Horse Riding in South Africa.
Horse riding is fantastic partly because horses are the most amazing animals. They weigh in at over half a ton, they have big teeth and hard hooves backed by powerful leg muscles, but they joyously join with us in a partnership that is certainly to our benefit, even though it’s hard to see what the horse gets out of it – other than the odd carrot or apple. Whatever their motivation, horses happily cart people around through some of the most amazing scenery. South Africa has some of the best imaginable horse trails – both short and long. While horse riding is pure pleasure in itself, it is also a fabulous way to get to some spectacular places. It is one of those situations where the end and the means are equally pleasurable.
You can go for a short, exhilarating canter on a horseback beach ride (which is one of the things you have to do before you die) or you can ride out in the mountains while enjoying the spectacular scenery. In the Cape Winelands, you can even do wine tasting on horseback. (Well, you get off the horse to actually taste the wine, but you get the picture.) You can go horse riding through interesting trails along the coast in Maputaland in Kwazulu-Natal and the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape – and the best part is that you get to meet interesting local people. In KZN you can also ride among the historical battlefields and relive a bit of history.
If you have never been astride a horse then it is advisable to go for a few horse riding lessons before galloping off into the sunset. Instructors will show you how to saddle up the hose, how to mount (and help you up if you just can’t get into that saddle), and accompany you along a short, gentle walk.
The best thing of all about horse riding is that you can ride among wild animals, which is a truly elemental experience. The best part about riding with game is how close you can get to them. If you give your horse a long rein and let it graze it can – over a short while – amble right up to impalas, zebras and even buffalos and elephants with absolute impunity, looking to all the world like just another herbivore. Or you can gallop off en masse in the general vicinity of a grazing herd who will then – more often than not – join in just to make sure that they also escape whatever it is that you are running from. This is probably the best way in the world to see game – to be one of the herd. Hmm. But remember in reserves where there are lions being one of the herd does carry a bit of a risk as you can be classified by predators as potential dinner. It all adds to the adrenaline, though.
Whether you’re after a horse riding adventure holiday where you spend the whole day on horseback, or just want to spend an exhilarating few hours on a ride, horse riding is an activity not to be missed.