The South African Equestrian Federation Hall of Fame will be continuously be updated with new members. This is our opportunity to recognise the exceptional achievements and services of our members in Equestrian Sport.
Ernst Holtz is one of the stalwarts of equestrian sport in South Africa. He was born and raised in South West Africa and moved to South Africa in the 1950’s. Ernst competed in various equestrian disciplines, including Eventing, for which he was the first rider to earn Springbok colours in South Africa.
Ernst got married in 1964 and moved to Johannesburg. It was soon after that when he got involved not only as a rider but also in equestrian administration and judging. He served on the Transvaal Horse Society committee as Chairman. He was also the President of SANEF. Mr Holtz became the first Chairman of The Group of African Countries created by the FEI.
His dedication to the sport saw him also serving on the International Dressage Technical Committee. He was honoured with the SA National Sport Merit Award by the Prime Minister of South Africa.
(4 August 1937 – 31 July 2022)
Anneli was born in Scotland on 4 August, 1937, and died on 31 July 2022, just days short of her 85th birthday. The daughter of Lady Margaret Drummond-Hay (née Douglas-Hamilton), daughter of the 13th Duke of Hamilton, and James Drummond-Hay, learned to ride on polo ponies. She started competing at an early age with her 12.2hh pony Spider.
At 16, she won the Pony Club European Championships. In 1957 she bought a yearling whom she named Merely-a-Monarch, and in 1961 they won the very first Burghley Horse Trials. The next year, they won Badminton by a record margin. Merely-a-Monarch was by the thoroughbred stallion Happy Monarch.
With women not allowed to compete in Olympic eventing, Anneli switched to showjumping, and within two months of her Badminton victory, she was competing at the Royal International Horse Show with remarkable success and making her presence felt within the showjumping arena. At this time Merely-a-Monarch was already an A-grade showjumper.
With the inclusion of women on eventing teams in time for the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, Anneli found herself shortlisted for all three disciplines, the only equestrian to ever do so. She was also shortlisted for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico before having to rescind her dreams of competing on the Olympic stage when she became the first equestrian to secure a major sponsorship deal which resulted in her being seen as a professional and therefore ineligible.
Anneli moved to South Africa in 1971, running and teaching at Penny Place Stables in Johannesburg. She won the South African Derby on Storm Finch in 1982 and 1992. She also competed for South Africa in the World Equestrian Games in 1994.
She was inducted into the British Horse Society Hall of Fame in 2010; Monarch had been inducted in 2005.
Annelil’s legacy will live on with the number of women she has inspired over the decades to not only ride, but to never give up on their dream. Her autobiography, Merely A Rider, was published in April 2022.
At age 79, she was still competing on her horse, Apollo, and regularly placing in the top three. In 2022, she published her autobiography, Merely A Rider.
Anneli is survived by her husband, Trevor Bern. Our thoughts are with him and the rest of her family.
Some of her remarkable achievements:
- She won both Badminton and the first ever Burghley Horse Trials and was second five times.
- She changed to show jumping and won many Grand Prix competitions including Brussels, Geneva, S’hertogenbosch, Paris, Berlin, Toronto, Chile, Luxembourg, Monaco, Madrid, Mexico, Amsterdam, South Africa, Palermo and Great Britain. She was second in Aachen, Rotterdam and the La Baule Grand Prix.
- She won the Rome Derby on two occasions, the Hickstead Derby, the Geneva Derby, the Berlin Derby and the South African Derby twice.
- She toured America and won the Grand Florida Championship, The Madison Square Garden’s Championship and the All-American Showjumping Championship.
- She represented Great Britain for 14 years on the Olympic Nations Cup Team and was awarded the FEI Badge of Honour.
- She won the European Show Jumping Championship.
- Was British Sportswoman of the year three times and South African Sportswoman of the Year eight times
- Awarded the “Premio Caprilli” by the Italian Equestrian Federation for her outstanding achievements.
- Awarded the “Golden Spurs” by the French Federation in conjunction with the Cadre Noir for her contribution to show jumping.
- Won the FEI/Samsung World Challenge on four occasions.
- She holds the ladies’ world high jump record at 2.36 meters, set with the horse Sporting Ford.
- The only rider to be shortlisted at Olympic Level in Dressage, Showjumping and 3 Day Eventing for the same Olympic Games.