I’m in love.
I’m in love with the people, the culture, the horses, the weather. There hasn’t been one thing in this beautiful country that hasn’t brought a smile to my face.
When I first arrived George and Riekie, his assistant trainer, greates me at the airport with open arms and instantly made me feel at home and comfortable. I soon met George’s children and a few amid the riding students, and without fail, person after person that I meet has not only welcomed me with open arms but have gone out of their way to make me feel included and happy in their world.
George’s training method and horses are more then I could ever hope for. Not only is he incredibly knowledgeable, but he willing to share he knowledge graciously, which is inspiring. George takes horses that previously would deemed uselsss, pr not seen as performance horses and gives them a new life. Their focused and balanced training keep the horses full of life while giving them purpose. The first time I got on one of George’s horses, I sat back in the saddle and immediately put tension in the reins. Well not only did Rieke have a few comments about my seat but she immediately told me to throw my hands forwards and let him do his job. Boy was that a quick change to what I’m used to. Not only did it feel awkward to not have such a strong hold on the horses mouth, but it made me feel like I had zero control. This clearly reveals that I have been relying way to much on my hands to ride a horse. I’m looking forward to learning this different way of riding because I thinking it will teach me how to properly use my body and really help display confidence I the show ring.
It was a very short stay at the house before we packed our bags and headed to Bloemfontein for the South African World Cup invitational try outs in America this year. All I have to say about these young South Africans is wow! Their equitation is on point. It was such a pleasure watching such young riders guide with ease these strong exuberant horses.
We had five girls trying out and when the final results were in at the end of the week we had one girl make it onto the junior 3 gaited team. There were about 30 kids that tried out all together and I don’t know how the judges narrowed it down to so few. Each kid did an amazing job.
I also had the opportunity to watch George show one of his clients 5 gaited horses and it was brilliant. Hands way up in the air, reins loose and the gelding doing the job he was born to do. It was a pleasure to watch an animal with so much freedom perform for his trainer.