Having enjoyed a wonderful horseback safari through Sangare Conservancy, I have been lucky enough to return there upon invitation to exercise the horses and keep them fit for when they go off to do horseback safari’s which usually take place in the Maasai Mara. Sangare Conservancy is home to Felicia and Gordy Church of Safarisunlimited and they currently have 27 beautiful horses at home all of whom must be kept healthy and fit. The conservancy is nestled in the stunning and rugged wilderness near to the town of Nyeri, and approximately 50kms from Nanyuki and lies at the foothills of the Aberdare’s, in the ever pervading shadow of Mount Kenya. The landscape is beautiful and is home to an abundance of wild life, although no big cats. The horses live idyllic lives being turned out into the conservancy, then herded and corralled every morning and brought back to the yard every day to have health checks, to be fed and watered, groomed and exercised if necessary. Being at one with nature means that they are well used to seeing the wild life and whilst they may watch the creatures that abound them in fascination, they have grown used to them and do not react as dramatically at a startled gazelle, or the giraffe, zebra and buffalo which graze amongst them out on the plains.
The lack of big cats within the conservancy is clearly a bonus and the horses have generally speaking, little to fear and this has meant that the horses remain happy and settled in such a wild environment. This certainly makes for some great riding within the conservancy!
I have been able to assist the grooms to bring the horses home first thing in the morning so I have been riding out into the conservancy to help with herding the horses and bringing them back to the yard.
Horses are herd animals so where one goes, others will follow so rounding them up to lead them home is not necessarily a difficult task, and the horses naturally follow the leader and make their way with little resistance. There are always the odd stragglers who will take every opportunity to grab a mouthful of grass but on the whole, they are well behaved. Of course, they all know that as soon as they are safely back to the yard, a big breakfast awaits them!
This to me, is dreamy. My passion is horses and everything equine and just being able to ride out in this wonderful country is amazing, but to be able to immerse myself into the wild and ride along side such fabulous animals in their natural habitat is epic. I would happily herd horses every day for the rest of my life and be utterly fulfilled in doing so!
Of course, one still has to take extra care because the animals within the conservancy are truly wild. The buffalo are huge and when alone, can be very aggressive, and there have also been elephants spotted within the conservancy so given the size and unpredictability of such animals, rides out into the bush can be as scary as it is exciting. It is unnerving at times to realise that the wild life can be so dangerous, but this does ensure that complacency does not set in. The horses may get used to seeing such animals because they live out in the conservancy, but this does not mean that those animals get used to the horses, particularly if the horses have people on their backs!
Every ride out on these horses has been magical though, and I still have to pinch myself that I have been allowed this amazing opportunity.