• Horse girl

Updated: Dec 12, 2021

Author ‘horse girl’ www.hoovesaroundtheworld.com

None of us saw it coming when we released our beautiful new pinto gelding Cherokee came unto the mountain to meet the other horses at Khotso. A big gelding with beautiful markings was a great addition to our herd and we were excited to see what he would add to the farm. As we skip to a couple years later, we now know that he had quite a few surprises to offer!

Some of our mares started getting rounder and rounder to the point where we started wondering whether they might be pregnant. They couldn’t be! Our stallions all live together in a separate field to the mares. Could one of them have jumped the fence and had some fun in the mountain?

After we started wondering if they might have a bun in the oven, it didn’t take long for the first foal to be born, but how?! It was time to have a better look at our horses in the herd, but it was unlikely for there to be a stallion with the mares.. We finally found out that Cherokee, now a full blown stallion, was never a gelding in the first place!

Bowie, our first born foal, is a beautiful pinto with one blue eye. His mom, Alabama, is a beautiful big black mare with an amazing heart and she’s taking extremely good care of her first baby. Mercy gave birth to foal number two! A beautiful, light brown pinto baby with the funniest eyes, his name is Hopi. Mercy herself is typically … (How do I say this nicely?) a bit of a grouch. She is, however, an incredible mother and protects little Hopi with her life. I’d like to say I get along really well with momma Mercy, but we all know she just loves me because I bring her food every morning. Our third foal is from Pirate, a spicy little baby called Colorado, also a pinto. Colorado loves to play in the field! I'm pretty sure she thinks I’m a horse too from the way she plays with me. We’re incredibly happy with our 3 new additions to the Khotso herd! We definitely made sure to move Cherokee to the stallion herd now but his 3 multicoloured surprises were definitely worth it. Make sure to come check out our beautiful pinto foals during your next visit to Khotso. They are in a big, lush, field next to the drive and (when they’re not napping) they are always up for a cuddle, scratch and play. Xoxo Horse girl www.hoovesaroundtheworld.com

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  • Raymond

Updated: Dec 12, 2021

I was legit about to pounce when I heard: “ Oooooh, Kitty!”, and without warning, was hoisted into ‘handbag position’ and lugged away from a potential morsel...

Folks, I’m not even exaggerating when I tell you that for two whole days I was:

1) dressed like a doll,

2) brushed ‘til I was static, and

3) pushed in a pram up and down over endless sections of Sani Spoors

(https://www.sanispoors.co.za/trails/), while the actual doll enjoyed uninterrupted catnaps!

Aside from breeding cat lovers, these Capetonians are in awe of the ‘berg winter. Harping on and on about how much it rains in the Cape and, “The wind! Yoh, the wind is hectic, bru!” There was also a lot of bleary eyed: “Yowzer Okes, the sun rises early here in KZN,” followed by big yawns and arm-stretching. “More time for running,” says Steve Black as he joyously starts up the mountain track. I’m used to his harebrained ideas. As we speak I’ve been left on my own while he runs to St Bernard’s peak. It’s his birthday and he wants to run his age. Don’t ask.

The thing is - and this is the berg’s best kept secret - nothing beats winter in the Drakensberg. Crisp mornings with white frost crunching under-paw, crystals glistening at the edge of the dam, rainbow icicles stalactiting from barbed-wire fences, ice blue sky, warm take-your-jersey-off-at-11am-and-then-scurry-to-find-the-darn-thing-at-4pm days, and star-riddled clear nights that leave you breathless!

As you know, my typical day starts with a cat-stretch, a downward dog, then the obligatory nut-scratch (over share?). Once fully groomed, I sit in my sunny spot on the stoep and assess the avian situation. The garden birds are cheeky beggars, and now that there are no leaves on the trees they are easy to see...and pick off. But wait, what’s this I hear? I have two words: “Get. Terrified.” Steve’s two grandsons have just arrived. “Wild” is too tame a word for them. FERAL! The first thing they do is grab the pellet gun and ketty, and disappear into the Poplars to shoot at targets. Once the Coke tin is mangled, they then start looking aloft - and that’s when my treasures take flight. No tender Finch breast for me this week...

I know why they’re here. They are pyromaniacs those two, and it’s burning season... a match made in heaven (pun unintended). What I love about the burning of the firebreaks is the light - a soft ethereal glow that makes the farm look otherworldly. It’s still and clear, and the dry veld crackles in an obedient line with the beaters following it slap-slapping at the flames. It’s a rhythmical business and Ana and I love to supervise. When dusk falls, the temperature drops, and the sky is an easel of pink and mauve and orange. That is when I turn homeward to jump through the window into the Aga-warmed kitchen, lap up my milk, and curl up next to the fire.

Winter is still around for a few more months, so book your break now! Find us on:

#khotsomeanspeace, @teamkhotso (insta) and Khotso Lodge & Horse Trails (fb)

Love from a tired, but oh-so happy,

Ray x

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Updated: Dec 9, 2021

“What people are desperate for, is some fun. Let’s give it to them.” Steve Black’s words late last year prompted the spontaneous organisation of the Khotso Summer Trail ‘n Tube just before Christmas. On what was quite possibly, and very fortunately, the only day in December that it did not rain in Underberg, 130 people turned up to hustle their way along kilometres of specially marked tracks on Khotso farm leading down to the Umzimkhulu where they were issued with an inflated tractor tube and sent floating and floundering 1,5km down the flowing river. Exiting the refreshing water and back into the 30C heat, they still had 1,5km to run back past bemused spectators at The Old Hatchery and along the trail past the many horses to the finish at the campground.

The breathtaking 16km route took runners up to a banner on the highest point on the farm with spectacular 360-degree views of the Drakensberg mountains and surrounding farmlands, a treat for both locals and visitors. PMB couple Martin and Jeannie Dreyer both took first place in their respective fields with times of 1hr27min and 1hr31 min with Jeannie third overall, just behind second-place Zoog Haynes. The 6km race was dominated by the youngsters, with 16yr old local Scott Venniker flying through the finish in 36min58sec, and, showing true sportsmanship, waiting to welcome in and congratulate his friend and rival Farran Flemington. The first female, 14yr old Jade Howarth was just 35 seconds behind Scott, also taking third place overall.

“That was, hands down, THE best event I have ever done.” Said one finisher, a regular visitor to the region, grinning widely. “Please do it again next year!” “It was so good to see folk out again, active and having such a blast.” Said race organiser and neighbour of Steve, Graham Bird. “We arrange trail events for a living and obviously the C-word cleared everybody’s race calendar last year. As we were in Level 1 restrictions in December, it was relatively easy to arrange the run with modifications to allow everyone to look after their own health and be respectful of personal space. “Of course, as a Khotso event, friends at Castleburn and Gooderson Drakensberg Gardens generously donated prize vouchers, friends posted and promoted the posters, friends volunteered their time to help out, other friends benefitted from selling things and yet more friends supported the run. It’s obvious what makes this community so special.” There’s definitely scope to expand this super family-friendly event when the pandemic has passed and make it an annual Underberg institution. After all, there’s never a time when fun is not required.

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