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Reviewed by Michele Mistry, mother of 3 children aged 5,4 and 2; a Communications & Marketing specialist, fashion designer, runs Chrysalis Kindergarten and Homeschool, Glenvista Jhb

My daughter wanted a horse for her 4th birthday. For many reasons, getting her one was not on the cards! With some serious manoeuvring we got her to agree to a horse-riding weekend. The idea of having not one, but many beautiful horses to choose from helped. What clenched the deal was not having to clean up ‘horsie pooh’. (Oh Ryperd!…)

Well off the beaten track, along the Midlands Meander, you’ll find Mooikrans Equus, a horse farm in Amersfort, Mpumalanga. We reached the farm in the afternoon and were warmly welcomed by Gavin and Tanie Elna, our incredibly hospitable hosts for the weekend. My immediate reaction on seeing the expanse of softly rolling, green hills was to breathe deep and strrrettcchh.

After unpacking, Gavin took us on the back of his bakkie to greet the horses. I’ve ridden horses and ponies. I have never in real life, seen sooo many all in one spot, roaming freely. What an amazing sight.

The next two days were reserved for riding. Gavin and Tanie Elna know their horses like I know my kids. They paired us with horses that suited our temperaments. It became an intimate interaction between horse and rider.

Getting to know your horse and taking charge is quite a feat.

Tanie Elna is a qualified equine psychologist and specialist remedial teacher. She had Malini confident enough to take hold of her horse’s reins when riding in the paddock on the second time round. Malini’s ultimate was riding her horse, to the ‘Fairy Glen’ in search of fairies. Mine was running up and down a sheer drop into a donga. Heeha!!! (That’s not the sound I made while doing it!)

Gavin Cooper is the manager at Mooikrans. He’s amazing with children and horses and not too shabby in the kitchen. He went out of his way to make Malini’s birthday special. We celebrated with chocolate cake and pot cooked pumpkin fritters.
There is a strong sense of family and old world values at Mooikrans. This is very refreshing in our throw-away lives of instant gratification. We had meals together, our family and the Mooikrans family, eating with relish after a day’s riding. At the end of our weekend, we wished for more time and decided to make Mooikrans home for a yearly ‘Familie Fees’.

To quote Tanie Elna from a recent article in Beeld, “Horse riding requires patience, understanding, attention, forgiveness and consistency. All these are useful tools for approaching life.”

Mooikrans is an ‘ordentlike’ holiday where children can be children.

Click here to find out more about Mooikrans Equuus

Rating on a scale of 0-5

Awesome experience: ««««  We loved our interaction with the horses. It takes horse-riding to a different level. Mpumalanga is a much neglected jewel in SA’s crown.
Affordability: «««« Very affordable, check out rates on their website.

Comfort & luxury: ««We were comfortable, but be aware that Mooikrans’ main activity are youth camps. The farm runs off solar energy, Go Mooikrans! A supermarket is a drive away.

Hospitality: «««« Gavin is a star.

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