HOW WE CARE FOR OUR HORSES

Rockethorse partners with Moolmanshoek Endurance Horses who are well respected breeders of Arab, Arab/Boerperd crosses and Boerperde. The group of horses used during the race are highly trained equine athletes very capable of handling the challenges of the Wild Coast.

As well as a dedicated team from Moolmanshoek which sees to the wellbeing of the horses during the race, there is also a team of 6 qualified veterinarians who follow the race, all of whom have extensive equine experience and are led by a Head Vet. Horses are assessed before the race, during the race at 12 compulsory vet checks and monitored post race before being transported home. The vetting structure falls well within the norms of endurance riding. Half of the vet team are experienced international equine veterinarians some of whom have vetted other endurance events as the Mongol Derby. In addition there is a professional farrier on site.

Only riders with relevant experience are accepted to enter. Each rider rides three horses during the race, which runs over 4-5 days. Each horse travels aproximately 80km per day, with an overnight rest stop. Each horse covers approximately a third of the total distance which is straddled by a 12-hour rest period for each horse. In addition there is an average of 29km between the 12 vet checks during the race, which is more stringent than endurance riding norms around the world. At the vet checks the horses are thoroughly examined and allowed to rest and refresh for 40 minutes, before continuing.

The safety and care of our horses is paramount to us. Three horses were vetted out of the 2018 race. If a horse is vetted out it means that the vet does not allow that horse to continue. Two horses were excluded from the race for mild lameness due to stiffness in the hindquarter and one due to metabolic issues. Lameness is common in horses and any horse-rider or riding stable will attest to this. All the horses were treated immediately by the attending vet team and the lame horses were further treated by the equine physiotherapist attached to the Moolmanshoek team. All three horses were sound after treatment and the vets as well as Wiesman Nel from Moolmanshoek were very happy with their recovery the following day.

There are people who love the age-old partnership between man and horse, and continue to explore a relationship with the animals they love. The horses that race with us are very carefully reared, trained and cared for by the Moolmanshoek team and as anyone who has ridden them knows, they are very capable and love what they do. There are also those who believe that horses should not be ridden at all. We respect all views.

Race the Wild Coast brings much-needed economic upliftment and tourism to the Eastern Cape and supports local residents, businesses and artisans along its route. The race sets the benchmark for endurance riding in South Africa and is the only race of its kind in the country. Race the Wild Coast 2018 was followed avidly by a global social media community and reached over 1 million people worldwide. It shines the spotlight on an incredible part of our country and on the capabilities of our locally bred horses.

Barry Armitage