Riding away from Gaborone worries

PHEMELO RAMASU - BG REPORTER
Tuesday, 02 April 2019
Riding away from Gaborone worries

The tranquil of Notwane Equestrian Centre with its breath-taking beauty, and unique offering is giving guests a taste of paradise. Secluded and located in a small piece of land surrounded by nature, this is one place that those who wish to get in touch with their spiritual self needs to frequent.

Located in Notwane, the centre is fast gaining momentum as one of the hot spots within the vicinity of the capital city. The Notwane Equestrian Centre has a number of offerings, and these include horse riding adventures, horse riding lessons as well as an opportunity to sit still and enjoy a meal at the recently opened Zorro Restaurant. On Saturday morning as part of her birthday celebrations, this reporter threw caution to the wind, chaffed her childhood fears of horses, and attempted to do the impossible.

This would turn up to be the first time that she interacted with a horse, and rode into the wind one of the magnificent giants. Horse riding came up after yours truly saw adverts of the centre on social media. Driving into the centre, testing faith and stamina, it was not an easy mission. Accompanied by family and friends, who were also here to have their first go at horse riding, their fears were allayed the minute they took the brave steps into the centre. The group comprised of three potential riders, and children who were looking for something fun to do while the adults attempted this mission impossible. The group was split into two.

And yours truly took the second session. In between riding, the children were spoilt for choice with so many activities that they could get up to. The little ones were also catered for, and a playroom equipped with an array of toys would keep them busy for a while.
The horse handlers started each session with safety briefs and precautions such as to wear helmets at all times.

The sessions were split into three options, 30 minutes (P150), 20 minutes (P100), and 10 minutes (P50). The 30 minutes and 20 minutes rides take a scenic route to the banks of the Notwane River. And one also has a chance to take pictures either with their phones or a camera, capturing these moments for life. For our group, we opted to take the 20 minutes ride, and indeed we got value for our money.

Now back to the ride itself, Dimpho Serumola was charged with briefing and guiding yours truly about how to ride, and the dos and don’ts. He is one of the top horse handlers here. And it is easy to see why. Serumola has been manning horses for many years, and he carries his passion with him as he guides one of their best stallions away from the clubhouse; a life changing experience.

As soon, as Big Boy, strides away, one soon forgets about their fears for horses, and you just take in the sights and sounds around the course. Time stands still as Big Boy slowly gallops around the course. A majestic and calm horse, it is evident to see that this eight-year-old is just incredible. The climax of this ride, is descending down the Notwane River, and just marvelling at its beauty. For a few minutes, time stands still, and all else is forgiven.

Speaking in an interview, owner Heidi Kalterherberg explains that they have been offering horse riding to the public for close to a year now. She also says that they wished to offer both adults and children with an opportunity to experience horse riding. In total, they have 18 horses that include ponies. The centre has a staff compliment of 12, and is open on week days. She explains that since opening their doors, one of the highlights is seeing the smiles of the riders, and the exceptional feedback that they get from their clients.

“The feedback from people who are riding for the first time always puts a smile on my face,” she says. She also explains that they are about to start a school sport riding programme. The programme is made possible by funding from the FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale), and is endorsed by the Horse Society of Botswana and the Botswana National Sports Council. The program that will target both the learners in the private and government schools, seeks to identify, promote and coach young talented riders. 

The goal is to see the young talented, ambitious and interested pupils enjoy the Sport of Dressage or Show Jumping, to create an environment where riding is taken as a Sport Subject in the school curriculum, leading to schools competing in a fair and fun-filled spirit.

According to Serumola it is important for riders to come dressed in the right clothing. He says that for those who are beginners, they need to be patient, and move at the pace of the horse. “It is very important to listen to instructions as it is very dangerous not to listen to,” he explains. He also says that riding is open to everyone aged from 3 years upwards, and that the weight limit is 90/95 kg.

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