Ramblings about life on the Wild Coast, my horses, the horse trails - Wild Coast Horse Riding Adventures, my little guest house - Kei Mouth Guest Lodge, stuff that happens, how I feel, stuff that interests me or I like, the stories of my travels and the journeys I take.
Trail horses - what breed?
The best breeds for horse-riding holidays
Published: May 7, 2012 Last updated: May 8, 2012 by Nicky Hoseck
The SA Boerperd - a great trail horse
SA Boerperd, Geronimo, gives another client a great horseback adventure on the Wild Coast
Horse-riding holidays are a great way to explore new horizons and soak in the culture and countryside of a new destination. The opportunity to bond with a horse and enjoy an experience hand and hoof with an equine friend is often part of the appeal so ensuring the right horses are available is crucial to a successful trip.
Most companies have a selection of different horses and ponies in order to cater for all shapes and sizes of rider, as well as riders of differing standards. Many horse-riding holidays are aimed at competent riders so companies need to have well-trained, responsive horses that are also going to give their riders an exciting ride.
Within South Africa, the most popular breeds used for horse-riding holidays include Arabians and Arab crosses; Thoroughbreds and the local breeds of the Boerperd and the Nooitgedacht. While these native breeds tend to be quite small, their conformation makes them capable of carrying comparatively heavy riders which means they are versatile mounts suitable for children and adults alike.
Arabians are bred for their endurance and stamina but often have quite a flighty temperament which makes them unsuitable for less competent riders. By comparison, the Boerperd is a lively ride but usually quite dependable.
Heavier breeds of horses, such as Percheron or Shire crosses, sometimes struggle with the fast work involved in horse-riding holidays in certain environments and terrain. For example, their heavy weight makes working in soft sand a lot harder than it is for lighter breeds. Nevertheless, their strength and their ability to carry larger loads can prove invaluable for beginner or novice riders.
While there is no definitive answer to the question of the best breed for horse-riding holidays, the Boerperd definitely stands out as a versatile, comfortable and easy breed that is reliable and hard-working and capable of giving many different standards of rider a great experience.