Horses and South Africa are like water and soap;they go together so well and enjoy a long history. Many South Africans, if not all, have experience being close to, riding one, or involved with horses. It just makes sense because the country is blessed with so many beaches, vineyards, open spaces, and natural treasures that make horse-riding a thrill and an inspiring experience.
South Africa offers horse riding trails in all its provinces. There are even trails for handicapped and disables riders and horse safaris for those who want a different twist on a few days out in the open. If you take a horse safari, for example, be sure to take your Nikon coolpix camera along as there’ll be many opportunities for great photos.
There are many organizations in South Africa dedicated to the welfare, care, and business of horse farms and stables. Here are just a few of them:
The Highveld Horse Care Unit
There are actually 3 horse care units in South Africa: The Highveld, Eastern Cape, and the Coastal HCU in KwaZulu Natal. These are all privately-owned operations who solicit support from sponsorships, fund-raising events, and donations.
Highveld Horse Care Unit as established in 1991 from funds given by National Thoroughbred Trust which is now known as the National Horse Trust. Part of their work includes de-worming, wellbeing, owner-education, proper feeding of horses in the country. They inspect horses; investigate bush racing, inhumane horse slaughtering activities, and the care of mature horses that are left unattended and cared for because they no longer serve any use to its owners.
The Friesian Horse Association of Southern Africa (FPSSA)
The FPSSA is another non-profit group that specifically cares for Friesian horses by providing strict regulations and standards for owners of purebred Friesian horses. Friesian horses are also known as Dutch, Hollander, or Flemish horses. FPSSA only accepts members with purebred Friesian horses and offer 3 kinds of membership: full, half, and temporary. Aside from publishing the stud book for this type of horse, the FPSSA also does what it can to keep the Friesian horses of South Africa at international standards.
The SAEA is the governing body in the country for equestrian events and disciplines. It was established in 1957 and now has 6 member organizations. These are the:
- Free State and Northwest
- The Gauteng Horse Society
- Western Province Horse Society
- KwaZulu Natal Horse Society
- Mpumalanga Horse Society and
- The Eastern Cape Horse Society
Members of these 6 organizations are automatically considered as members to SAEA. Today, the organization of SAEA has approximately 6,400 members. These members engage in Par Dressage, Dressage, Eventing, Showing, Vaulting, Driving, and Show Jumping. The top equestrians from SAEA are sent to compete as the country’s representatives to international competitions.
The Arab Horse Society
The Arab Horse Society in South Africa is an exclusive organization for owners of pure bred Arab, part bred Arab, and Anglo Arab horses. The horse society was formed over 50 years ago and follows the international standards in Arab horse rearing and horse care.
The National Championships which the Arab Horse Society hosts will be held in March 2013. This horse society is extremely proud of its members and diligently checks for members who break the code of ethics by doing things like using illegal substances on their horses.