With two bottles of wine from home, we stopped in Tulbagh and got pizzas from Pauls Pizza and set off for John and Jo's of Horse About. They offer trail rides, sunset rides and full moon rides. Having been on horses since 7am I was rather tired and not sure what to expect. We were met with friendly hellos from horses and humans and then we set off up the mountain. It was already 7:30pm and getting dark. When one of your main sense is cut off almost completely it is amazing how much more you feel and have to trust the horse you are riding!
The horses were amazing and not your trusty boerperds as one would expect for this type of job - they were thoroughbreds. Horses that had been discarded from two other equestrian disciplines. No longer ride-able, labelled as mad or just perhaps a little older. They have now all been given another chance in another career. One which they all seem to rather like. I guess for a horse walking up mountains, living out in huge camps with other horses and not having too much demanded of you cant be too bad. I just found it so great that these horses have been re-trained for the third time and once again have a purpose in life!
Being serious about competing and setting goals and schedules and practicing endlessly one can loose focus of why we started riding in the first place...for the love of the horse-thank you John and Jo for reminding me of how wonderful it is to just RIDE!!!
John and I have been working with a variety of horses for a lifetime and yet every day we experience or learn something new with our horses, they challenge us, teach us and frequently humble us by their willingness to take on new challenges. They also make us laugh and in this case make us wonder...
Our horses receive regular schooling to keep them fit and responsive on our trail rides. We avoid having brain washed horses that simply plod along nose to tail on the trail by keeping the schooling fun and varied.
On this particular afternoon my son took 3 of the horses - Commander, Sky and Thunder to the games field for some gymkhana work (great way to teach agility, suppleness and responsiveness). His plan was to ride one and leave the other 2 free to graze on the field. Which they usually do, they are completely familiar with the field. This worked fine when he rode Commander, but when he saddled up Sky and set off to warm her up first at a walk and then a trot, the geldings, Commander and Thunder, decided they wanted to take part too.
Being a warm day, I was pretty sure they would soon give up and return to grazing, but not a chance, they walked and trotted around behind Sky, doing whatever she was doing, change direction, circles... So Spike and Sky upped the ante a little and pushed in a canter, which started the games. Commander (now remember he had already been worked and the weather was hot) was not having little Sky beat him in a canter - while Thunder did extended trots, bucks and other antics not far behind. Even if they overtook for awhile - they would circle back to join Sky and Spike.. Commander in particular liked to be behind Sky or right next to her, Spike was able to lean over and pet him on his neck and back ..
Needless to say this turned into a fun play session, with all three horses and a human having fun alot of fun and learning.
For me it was a very special moment as it is such an incredible thing to see horses enjoying being with "their" human and enjoy some good old horse play!
John & Jo
We are the owners of horseAbout Trails & Adventures in the Western Cape.
“We left the premises with heart full of joy, love for these amazing horses and admiration for the lifestyle of John and his family.”