Horse and Pony Riding!
The Northern Horse offers amazing horse-riding outings into the Drakensberg mountains.
We, Mic and Lindsay Du Plessis, took on the running of Montusi Lodge’s stables in 2008.Having returned from our great overseas adventure we saw the potential to develop our stables into a truly special organization where loved horses would carry guests into the wild places.Mic’s experience at the Rugged Glen Stables under the military-style system of the old Park’s Board and Lindsay’s experience of growing up in the stables of The Cavern Berg Resort gave us both a grounding that we extended grooming eventing horses in a beautiful yard in England.On our travels, we also sampled other horse-riding operations in New Zealand, Argentina, The Republic of Ireland, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Lesotho, Swaziland and South Africa’s own Wild Coast.We decided our situation was perfect for a trail company that would showcase our amazing landscape, people and horses…And here is The Northern Horse!
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We have about 20 horses in our herd. Some old, some very young, some short and stout, some tall and lean, some dopey, some spritely, but all living together in a natural herd. They graze our vast estate, roaming between their favorite patches of juicy grass in the summer months to congregating around sweet-smelling bales of top quality hay in the winter. They are barefoot and are allowed to develop their fluffy winter coats. They live a natural life that very few working horses get to enjoy.
As there is such a large herd to choose from, they are not over-worked. The team can easily be rotated to ensure everyone has a rest if needed.
We have had a successful breeding program in the last few years, which has resulted in about 30 foals. We find that horses that are born and bred in the area tend to manage the steep terrain, rocky ground, dry winters and diseases much better than those introduced to the area. Through a long history of this breeding, we have a herd of strong, sure-footed trail horses. Most of our foals have grown into wonderful trail horses and have remained with us, or in this area. When training our babies we use the methods of the Horse Gentler (Parelli, Roberts, etc) as our basis. Thus the stress and trauma involved in training the horse are lessened, making a happier, calmer horse. We also only start training the babies in their third year and begin proper trails when the horses are four.
Origin: Bought from the Tower of Pizza in 2001
Height: 15.3 Hands / 161 cm
Personality: Koos is a steady, reliable worker, who suits all kinds of rider. He is an easy ride: with beginners, he is content to stay in line at a walk; and with the experienced rider, he has it in himself to do some good running. Among the other horses, he considers himself very important and always has to be second in line on the trails. He is a perfect trail horse as he does not like to go off alone.
Origin: Bought as a wild filly from a farmer in Estcourt in 2001
Born: Unknown, probably 1999
Height: 15 Hands / 154 cm
Personality: Lollipop is a sweet little mare that came to us after running wild for almost her whole life. It took over a year to get her suited to the trail, and even then we reserved her for experienced riders. After the birth of her foal, she calmed dramatically, so much so that she is regularly used for beginners. She’s not easily caught and keeps us on our toes as she can jump the food-stalls from a standstill and often ends up with her head in the feed storage room!
Origin: Acquired from the Cavern in 2004
Breed: Anglo Arab cross
Height: 15.2 Hands / 158 cm
Personality: Chinook is the fastest horse in the stable. She is amazingly strong but likes to stick with the herd. In the paddock, she goes with the flow and doesn’t cause any trouble. Under saddle she continues to conform: When the rest of the riders are placidly walking on the trail so does she, but if we up the pace, even slightly, she gets very excited and keen to race. She makes a fun ride for the competent rider on experienced rides but is also good for the beginners on an all-walking ride.
horses jikijela grazing
Origin: Bought as a stallion from the AmaZizi Tribal Area in 2007
Born: Unknown, probably 2002
Breed: Mix, with a hint of Friesian
Height: 15.1 Hands / 156 cm
Personality: Jikijela is an interesting young horse. He arrived at the stables very full of himself, snickering at every passing female. He had several fights with Koos and Malfoy until he crowned himself king. This didn’t last long as we soon had him castrated and he settled with being one of the Main Boys, if not the Alpha (who remains Malfoy). Under saddle Jikijela has become one of our best trail horses: he is strong and reliable with beginners but is an enjoyable ride for the more experienced rider.
horses cayman and moon
Origin: Chinook’s son
Breed: Anglo Arab cross
Personality: Cayman is warily willing. He has become a lovely trail horse, with a penchant for speed. This makes him rather exciting on experienced outings. If the ride stays quiet so does he.
Origin: Born to Thora, a Northern Mare.
Height: 13.3 Hands / 141 cm
Personality: Lambert’s dopey looks belie a sneakily cheeky nature. He often sidles up to the grooms while they are busily preparing for a ride and nibbles on anything from a sleeve to an arm! He hasn’t quite grasped the concept of personal space and thinks nothing of walking into people. He has turned out to be a really good trail horse, except for his annoying kicking habit – if the horse at his rear gets too close, he lets them know!