Friday, June 22, 2007

The Joys the Wild Coast has to Offer.

Well, I've less than a week left in South Africa and I've had an absolute ball. The current group of work riders plus one staff and the proprietor of Wild Coast Horse Trails have just been out on a trail for five days. The trip in a nutshell? We rode from Kei Mouth to Trennery's to Wavecrest, along the Eastern Coast of South Africa.

Consequently, you see a lot of sand and surf! Two nights are spent at each place in gorgeous rooms on the beach. The trail involved around 3-5 hours in the saddle each day, long canters up hills and across the beach; a gorgeous gallop and lots of breath taking scenery - a ship wreck, sand dunes, rocks, hills and beach, cliffs and valleys and South African culture.

Before the trail I had the time to ride 15 of the horses here - up roads working on fitness; on trails round the 400 hectare property and at the beach and school horses in flat and jumping - what a great riding experience!

I also got to work with a foal that was born the night I arrived, work with weanlings, yearlings and stallions; free lunge endurance horses and learn Join Up and start two 3 year old mares under saddle. Oh, and I've raided an impressive horse library here, making note of a half-dozen must haves for my collection and have read five books while here - relaxing!

Yesterday we got to go to the Inkwenkwezi Game Reserve and saw warthog, giraffes, a rhino, many types of antelope, lions, ostriches, wildebeast, kingfisher, elephants and finished up playing with cheetah and lion cubs - just gorgeous. Photos to follow when I get home!

For the horse riding enthusiast, you can't pass this working/riding holiday up!

"Good horses make short miles."

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Ask and You Will Receive

One of the horse's I've ridden and watched closely while here in South Africa is a piebald mare rising four years old, who was backed (put under saddle) last November. Partly her temperament and breeding can be attributed to this responsive young animal. The other instigator? The backing method here is along the lines of Monty Robert's classic 'Join Up'.

I was curious to hear this as for my next adventure, I want to be just above Australia; helping out at Tiwi College and helping with 2,000 or so wild horses on the islands. The man I know linked in with the Tiwi College plans has informed me they use the Monty Roberts' method for young people from broken homes so suddenly this way of doing things has my attention twofold.

I commented how I was disappointed that I couldn't see this process carried out before I went home from South Africa and suddenly the proprietor was on the phone to friends and days later, we had two mares about 3 years of age, barely handled to practice Join Up with.

Four days into the process (working with each mare for about an hour each day) and we have been on the chestnut mare twice, having her happily walk and trot around under saddle with a rider in the saddle. The bay mare we started under saddle today and she took things well.

It has been amazing to see all the signs these gorgeous animals give off in regards to body language and submission. Sometimes it's very subtle, other times it's as if their whole body is shouting, "please, let me be friends. I'd rather be with you than away."

Now both have been amazingly quiet in accepting the saddle, but just so you know - it took hours to get a head collar on both mares and a long time to get them into a lunging ring to be able to start the process. Oh, and the bay mare loves to bite - anything within her reach and the ears go flat back and the teeth are bared - she is obviously the dominant one of the pair. And go figure, only by asking have we been able to get a saddle on her so quickly. Amazing.

"It is easier to attach reins to a freight train and practice pulling to a halt than it is to slow down some of our horses."

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Friday, June 01, 2007

Calling All Bloodstock Wannabes

So I've signed up to receive news from William Inglis, a rather large bloodstock setup here in Australia and thought I'd share one of the emails as it's regarding a 12 month position with the Inglis crew.

So if you're interested in/wanna learn about "an excellent opportunity to gain an understanding of the workings of William Inglis & Son... spending 12 months gaining experience in all facets of the company," take a look at the William Inglis and Son Internship.

"Time will be predominantly spent within the bloodstock sector of the firm, while the opportunity to work within the company’s marketing, leasing and insurance divisions, will offer this person a succinct knowledge and thorough understanding of the runnings of a respected auctioneer/bloodstock agency."

They have setups in Newmarket, New South Wales and at Oaklands Junction, Victoria, Australia and applications are due in by October 26, 2007.

"Whoever said that money cannot buy happiness didn't know where to buy a horse."

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