On the 3rd of March 2009 a challenge was taken up by Karen McGowan on Jazz to
race Sasha Cooke, father of 2 Mbala pony clubbers and husband to Katherine who
used to compete in USA at point to points, on a fun day out at the farm in January.
Sasha is a very fit and talented man, having been a professional squash player, piano
player, sports and secondary teacher, he is always up for a challenge. So the date
was set for 3rd March for the “great race”.


A crowd gathered to enjoy a fun day out at the farm and offer their support to
“Vaulting for Malawi”. There were 2ndhand books and jods for sale, T shirts, horse
treats, refreshments and latterly burgers.

Vaulting drums were available for any one who wanted to have a go and three of
Malawi’s vaulting team gave a demonstration of their freestyle routines.


Sasha was given a 4 and a half minute start over a 6 km course covering all manner
of terrain. Up hill and down dale, stoney, muddy, sandy and boggy – a challenging
course for both man and horse!

One might think the horse would win of course, but there are places where he
cannot go fast, where it is slippery or stoney. This was also his first time to do
anything like this. However, the final spurt was much easier for Jazz than for
Sasha and Jazz just beat him by 17 seconds in a spectacular close finish. Sasha ran
the 6kms in 24 minutes which is amazing over such terrain, and Jazz in 19minutes.

After the race everyone gathered to watch a short vaulting display by 3 of the
Malawi Vaulting team on the drums and to enjoy burgers and good company in a
beautiful setting on the farm. We raised MK20,500 for “Vaulting for Malawi”
towards entering a team for the Inter Africa Cup in August this year. We would
like to that Sasha Cooke for being such a great sport, Jazz for being such a special
horse and all the parents and kids who came to enjoy a day the out on the farm.


If you have a challenge for us or want to do any fund raising for us, we would
greatly appreciate your support. You can have a great day out, be on our website
and help enable the vaulting kids to take a team to Swaziland this year to compete
against several other countries from Sub Saharan Africa.


Look out for our next challenge. The Mbala Pony Club and Vaulting kids from the
farm are challenging the Sir Harry Johnston International Primary School children
to a football match.


Contact Karen McGowan, Vaulting for Malawi - +265 (0)9 99918726 or +265 (0)1