Caring for our horses
Between safaris our horses stay relatively fit by living out in thousands of hectare of natural bush. During the good times, the whole 100-strong herd lives together, but during low rainfall years we split them into groups of 20 and send them to farms where there is still grass.
The herds form natural social bonds and because they are more comfortable within these familiar groups, they go on safari together too. They do a 10-night safari every six weeks or so between April and late October remaining fit between safaris by walking huge distances from grazing to water every day. All our horses spend the four/five months of off-season out in the bush, undisturbed.
While on safari horses are continually fed - even at night, and are groomed three times a day. Backs, legs, feet etc. are regularly checked and each horses has a mini-vetting at the end of the day to ensure they are fit for work the next day. Because injuries do occur, and young horses need more rest than experienced campaigners, we have several spare horses on safari which can be rotated. This is a tense time for those guests who, having fallen in love with their horse, wait in anticipation of their mount being given the green light to work the next day.
We are very lucky to have an expert saddle-maker on our team who has designed our new safari saddles specifically for purpose. They spread the riders weight evenly over a wide area yet leave the shoulder free to move naturally. Stirrups have been placed specifically to allow riders to stand and so ease the horses’ backs at regular intervals. Water panniers have been moved to the back of the saddle to not restrict the riders’ knees.
Wool and Mohair girths allow for maximum comfort and numnah’s are a combination of pure wool pads and specially folded blankets. There are all hand-washed without the use of chemical soap after each safari.
We use simple snaffle bridles or bit-less bridles where possible and each horse has its allotted bridle and saddle for the duration of the safari. All tack is cleaned throughly after each safari.