"No hour of life is lost that is spent in the saddle on a horse" ~ Winston Churchill.
The specific horses used for our Horseback Adventure are strong, fit, comfortable and mountain bred on the reserve itself. They are handpicked through performance and are always kept reactive and prepared for cross country trailriding. The horses are trained and ridden in accordance to their daily work as highly effective farm horses and transport medium over long distances and very difficult terrain. Training methods and the specific riding discipline are steeped in Traditional South African Working Horse history. Detailed discussions and demonstrations are readily available throughout your vacation time spent here.
The various horse riding adventures traversing the reserve are rarely on marked roads, instead we go where no vehicle can, through thick bush and over mountainous terrain, at working speed. Exploring the 3500ha game reserve we encounter caves, cliffs, breathtaking scenery and during the rainy season, relax at waterfalls and cross several rivers.
It is very exciting to follow buffalo tracks to their hidden valley corners witch can only be done on horseback in these steep rocky hills, dense bush and canopied woods. Rhino, giraffe, zebra and blue wildebeest are also easily approached.
"I've spent most of my life riding horses. The rest I've just wasted." ~ Anonymous
Horseback Safari Packages Include
Your experience level is crucial to your safety and enjoyment of your equestrian adventure ride. If you cannot walk, trot and canter your own horse with complete control and authority in open spaces you cannot join any experienced or advanced rides. We suggest to try out our normal horseback safaris we offer for 1/2/3 hours. During the 2 night 3 day stay at the Lodge we include Breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as 2 Horseback Safari Outrides. The rides are between 3-4 hours and can be tailored to your request. The Equine Adventure outride in the morning departs after breakfast and includes a picnic lunch on a tranquil riverbank or from a breathtaking mountain top view. The Afternoon outride includes dinner (Bushbraai) in a peace full corner of the bush. During full moon the ride back to the stables is very special. All drinks except water are excluded and charged individually.
What to Expect & Bring on Your Horseback Safari Holiday
If you are an experienced rider you can expect a proffesional ride on well trained, responsive, mountain bred working horses. The terrain will be very difficult and the speed of the ride will be fast but responsable. For novice but experienced riders the ride will be adjusted and done seperately. On arrival your guide during your stay will discuss the outrides as well as departure times. Afternoon rides are expected to leave at 15:00 sharp to keep in mind for check in time at the Lodge at 14:00 although we advise arrival at 13:00 to ensure enough time for the briefing.
Bring along Riding attire for 2 days, that you are comfortable in. (Jodpurs, chaps or jeans. Going through thick bush so bring something sturdy), Safety riding helmet, if not we will provide, Sunscreen (factor 30 or higher), Camera (Any size welcome but with riding the smaller compact ones are best).
A Brief History
"A horse! A Horse! My Kingdom for a horse!" ~ William Shakespeare
Jan van Riebeeck needed horses to accomplish his tasks at the Cape of Good Hope. In 1653 The Dutch East-India Company brought Javanese ponies by sea to the Cape. These ponies were the first horses in Africa, south of the equator.
In the first 100 years only 42 horses were imported to the Cape, 25 stallions and 17 mares. They had to adapt to the untamed land, live off the savannah and survive without any additional food. Only the strongest survived.
200 years after the first horses were brought to the Cape, there were as many as 6000 horses in the Cape. These animals were tame, hardy and well adapted with strong hooves and an excellent constitution.
An important addition to the Cape horse were two freighters containing Andalusian horses which were intercepted during the Napolean war in 1807 en route to Buenos Aires, and delivered to the Cape.
The Andalusian horse is renowned for its excellent nature and attractive presentation and played an important role in the emergence of the Cape Horse.
When Charles Somerset was Governor of the Cape, the Cape Horse’s reputation as an outstanding war horse was well known. During this time many horses were exported to India and other countries, hence the first horse in Australia was the Cape Horse.
The legendary Basotho pony originated in 1826 in Lesotho as a result of barter and spoils of war. Due to the harsh climates, sparse grazing in winter in the mountains of Lesotho, only the strongest of these ponies survived.
In 1835 the Voortrekkers took many of the Cape Horses northwards with the ox wagon caravans. They played an unprecedented role in the development of the Transvaal, Orange Free State Republic and Natal.
During the Anglo-Boer war these horses were able to carry their riders for distances of 50 miles (80km) a day. The English horse could only average 30 miles a day in comparison. The English realised very quickly that they could not beat the Boer on their sturdier well adapted horses and purchased 50 000 horses in Basotholand and the Cape - horses of the same pedigree as the Boer’s horses. As a result the name “Cape Horse” disappeared and the horse is still referred to as the Boer Horse.
Towards the end of the war, to prevent the Boers from obtaining fresh horses, the English herded the remaining horses (breeding mares and foals) into corals and shot them. Some of these horses escaped and hid in inaccessible valleys. Loyal farm workers assisted in hiding them, and in that way valuable breeding stock was preserved.
Approximately 500 000 horses and mules were senselessly lost in the wars. Of these 100 000 were horses belonging to the Boer. This almost resulted in the extinction of the Cape Horse. After the war the Boer’s managed to track some of their surviving lifestock and today as a result we have the South Africa Boer horse and the Nooitgedachter.