Galloping across the endless beaches with your heartbeat matching your horses’ hooves thundering over the pristine sand is an adrenaline rush second to none! This week we’re falling in love with the horses on the Wild Coast.
South Africa offers a kaleidoscope of amazing landscapes to be explored on horseback! Riding on the Wild Coast is like riding on the edge of the world – the horses are fit and the pace is fast and exciting! Rolling hills, deep gorges, and cliff tops that plunge into the ocean ensure that this is not just a beach ride; it is an adventure! Galloping across the endless beaches with your heartbeat matching your horses’ hooves thundering over the pristine sand is an adrenaline rush second to none!
Africa is waiting – join us for an epic trail ride on the Wild Coast
TAZMAN – The comedian
Tazman is the comedian of our herd. He is a handsome bay and has a beautiful canter with a very fast gallop. He’s always been a popular trail horse and was ridden on a trail by Ingrid Klimke (German eventer) who fell in love with him. He loves attention and catching your eye– don’t leave anything near him or it’s picked up and given a good shake. Whenever he sees his saddle he always does a full cat stretch before you can put it on. He adores the beach and can often be heard to let out an excited squeal at the start. A couple of years ago Julie-Anne’s son took him to complete a series of endurance races where he did very well – galloping his heart out. Since coming back to the trails, one of the guides has fallen in love with him and he is generally her lead horse. He enjoys this role, though still hasn’t got over his fear of baby goats (adults are fine)- which we come across quite a lot in the Transkei!
🐴 Name: Tazman
🐴 Height: 15.2hh
🐴 Breed: Anglo-Arab
🐴 Gender: Gelding
🐴 Age: 10
🐴 Colour: Bay
🐴 Personality: Cheeky
🐴 Quirk: Too many to list, but the squeal is the funniest!
🐴 Suitable for: Mostly used as a guide horse now
🐴 Best trait: Sense of humour
🐴 Worst Trait: Fear of baby goats
TROY – The Trojan Horse
Troy was a surprise! His mum arrived at the farm and he came too – hidden inside her! Hence his name – after the Trojan Horse. Troy is a very popular trail horse and has a ton of character. He is forward but sensible and knows his job back to front. Anyone that rides him on trail has a great time from novice up to experienced as he looks after his rider and loves to be up near the front. He is often requested by people on return visits because they loved him so much the first time. Troy loves cantering through the waves and splashing about in the water. If the lead horse gets stuck at a river we know that Troy will lead the way through (only hesitating to play in the water for a few minutes)
When he’s chilling at home you can always find him with his brother Twain – often looking like mirror images from a distance! The horses live out 24/7 in huge fields, but get fed 3 times a day (and are always waiting at the fence for food and cuddles) The team has also learnt not leave too much lucern out for him to graze on as he really doesn’t know when to stop and they are convinced he’d just keep eating till he exploded – despite his slim physic!
🐴 Name: Troy
🐴 Height: 15.3hh
🐴 Breed: Thoroughbred
🐴 Gender: Gelding
🐴 Age: 13
🐴 Colour: Bay
🐴 Personality: Trail expert
🐴 Quirk: Knows his job and looks after whoever rides him. Loves to be second – but never first!
🐴 Suitable for: Anyone but especially someone that likes a forward horse but might be a little bit nervous
🐴 Best trait: Kind horse and lots of fun to ride
🐴 Worst Trait: Eating. He’s a slim horse but would keep eating till he burst if we let him!
TRADE WINDS aka Poppet
Poppet comes from a long line of trail horses and was bred on the farm. She was bred to be an endurance horse, but is a tad on the small side, so was annexed by the trail team and found her place. Her grandmother, Flower, was there right at the beginning of Wild Coast Horse Trails. Her Uncle Tuwaisan is a lead horse and her mother Tarika is also a seasoned trail legend. They are a very close-knit family often found grazing in the field together and Poppet has followed in their hoof steps by becoming a talented trail horse too.
Her real name is Trade Wind but as a foal she was so tiny compared to all the others she was often called a ‘real poppet’. Now, even though she has grown up, the nickname has stuck and that is how she is introduced to everyone with her tack labelled “777Poppet” too. She adores people and cuddles and will spend hours having attention from guests especially if she gets to lick their hands! Not so keen on other horses, she can be very grumpy at feeding time and doesn’t like any horse to get too near her stall – snorting like a little dragon if they do. The only horses she doesn’t do this to are her mum and uncle who she adores.
🐴 Name: Tradewinds AKA Poppet
🐴 Height: 14.3hh
🐴 Breed: Arab
🐴 Gender: Mare
🐴 Age: 7
🐴 Colour: Bay
🐴 Personality: Friendly and forward
🐴 Quirk: Absolutely loves licking people’s hands!
🐴 Suitable for: Smaller rider, who loves a sensible Arab
🐴 Best trait: Loves people and cuddles
🐴 Worst Trait: Being a bit grumpy with the horses in the stalls next to her at feeding time
ECLIPSE – The character
Eclipse is a real character at Wild Coast Horse Riding Adventures. A mix of Friesian, Arab and Boerperd he’s also a bit of a stunner with a rather wild and shaggy mane and tail! He loves to think he’s in charge when out on rides of both of his rider and the other horses, having very strong opinions about where he should be going and where he should be in the group. Eclipse arrived when he was about two – and after backing him at around 4, for a long time they weren’t sure if he would make a suitable trail horse. He didn’t seem to get it and couldn’t find his extended canter or gallop. Trails would race down the beach and Eclipse would be miles behind cantering his heart out but not going very far. However, it all suddenly clicked and now try leaving him behind! Eclipse is now a very popular horse on the 7-night trail providing lots of laughs with his attitude, jogs to the front of the ride and impatience when made to stand still for a photograph. He is always matched with someone who says they appreciate a horse with character and guides are always happy when they get the chance to ride him. Three days into the trail is his favourite spot – every time they walk down a wooded slope to the beach Eclipse stops, reserves back up to a certain tree and has a good scratch. It always takes the rider by surprise and gives the guides a good laugh.
🐴 Name: Eclipse
🐴 Height: 14.3hh
🐴 Breed: Boerperd / Arab / Fresian mix
🐴 Gender: Gelding
🐴 Age: 8
🐴 Colour: Black
🐴 Personality: Cheeky fidget
🐴 Quirk: Likes to herd the other horses and lead the way
🐴 Suitable for: Anyone that likes a bit of personality and a horse with an opinion
🐴 Best trait: Loads of personality and really comfortable ride
🐴 Worst Trait: Fidgeting and pretending he’s grumpy, but give him a good scratch and he’s yours.
OTHER FAVOURITE TRAIL HORSES
HORSE CARE ON THE WILD COAST
There are just over 40 horses with around 30 of them being currently active. Many of them are homebred, but over the last few years, Julie-Ann and her team have adopted horses that need new homes. All the horses get holistic training, both on the ground and under the saddle to build confidence and responsiveness. They are well equipped to cope with different situations and handle the ever-changing terrain that that Wild Coast offers boasts – from rocky cliffs, empty beaches and scenic rolling plains.
All the horses live out, being able to roam a good few kilometres and are cared for in a holistic way. They are usually waiting at the gate to be fed in the morning despite being free-range! Every morning they get breakfast, cuddles, treats and a good groom and check over to make sure they all in the best health. Horses not on trail go back into the huge grass paddocks to roam again while the rest get tacked up with their own marked bridles and fitted saddles. Trails are usually 7 days and they are set up with large fields at all the trail stops so they can have a good roll and graze when not being ridden. They get a top-up of hard feed and lots of lucern in the afternoon and evening. After a week’s trail they get at least one weeks rest. They also have a holiday field where the horses can have a few weeks break and enjoy time with the retired horses (many of the family)
Meet the horses on the Wild Coast Trail Ride