We currently have about 16 horses in our herd. Some old, some young, some short and stout, some tall and lean, some dopey, some spritely, but all living together in a natural herd. They graze our vast estate, roaming between their favourite patches of juicy grass and scrub. They are bare-foot and are allowed to develop their fluffy winter coats. They live a natural life that very few working horses get to enjoy.
As there is such a large herd to choose from, they are not over-worked. The team can easily be rotated to ensure everyone has a rest if needed.
The Northern Horse stable was established first under Montusi Mountain Lodge in 1998. The original crew were brought with the Carte family when we migrated down here from The Cavern Berg Resort. These horses were the descendants of the original Cavern herd, grown and established over 50 years! We still have a couple of their descendants on our team!
The “old guard”:
Boerperd Cross, gelding
Koos came over from The Tower of Pizza in 2001. Luckily for us, another buyer was unable to load him on their truck and so the original owners decided they needed a local buyer for him. Loretta (who was running the stables at the time) snapped up this handsome dapple grey, with strong shoulders and a straight back and we’ve been forever grateful! He has been the most lovely trail horse and he even survived African Horse Sickness! 20 years on, he has been retired from general riding and now only takes pony rides or an occasional beginners walk.
Anglo-arab Cross, mare
Chinook was born at the Cavern to Zephyr, a mare The Cavern bought from Royal Natal National Park in the late 90s. Like her mother, Chinook was and is still fast and strong. She came down to Montusi in 2004 to be trained and stayed with us ever since. She has had two foals who have grown into excellent trail horses. Even though her boys are grown, she still shows them affection in the paddock and the three of them often graze and doze together.
Mix (with a hint of Friesian), gelding
Jikjela arrived at the stables as a stallion, very full of himself, nickering at every passing female. He had several fights with the established Alpha horses: Koos and Malfoy, he crowned himself king. This didn’t last long as we soon had him castrated and he settled with being one of the Main Boys. Under saddle Jikijela became one of our best trail horses: he is strong and reliable with beginners, but is an enjoyable ride for the more experienced rider.
Lollipop arrived as a wild filly straight out of the mountains. She took a long time to tame and train, but eventually we got her settled for trail, although in the early years she was reserved for the experienced, light riders. Now she is our go-to for the little kids. She knows her job very well and follows in the line diligently. She is ticklish and is not shy to try give us a bite while we’re tightening the girth! She is a favourite of the third generation of the Montusi family!
The Unplanned “Montusi-borns”
Mixed (with a touch of Anglo-arab), gelding
On a windy day in 2004, Chinook stood in obvious distress as her delivery was going awry. Mic, under telephonic instruction from our vet, managed to assist Chinook to successfully deliver her little colt: Cayman. Named after the Cayman Islands where one of our family had just survived a force 5 hurricane! Cayman is a beautiful horse with a wary disposition and a very fast gallop!
Mixed (quarter Thoroughbred Race Horse), gelding
Moonlight was born to Ophelia, the daughter of Egyptian Moon: one of the originals of Montusi’s stables. He was a difficult horse to train as he had a mean mother and a terrific buck! After many months under the gentle guidance of our Head Horseman at the time, he became a great ride for an experienced rider, and a favourite of Lindsay.
Lambert was an unplanned addition to our herd. His mum, Thora, was obviously pregnant, but we had no idea how as there weren’t any stallions about! Lambert always looked dopey, but he has a cunning ability to be the first at any food opportunity! He has also become the go-to for little kids as he is a very reliable trail horse.
Guy also came along as a surprise! Thora and Lady, Guy’s mum, obviously had a similar taste in stallion! Although we assume him to be Lambert’s half brother, he is much taller. He obviously had the advantage of a bigger mother (Lambert’s mum was a short and grumpy little pony). Guy is a very strong and sure-footed horse who eats mountains for breakfast!
Little Lollipop obviously had an encounter with a large stallion as the resultant foal, Janice has grown into a beautiful, bulky horse. In 2014 she had a nasty accident and had to undergo surgery to repair a huge laceration to her rump. The scar is still visible, but her movement is not impaired…neither was her ability to deliver a foal: she successfully delivered and nursed Frosty Bum in 2016. She is a great ride, although she doesn’t like breaking rank.
The Boerperd “Montusi-born’s”
In 2008/9 we hosted a stunningly beautiful Boerperd stallion called Tornado. He was from an award-winning bloodline and a dream to ride (especially without a saddle). He moved in with the intention of enriching our stock. He fathered four foals, two of whom remain at our stables:
Boerperd Cross, mare
Ophelia, the fierce, was the first of the Northern Mares to accept Tornado’s advances. They paired up for the duration of his time with us, although he would fraternise with the other mares, it was obvious that Ophelia and Tornado were a couple. The result of their union was Torphi: a fierce and strong mare who doesn’t suffer fools, but will carry our riders over these mountains as if she’s strolling in the park!
Boerperd Corss, gelding
Tornook is the closest in looks to his father. He is a magnificent creature who will run to Cape Town and back if given the chance! He is reserved for the horsemen as he can be unstoppable.
In 2015, Jabulani Bush Camp was changing ownership and so we were approached to take over their little herd of horses. The herd boasted 2 full-blood Friesians and a Friesian/Boerperd Cross. It was a no-brainer: we had to have these horses! Unbeknownst to any of us, one of the Friesians was actually in foal!
Max came to us untrained, but showing such promise: a mild-mannered, muscled mare with a prancing trot. After delivering and growing her beautiful colt, Boxer. We sent her off to be trained. She was quick to learn and was easy to ride right from the start. Now she is a great trail horse for intermediate riders as her top speed is slow… no out-of-control gallops with this lovely mare!
Friesian x Boerperd, gelding
Scorpion is Max’s half-brother. He had the feathered Friesian feet, but the build of a Boerperd. Although he came to us under saddle, he takes a very competent rider to manage his tricks.
Friesian Cross, gelding
Boxer arrived on Boxing Day, 2015. A beautiful colt with an easy personality. His training is underway and we look forward to riding all over the mountains with him, his uncle Scorpion and his mum, Max.
Shamrock (2001) & Cassy (2004?)
Little girls out-grow their ponies and so we have two little white ponies in the family. Shamrock, a former champion polo-cross pony, has taken to his Berg retirement very happily. Cassy, as wide as she is tall, is more of a mascot than an actual equine! She spends her days following the others and muscling in on any snack opportunity!
Princess Zahara arrived just before Corona turned the world upside-down. She is by far the most well-bred and beautiful of the team. She is a gentle giant who is settling into mountain living, although stony terrain is not her favourite!