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Wild Coast Ride, part 2

Published: 1/9/2013
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Editor’s Note:
Nicky Hoseck works on a farm and as a guide for Wild Coast Horseback Adventures, an outfit in South Africa. Over the past several years, she’s racked up over 3,000 miles of guiding.
Her most exciting miles came last month when she joined Barry Armitage and Joe Dawson (of the Adventurists fame) on one of their wild treks.
Follow Nicky in this four-part series as the group travel about 120 miles, from the mouth of the Mngazi River to the mouth of the Kei River.

Read Part 1
Read Part 3

By Nicky Hoseck

Day Three saw us covering about 25 miles from The Kraal to Mdumbi. It also presented us with our first big river swim.

Under Barry and Joe’s expert guidance, we strided out into the Mtakatye River, whose 110 yard-wide expanse put a few butterflies in everyone’s stomachs. Despite a little unwillingness at the start of the swim, the horses ventured on valiantly and we all arrived safely and relatively gracefully on the other side and sat down to a lunch of river-soaked sandwiches (courtesy of me who had de-water-proofed them for reasons none of us could fathom).
The next day was hot and we had some serious distance to complete. Pacing of the ride was vital.
With Reign and Victor dropping back rather on some of the long hill climbs, we decided to swap horses in order to keep the day moving. With a lighter rider on his back, Reign soon found his feet and slotted in with the rest of the horses.
The day ended even more beautifully than it had begun, with a ride through a curiously atmospheric dune forest and out for a last long beach canter and up through the river to Bulungula where we spent an idyllic night in a thatch lapa in the paddock with our horses.
We all awoke early the next morning, except for Joe who remained huddled in his Barbie sleeping bag even as one of the horses decided to investigate the lapa for any signs of food.

And who can blame her?

We all found Equifeeds so tempting in appearance that we sampled it and decided that it was a definite improvement on some of the foodstuffs us humans were being presented with for breakfast!
Now on our fourth day of riding, we were heading to The Haven, a section of the ride that I had been particularly looking forward to.
The Haven is situated within the sister reserves of Dwesa and Cwebe which conserve one of the Eastern Cape’s largest remaining sections of indigenous coastal forest.

As I have quite a thing for forests, I had been wanting to visit this area for a long time and the morning’s ride did much to emphasize the unique appeal of this arboreal wilderness.

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"Practice sharpens, but overschooling blunts the edge. If your horse isn't doing right, the first place to look is yourself" - Joe Heim