Only in PE – horses ‘vosho’ to gqom
“Our horses are so strong you would think they take supplements and they can do the vosho .”
This was announced by a police officer as the DJ cued in Impi by Jonny Clegg and the SAPS mounted unit showed off their slick foxtrot moves to the likes of Tipcee and Mlindo in Port Elizabeth on Thursday.
The 16-horse parade took centre stage when the animals were brought onto the field at the NU2 Stadium in Motherwell to greet and “salute” police minister Bheki Cele at the demonstrations for the SAPS Safer Festival Season operation.
That salute, a sort of bow that took the form of the vosho (a popular dance where you go down low and sometimes kick), was followed by a display of what makes the horses of the mounted unit crime-fighters of note – or high notes, as it turns out.
According to the programme announcer, the horses undergo extensive training and grooming which includes listening to all genres of music, including gqom – a music form which emerged out of Durban and has a strong bass beat.
“Our horses really love the attention, so don’t hold back. Give them a big cheer and round of applause,” urged the announcer.
And from there the display picked up pace with the horses’ first foxtrot being presented to the sounds of Amablesser by Mlindo, much to the delight of the crowd.
The horses galloped in a circular motion, later slowing down to a uniform trot going into their next formation.
“The horses move to the rhythm of the music and it takes hours to [train] them to do so – our horses have excellent listening skills,” the announcer said.
“Because of the height of the horses, it gives the rider a better view of what is going on.”
The horses are used in mountainous areas, on the beach, and in searching for missing persons in woodlands.
According to the SAPS official, the horses listen to gqom and other popular genres of music such as Afro soul and pop so as to get used to the sound and not be distracted during the pursuit of criminals.
But the most fascinating moment was when the horses started properly dancing.
They demonstrated a more upbeat foxtrot to Bhampa by Sphectacula and DJ Naves featuring Tipcee, and Gobisiqolo by Bhizer, featuring Busiswa.
Four horses then broke away from the rest, going into a modern dance formation.
The horses moved vigorously as they “made the circle bigger” and then smaller.
From there they foxtrotted back to the group, while one that seemed to enjoy the spotlight stayed behind doing a rhythmic trot to Gobisiqolo, with the crowd cheering on.
All proving that the SAPS mounted unit is hot to trot.
DANCING HORSES: Police horses strut their stuff as minister of police General Bheki Cele and national police commissioner General Khehla John Sitole launch the National Safer Festive Season anti-crime campaign in Motherwell