Tripling races are one of many examples of the two worlds in which we live.  When I researched and wrote my earlier column on Wakkerstroom’s “profound secret” (harmonious racial and socioeconomic integration throughout and since apartheid), no one mentioned its other secret (tripling horse races).  Both reflect the degree to which there is a documented and regulated “formal” SA and a liberated, undocumented South Africa that thrives under the noses of avaricious politicians and bureaucrats.

Tripling horse race the closest Wakkerstroom gets to being ‘wakker’: Leon Louw’s latest column published today on BDLive and Business Day.


WAKKERSTROOM should be called Slaapstroom, if not Doodstroom (meaning lively-, sleepy-and dead-stream respectively), as I explained in an earlier column.  Except, that is, when it hosts a uniquely local and lekker horse race, which is so extraordinary it should be famous, yet is virtually unknown.

. . . . .

It hosts a splendid (mostly classical) music festival, an indulgent “vleivees” (wetland festival, which should be called “vleisfees” or meat festival), a well-attended natural fibre fair (centred on its charming alpacas), a handicraft festival (focused on its charming people), a dirt biker’s venue (cue alien dirty bikers), Birdlife Africa (around a wetland birding paradise), world class antique and interior design dealers (showing off the House of Baxburg), hiking trails (with such scenic attractions as Honeymoon Valley, named after its unmentionable topographical appearance), and much more.

. . . . .

Tripling was apparently invented in south-eastern parts of Southern Africa.  It is “somewhere between cantering and galloping” — slightly slower than the latter.  There is, for riders, no bouncing or rising as with other gaits.  Unlike the others, instead of bouncing, riders glide as if driving a car.  Instead of leaning forward like conventional jockeys, they lean far back to discourage horses from breaking into a gallop.  It is hard to describe the gait.  Natural gaits are a walk, a trot (two-beat grounded diagonal feet), a canter and extended canter (three-beat diagonals), a pace (two-beat grounded laterals), and a gallop.  Tripling is an unnatural four-beat gait involving a foreleg trot and hind-leg canter.