A “Horse Congress?” Ha-ha. It’s true. (And I thought only members of Congress did the horsing-around!)
Anton Quisumbing — whom I’ve known for decades since he and my brother-in-law, Jake Mendez, and a group of others co-founded CEOBSA — is back with the annual sporting event.
It’s the 3-day horse show and competition with over 180 participants from Davao, Bukidnon, Cagayan de Oro, Dumaguete, Bohol, Clark, Masbate, Bacolod and Cebu.
“I coined the name, The Cebu Horse Congress and Festival, since it is the biggest gathering of horses, associations and clubs from all over the country,” Anton said.
There will be plenty of activities starting tomorrow until Sunday at the South Road Properties (SRP), at the vacant lot right beside the St. Pedro Calungsod Templete.
First, the races. There will be three types: the Barrel, the Obstacle and the Traditional Oval.
“Horse-racing has always been a favorite spectator sport. Unlike motor (car or bike) racing, the horse is only 1 horse power! And this where the H.P. of the engine derives it’s name from,” Anton said.
“To watch the horse and rider maneuver thru the obstacles, you will be able to see the seasoned riders and horses flawlessly and effortlessly.”
Here’s how the event will look like: Two riders of the same handicap (level) will race through a course (mirror courses); then, they switch after the 1st heat.. total of two heats per rider.
They’ll also offer the following classes: Class A (big horses), Class B (medium-sized horses) and Class C (“Bisaya class,” Anton says). “Very fun to watch,” he adds.
In the Barrel race, there are further divisions: expert, intermediate, novice, youth, auxiliary, royal and kiddies. There’s room for all horses and competitors.
The president of the Philippine Horsemen’s Federation, Anton explains that this weekend will not be all about horse-racing.
There’s also serious horse-talk. Expert speakers have been invited to talk about a variety of topics. For example, said Anton, “Horse-shoeing technicians from abroad will lecture about modern ways to shoe your horse.”
Also, as part of their advocacy, there’s a Program that allows Vet students to enroll and apply the 1-week activity as part of their Clinics, which is part of the Vet-med curriculum.
Topics, listed by Anton, include the following: (1) Horse handling/transport from Pier to venue thru a trailer or livestock transporter; (2) Animal health management before/ during and post event; and (3) Processing of travel documents and inspection of papers/ permits. (Dr. Alice Utlang of the Cebu City Veterinary Office is heading this weeklong program.)
Several instutitions will also be busy joining this weekend, among them: the PVMA (Philippine Veterinary Medical Association), Cebu City Veterinary and Fisheries Department, Department of Agriculture Region 7 Quarantine dept and Livestock Dept., Visayan State University (VSU), SouthWestern University (Vet dept) and more.
Thus, the term, “Horse Congress.” Spearheading this event is, of course, CEOBSA — which stands for the Cebu Equine Owners Breeders Sportsmen’s Assocation — an organization that started in 1997. Since their founding year, they’ve organized the annual Horse-racing competition.
CEOBSA is assisted by two city-led groups: the Cebu City Sports Commission, headed by Ed Hayco; and the Cebu City Tourism Commission.
“The Horse Congress and Festival will help promote sports in the grassroots and will help promote sports-tourism, eco-tourism and animal welfare awareness,” adds Anton.
Finally, and as a way of inviting the Cebuano public this weekend at the SRP, the owner of the Big Q Farm — Anton Quisumbing — says: “This is the biggest horse event in the Philippine Horsemen’s Circuit.. it is the Kick of the year. Entrance is free. Plus, for the kids (at minimal fees), there will be pony rides!”