[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s we head into the silly season, many of us are thinking of ways to spoil our loved ones, or how to spend our free time over the holidays. As horse lovers, of course we’d like to add a touch of equine interest to the event, so the HQ team decided to draw up a wish list of things we’d like to see in our ‘stocking’ this Christmas.
There’s something special about giving art as a gift, particularly if it’s personalised. Several South African artists specialise in equestrian work and can be commissioned to paint a much-loved horse. Photoshoots have also become popular, with many photographers offering increasingly creative themes to capture the special bond between horse and rider. A sculpture is equally desirable – particularly when it’s big enough to set a scene in your home.
When it comes to gifts, these days the sky is pretty much the limit, particularly in terms of personalisation. Companies like Horse Stuff make it easy to create horsey prints and personalised name plates. You can also ‘horsify’ ordinary items like diaries, calendars, cellphone covers and anything else that you can imagine – we found some fun ideas in the Macaroon idea gallery.
Other creative ideas include designing jewellery using your horse’s mane or tail hair – the team at Heart Strings create beautiful pieces by combining braided horse hair with silver fittings and charms. For a practical touch, monogrammed numnahs, daysheets, blankets and earmuffs are a hit – Red Dapple does a great job.
If ready-to-go is your style, you’ll find a wealth of choices at your favourite tackshops – and they certainly deserve our support over the holiday season. We found a lovely range of Breyer ponies and accessories at Midfeeds, gorgeous crystal encrusted stocks, hairbuns and hairpins at Equestrian Diva, horseshoe bracelets at tackshop.co.za, and funky tog bags at tackshack.co.za. In addition to gifts and other equestrian must-haves, Western Shoppe has a range of Christmas bunting, bags and gift tags so you can make sure your presents are suitably wrapped.
For the industrious, there’s so much you can do with old tack that you might find yourself loath to part with it. Having said this, consider donating your old gear to equine charities who use it for outreach work – the Highveld Horse Care Unit, Eastern Cape Horse Care Unit, Coastal Horse Care Unit and Society for Animals in Distress would be delighted to hear from you.
Browbands, flysprays, recycled rosettes and repurposed bits or spurs – when it comes to DIY, the internet is rich with ideas. We scoured the web and found so much inspiration on Pinterest and similar sites that we’ve decided to run regular features on ways to flex your creative muscles horsey-style! Catch the next issue of HQ for the first instalment!
Festive fun with the Lippies
Few of us who live in Gauteng can imagine a festive season without a visit to the South African Lipizzaners in Kyalami. Every year the team puts on a series of shows designed to captivate the whole family – whether they’re riders or not. This season the team has 12 events planned from 5 to 23 December, riding to the accompaniment of the Welsh Male Choir, with activities for kids to join.
Horses and style at the Le Kap Lifestyle Fair
The birth of the Le Kap Lifestyle Fair three years ago added a new December fixture to the equestrian calendar. Hosted on 5 December at Webersburg Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, the event teams with Lamborghini to feature a full range of luxury lifestyle elements from vehicles to fashion, food and wine. Equestrians will love the horse activity, including six-bar jumping and dressage freestyles. This year the fair will include live entertainment with an all-women instrumental pop group, Sterling EQ. Fashionistas will have a chance to strut their stuff for a best-dressed prize.
A lot of equestrians might be interested to know that southern Africa is considered to have some of the best riding vacations in Africa – pretty impressive when you consider that thousands of tourists flock to the continent every year for the privilege of viewing our country first-hand – while many of us locals are too busy riding our own horses to explore this option! Now might be the perfect opportunity to get in touch with nature on the back of a horse, and we have the additional option of planning out-of-season trips to enjoy the ride more affordably.
Safari riding at Pakamisa
For close encounters with game, riding safaris are one of the best options as they seem more comfortable with the presence of horses than vehicles. Featured in HQ91, Pakamisa Lodge offers game viewing on well-schooled, well-cared-for horses in your choice of English or endurance tack. Accommodation is luxurious and dining is sumptuous, while a multitude of activities.
For more riding safaris, cruise over to ridesonthewildside.com.
If you prefer not to walk on the wild side, you may love a ride through the vineyards of Cape Town. For years the team at Cape Winelands have been offering rides through award-winning wine estates with stops en route to taste the wine and cuisine of the area. On-site farm accommodation is available, or you can opt for a boutique experience.
Another venue featured in HQ (issue 98), Dunkeld Equestrian Centre, situated in the town of Dullstroom, has drawn a growing number of fans from the horsey community thanks to their showjumping events and fun days. Boasting top-notch facilities, including a Klopf fibre arena, the centre provides access to hours of uninterrupted outrides. Timeshare and hotel accommodation are available, allowing you to take a decent break, and there are plenty of activities in the area for non-riding family members, including trout dams on the estate for anglers.