three parts, of which the 1st price is 50%, 2nd price 30 and 3rd price 20 %. Eleven work-riders have already competed in the past in Botswana.
Last year The Villager reported that the Wellmann said the small financial reward for horse racers is hurting the sport, despite efforts to advance it.
Horse-racing is a rather costly sport. A new horse can cost between N$5000 and N$10000, up to N$40000 for an experienced racing horse and about N$2500 monthly to feed a single horse, not including other maintenance costs.
Put next to the N$3000 prize money for winners of most local races, such as the winners of the Africa Day Cup which takes place at the Rehoboth track, Wellmann feels there is not enough of a financial draw, and only those truly passionate about horse racing participate.