Thursday, 29 September 2011

Horseback Riding in Africa

The full dam next to the farm house
Winter on the Wild Coast...


The past winter months seem to have floated by; either in a haze of hectic-ness or totally chilled! There has been some really cold snaps - leaving snow on the distant mountains - and us beach bums shivering from the un accustom icy wind! And then a few days later we are back to the lazy balmy sunshine that we are use to.


Jamie and Puzzle trying out the water in the dam!
June was very laid back here at Sunray Farm, although we had some very heavy un-seasonal rain!  Our little muddy dam, grew to be a stunning mini lake with an island almost over night.  I was so excited - at last after such a long drought, we had enough water to swim the horses.  Our nearby city East London had major flooding with the Nahoon river coming down in full force - quite spectacular, but frightening at the same time.  I was very glad that we live on top of a hill!  This has been the wettest winter in recorded history! (we normally dont have rain in winter and have summer rain fall)


Nevertheless the horses got a bit of a break with only one work rider Jamie helping Amanda, and one small trail at the end of the month, we were all refreshed and ready to get going again.


Visitors from all over ...


Trails in July were very quiet, but we did have a lovely visit from Candice from Cheval D'Adventure.  We have recently gone onto their books and look forward to taking their riding clients on wonderful horse riding holidays.


July was school holidays, so the work riders were all kept pretty busy doing short beach rides for local holiday makers in Kei Mouth and Morgan Bay.  Elisa and Simon from Holland, Hannah Eaton and Laura Loi - Thanks for being with us and for all your help and hard work!


Steph Verney came back to us for a second visit in July - on our 6 month volunteer program, but sadly her Grandfather become very ill and she had to go home after 6 weeks, we were all so disappointed.  You are just going to have to try again Steph.....


Ashley rode his first Fauresmith 200km National Ride, and I went up for a few days to support him. (the tables have turned at last, he has groomed so many times!)  He rode for the Eastern Cape Young Riders team again in a very good time of 9 hours 48 and was placed 17th in the Young riders category   I am so very proud of him. He is on a winning streak at the moment, winning both 80km and 120km rides at FEI level and  also getting best conditioned horse awards.  


We had a lovely visit from Wendy  from Unicorn Trails and her friend Tania who is going to be writing travel articles about our horse trail along the Wild Coast.  It was great catching up - we have not seen each other for ages!  Danni - from Unicorn Trails - is bringing an escorted group to ride with us in October, so the Unicorn Team is all fired up and up to date with what we do and will be sending lots of riders to us this coming season.


Around the paddocks


We tragically lost Tassenberg. I was so heartbroken. He was one of our best and most popular trail horses. I had started riding him for myself, done an endurance ride on him and was training him as a lead horse.  During a trail he cut his back fetlock quite badly and in the weeks that followed developed a secondary infection.  This was treated and he was recovering, but him immunity was compromised and tragically, without warning we found him dead in the paddock one morning.  All indications were that he had got acute African Horse Sickness which caused sudden heart failure.  I miss him terribly.




Spring equals new beginnings


So September has arrived, the orange trees and Jasmine are all in full bloom and the heady scent has brought spring quickly to Sunray Farm.  We have 3 riders on our working riding holiday and they are having a great time.  Hannah Mitchell from Scotland has arrived for 6 months on our Volunteer program, so as usual I am kept busy coordinating and organizing.


I tell you what has been a really pleasant surprise is the sudden popularity of our 2 week Horse Riding Holiday at Sunray Farm!  Angelique (South African) is with us at the moment, and she will end her stay with a 3 night 4 day trail along the coast.  I have another lady booked to arrive on the 14th Sep and there are a couple of other ladies interested.  
Basically you stay with us at the farm, either in the guest room or in The Loft (depending on your budget), and get to do as much riding as you like, and be as involved with the horses as much as you like.  Its informal, and relaxed with riding at the farm (out rides and schooling/lessons) beach rides and riding at the game reserve.  It suits any level of rider, as the riding is tailored to suit each individual.   I was thinking of removing this option, but I am going to keep it available for now, and lets see if the interest grows??


Anyway, that is it in a nut shell for now.  Please leave a comment and share the blog with your friends!


Happy riding 
Julie-Anne