Abelana Horse Safaris is extremely proud of its herd of 12 wonderful horses, lovingly assembled over a number of years by Tamlyn Whitebread. All boys, and all “barefoot” (they’re unshod), each horse brings its own, unique personality to the herd, along with its experience and schooling. So, let’s find out more about these amazing creatures, their backgrounds and what makes them so special…
This 16-year old dark bay Boerperd-Nooitgedacht cross is a stallion, but without the attitude that normally goes with stallions! Originally from Potchefstroom, he stands at 15 hands high and Tamlyn bought him in Mussina. He’s chilled and although not a lead horse he’s wonderful with guests, looking after them well.
A 10-year-old dark bay Percheron-Thoroughbred cross, Jack is the tallest horse in the Abelana herd, at 16 hands. He comes from Hoedspruit, just down the road from Abelana and has made himself at home on the reserve. He’s the herd’s “weight carrier” and is ideal for heavier riders, being a solid, steady ride.
Found by Tamlyn in Magoebaskloof, high up in the northern Drakensberg escarpment, this 15,2 hand Appaloosa is 14 years old and hates being tied up. “We think he’s a little bit claustrophobic,” says Tamlyn. “But he’s a wonderful ride and takes good care of our guests!”
Diago (AKA the Bulldozer)
A Boerperd-Friesian cross, Diago is a solid 15,3 hands high. He was hand-reared as his mother died when he was a baby and was raised with a Shetland pony as his best friend. Bay in colour with some white markings, he’s one of Tamlyn’s lead horses now and is a big favourite with the guests who love his larger-than-life personality.
Bo stands out in a crowd thanks to being a palomino, but this nine-year-old Boerperd- Saddler cross is a petite 15,1 hands, making up in temperament what he lacks in size. He’s a lead horse and a firm favourite with guests. He also plays a lead role in the herd, even though he’s not a stallion! Bo the boss? You bet!
This seven-year-old pure-bred bay Boerperd comes in at 15,2 hands high. He’s Tamlyn’s “forever” horse. “He fell in the horse box when I went to fetch him from the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands,” recalls Tamlyn. “I vowed then and there, standing at the side of the busy highway trying to get him upright, that if we succeeded, I would never sell him,” she laughs. “We managed to get him out and reload him, and so he’s with me for the rest of his days now!” He’s a sensitive but lovely ride and very athletic.
A dark dun Boerperd, Mauser is 10 years old and is solid as a rock. He’s a firm favourite with guests who love his quiet attitude and relaxed nature. Riding him can sometimes be a challenge though, because he loves rolling in mud, and needs a firm hand to get him past even the smallest puddle! An otherwise dependable ride, Tamlyn can crack a bullwhip next to him while riding and he doesn’t even flinch!
This nine-year-old dark bay Boerperd comes from a stud in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands and stands 15,1 hands high. He’s been nicknamed “His Royal Highness” after the HRH stud brand on his hindquarters. He’s got a face that resembles a naughty little schoolboy caught doing something he shouldn’t do and is a solid, dependable and enjoyable ride.
An Arab-Boerperd cross, Gordon used to be called Sam and is a former endurance horse. He’s around 16 years old, is a chestnut and stands 15,3 hands high, hailing originally from the Free State. “He rides like the wind,” says Tamlyn. “He’s very fast and agile, and absolutely wonderful to ride.”
This red Appaloosa is named after the red star at the heart of the constellation of Taurus. He’s five years old and is extremely dependable in spite of his young age. He’s one of the smoothest rides and guests are loving him. Out in the bush he’s working well and has a bright future ahead of him!
The rock star of the Abelana herd with his flowing forelock and good looks, Shiraz is a dark bay Boerperd from the Northern Cape. Standing at 15,3 hands high he’s only four years old and joined Abelana Horse Safaris very recently, having made an epic cross-country journey with Tamlyn from Augrabies to Hoedspruit! He’s got a fabulous temperament and is a lovely ride.
Raka Raka came to Abelana with Shiraz, his friend who he grew up with. Another dark bay Boerperd with a white star on his forehead, he’s 15,2 hands high and extremely athletic. At five years old he’s a lovely smooth ride and stands out with his magnificent flowing mane (although it’s uncertain how long it will last in the bush given how he loves rubbing against trees!)