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Posted on December 23, 2021
If you’ve always wondered what it might be like to spend Christmas on horseback in snowy Iceland, or sunny South Africa, then you might enjoy our next few blog posts. In the run-up to Christmas, we’ll be sharing how ride operators around the world usually spend the festive season.
Next up, we’ll find out how Christmas looks at Horizon in the Waterberg area of South Africa.
Around Christmas Eve (or thereabouts), there is a carol service by candlelight in the garden for everyone in the community. There is an open invitation to everyone to join the festivities at Horizon with carol singing and a potluck dinner. This is normally a large event and often ends up with dancing into the small hours.
The big day itself begins with a Buck’s Fizz cocktail and a bush breakfast morning ride for the riders and church for those who wish to go. Next up, is late morning present opening for all and the start of the cooking of the turkeys. These are cooked on an open fire in large cauldron-like pots known as ‘poitjies’. In the afternoon, it’s time for the Christmas feast with many courses, far too much food and drink, and rounded off with panettone, chocolates and party games.
The horses at Horizon in December are at their peak, the grass is green, the sun is shining and they get full of themselves.
The Boxing day Hunt extravaganza is the ride of the year. Several teams dressed in a variety of festive red outfits trying to catch the “fox” (a designated rider). The riders look forward to it all year as do the horses.
At Horizon, they eat a lot of the traditional Christmas fares from the UK and Italy. There is everything from smoked salmon, turkey and sprouts to panettone and cantucci (almond biscotti).
Horizon recalls their most memorable Christmas. It was a few years ago, before they built the ‘Ha-Ha’ (it’s purpose will be revealed later). They had fifty people, sat down and about to tuck into their Christmas dinner when a hippo decided to investigate. At first, they simply watched him and held their ground. However, when it became apparent the hippo wasn’t stopping, it was a run for cover. The interesting thing was observing what people take with them. Those with children tended to grab them, those who had been waiting hungrily for hours, were not leaving without their plate and others who will remain nameless just grabbed the champagne and ran. Luckily, the hippo didn’t stay long and left the table untouched but was definitely one to remember. You guessed it, the ‘Ha-Ha’ was built to keep hippo out of the garden!
Many thanks to Laura from Horizon for sharing this lovely insight into Christmas in South Africa
If you are interested in riding in South Africa, then please do email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 1299 272 997 for more information.