Horses are our business!
Ride Zimbabwe – Our Horses
Our horses at Ride Zimbabwe have been specially selected by Janine Varden for their job suitability, skills and temperaments to take you on safari. Every horse is very special to us, and they are not only the core aspect of our business but part of our family! We personally train and ride all our horses and they are super-responsive, friendly, obedient, loving and happy animals.
Currently we have a team of 26 horses ranging from experienced bush horses to green-backed youngsters, and they are predominantly geldings, with a few foundation mares that we shall breed from in the future, and heights range from 15-16.3 hh. Our team of grooms have been trained in natural horsemanship methods to develop a rapport with the horses and ensure they are fit and surefooted. Our tack is of excellent quality and we ride mostly with English GP saddles, but also have a selection of Australian stock saddles, and handmade South African Mclennan saddles designed especially for the trail rider. These trails saddles are very comfortable for most horses backs and also for the riders for long hours in the saddle. Most of our horses ride in a snaffle bit.
We prefer cross-breed horses for their stamina and athleticism, and breeds include Shire cross, TB cross, and Percheron cross. During the troubled years in Zimbabwe, the horse population dwindled to such an extent it was necessary for us to invest heavily in bringing up horses from South Africa to supplement our existing Zimbabwe team including the Boerperd breed, the literal ‘farmer horse’ of South Africa because of their toughness and sensibility.
Additionally we also have five rescue horses that were left behind on a ranch during the land invasions in Zimbabwe, which we refer to as the ‘Lalapanzi 5’ after a village in the Midlands region. They endured many years on their own before being captured and rescued by a local landowner who eventually passed them into our care, and they have shown a remarkable resilience for survival. With their breeding unknown and totally unhandled, our estimates at their age are between 7—12 years, and it’s an ongoing project to train and get them rideable to form the basis of the mounted anti-poaching unit at Cawston Wildlife Estate.