Kaapsehoop Wild Horses

The Wild Horses of the Kaapsehoop Escarpment

Tribute to the Horse

Dog is called man’s best friend, but throughout history the horse has played a pivotal part, from warfare and hunting, to transport, to agriculture, to sport and recreation; the horse has contributed more to human pleasure, ambition and progress than any other animal.

 

They are creatures of splendour, the embodiment of nobility, strength and grace.

 

"Look back at our struggle for freedom

Trace our present day’s strength to its source;

and you’ll find that man’s pathway to glory

is strewn with the bones

of a horse."

Anonymous

The Wild Horse Legacy

Populations of free-roaming horses have existed all over the world for many years. Many of these are managed as wild life and thus are popularly called “wild” horses. In essence feral horses, where a feral horse refers to a horse living in an untamed state but whose ancestors have been domesticated. These populations formed due to horses that escaped for instance from army war camps or failed human settlements.

 

At the far northern tip of the Drakensberg mountain range in South Africa lies the quaint village of Kaapsehoop  (Kaapsche Hoop) and the surrounding escarpment, known for its spectacular scenic environment, its fascinating rock fields, mysterious mist,  the Blue Swallow Reserve, its history of gold discovery and its own legacy of wild horses.

 

From far and wide people come to see the wild horses of Kaapsche Hoop. And though they find some wandering through the village, those herds are merely a fraction of the population. For the true wild horses along the escarpment are as elusive as the gold once found in this region; their origin as vague as the outline of the mountains when the mist rolls over the plains.

 

For decades they have roamed the Kaapsehoop escarpment. They are a legacy of splendour, a legacy to preserve.

The Life and Threats of the Kaapsehoop Wild Horses

The life of the horses on the Kaapsehoop escarpment is a healthy and good one:

 

  • The cool mountain climate provides a relatively healthy territory.
  • The innate de-worming and tick resistance properties of the natural vegetation in the area keeps the horses relatively tick free and exempt from internal parasites.
  • There is sufficient grazing and water throughout the year.

 

There are however threats to their peaceful existence, and although tick-borne diseases and African horse sickness take their toll, the majority of threats flow from the hand of man:

 

  • The open cast gold mining has not only left its impact on the environment, but moreover remains a danger to the herds, as horses are still found from time to time, having fallen into these open pits.
  • The tar road that was built in the mid 1980’s has probably had the biggest impact on the safety of the horses as it crosses right through the centre of their natural habitat.  In spite of clear road signs and warnings, many horses are involved in car accidents.
  • Snaring as well as the odd poaching and traditional medicine related killings, further jeopardize the peaceful existence of these free roaming creatures.

Our Responsibility?

Snare wounds and other injuries need treatment and at times this includes the darting of these animals, a costly affair. Orphans are often found left alone, either having lost their mothers to fatal causes e.g. road accidents, predators and snares, or being caught up between stallion and mares in the mating rituals. Often the mares are still very young themselves when foaling and thus inexperienced and are driven off by stallions leaving the foals behind. This usually happens when a foal is merely a week or two old and has hardly any chance of survival. For them to have any hope to survive, man needs to intervene, however  this means hand-rearing these foals which is not only a costly exercise  but also involves valuable time.

 

Man brought them here, what more can we do to but give them their place in the sun and the care they so deserve.

You can make a difference!

The Wild Horse Trust Fund

 

As there is no official body taking care of these matters, individual caring hearts generously give their time and often from their pockets too. In order to help preserve this legacy The Wild Horse Trust Fund was established. Should you wish to contribute to the fund, payments can be made to:

 

Capitec Bank

Kaapsehoop Horses

Savings account 1179652841

Branch code 470010

 

Please send an email confirmation of payment to kaapsehoopwildhorse@gmail.com

The Book

Cover page image of "The Wild Horses of the Kaapsehoop Escarpment" by Linda Louw

This book is a tribute to the spirit of the wild herds of horses; a mere glimpse on the  richness of their elusive existence.

The pages are filled with a wide range of about 160 photos as well as text describing their background, their daily existence, their threats, their future, but mostly their splendour and beauty.

A percentage of the profit will be donated to the Wild Horse Trust Fund.

 

Title:

Author:

ISBN:

Publication Date:

Format:

Price:

The Wild Horses of the Kaapsehoop Escarpment

Linda Louw

978-0-620-63505-9

2014

hardcover,  200 pages, 23cm x 23cm

R450-00

To order a copy, please contact Linda on 082 332 9784 or send an email to linda@botle.co.za, alternatively visit the Horsecart at Kaapsehoop Horse Trails or the shops in Kaapsehoop to purchase a copy.

Links and Information

General info on Kaapsehoop:

 

For horse riding and farm-style accommodation visit Kaapsehoop Horse Trails:

 

 

 

Volunteer project at Kaapsehoop Horse Trails:

 

 

 

Photographer and author of book - website:

Reporting injuries:

 

Contributing to the Wild Horse Trust Fund:

 

Enquiries / Book Orders :

Contact Reinette van Niekerk on 082 333 2073

 

Email: kaapsehoopwildhorse@gmail.com

 

Contact Linda on 082 332 9784 or

Email: kaapsehoopwildhorse@gmail.com