Boma jumping, Ride Kenya Amboseli

May 2009 Newsletter, Horseback Safaris

Ride Kenya breakfast

I look forward to meeting those of you attending the Suffolk Show on 27th and 28th May. Surely we are due warmer weather this year? The last three shows have been cold and wet. Perhaps I should take a break from being on the Safari Consultants stand near the Light Horse ring, pick up my bassoon and play on the Bandstand again? I played at the Show for several years, and have memories of bright blue skies and melting in the sunshine.

I have much to tell you about the different horseback safari operators in Africa. Upgraded camps, better locations, our favourite guides at different locations and new horses for the heavier rider! Wherever you choose to go, you can expect personal service, excellent food, good game and great horses. If I could bring back home just a few of the fantastic horses I’ve ridden on safari, I’d have my own string of horses offering horseback safaris in Suffolk. Cantering amongst the deer on the Sandlings near Woodbridge can sometimes seem like Africa, but although I saw a snake the other week there’s no prospect of lions or elephants around the corner!

Offbeat Canter

I am missing an early season visit to Africa this year whilst we give priority to building a new house. We’re moving to a site that’s been untouched for years so there’s lots to be done. Learning about paddock maintenance, barn refurbishment and fencing has been filling my time at weekends. I’m pleased to say that the stable accommodation for my horse, Volter, is almost finished. Now we just need to get the house finished: or should that be started!!

Okavango water canter

However, there’s no reason for you to miss out, and several of you this year are combining a riding safari with a more traditional option for your “non-horsey” families who can enjoy game-viewing from on foot or a vehicle. This works well, with opportunities to meet up half-way through the ride to swop sightings. My skill as a consultant is to ensure we can offer something for everyone: the type of riding you prefer, the location, the type of accommodation will vary, as will the amount of time you want to spend ‘in the saddle’. It depends on your experience, and for those unsure of their stamina for full week of horseback we can sit down and plan a non-riding itinerary but with the option to ride for a day or two. My most active clients challenge me to try and fit everything in – combining riding with canoeing, walking, cycling, rafting, paragliding, ballooning - not forgetting the diving – not to mention time for relaxation!

Okavango giraffe herding

Finally, a recommendation for a book, written by a horse-enthusiast who lives in Suffolk and who loves the African bush. Whilst that description fits me, you’ll be glad to hear that it’s actually by Simon Barnes, and “The Horsey Life” is a wonderfully light but insightful read for last thing at night.