Horsing around the Wild Coast
When the sun rose at 5.30am over the serene hills of Cintsa, throwing its first rays into my bedroom at Newhampshire horse farm, and Ben Baxter was pounding his hooves impatiently against the empty feeding trough, a busy day began for the Dickerson family and their volunteers. After a quick shower and throwing on my riding gear, it was over to the main house for a cup of delicious coffee.
There are many choices of horse-riding holidays along the Eastern Cape coast, but none is as exhilarating as the four-week ‘work‘ vacation at Newhampshire Rehabilitation Centre.
I’m a German in my 70s and I love horses but I hadn’t ridden for six years. I wasn’t looking for a posh riding holiday at a five-star lodge
– I wanted to prove that I was still fit enough to enjoy horse-farm work.
From morning to evening the Dickersons and their volunteers care for up to 50 horses. Here’s what you have to do: feeding, cleaning, washing, spraying antitick agent, treating wounds, bridling and saddling, guiding and accompanying beach rides. The work also involves maintaining all the gear (head collars, bridles, harnesses, English saddles, trail saddles), hauling 40-kilogram feed bags and putting 25-litre water drums on the bakkie.
This is no business for wimps or spoilt pony princesses. Three weeks of volunteering at Newhampshire confirmed it.
I was still fit!
The absolute highlights were the trails through the beautiful landscape; walking or trotting over the rolling green hills down to the beach at Cintsa Bay and galloping across miles of sandy beaches. I sure took a ride on the Wild Coast!
– Siegfried Runge, Tanzania