At Hog Hollow Horse Trails we focus on rescuing horses and giving them a chance to enjoy a good life as part of our herd, working for their living but being looked after, loved and allowed the freedom to enjoy life as a horse on a beautiful 60 hectare farm.
We have 30 horses in our herd, 20 of whom are rescue horses. We work closely with animal and horse welfare in our area and also have many horses whose owners aren’t able to care for them properly or cannot afford to look after them.
Our carriage horses consist of two teams of Percherons. Percherons are bred for their strength in pulling and have what we call a “rolling weight ratio” of seven times their own body weight.
Two three year old grey Geldings, Moonbeam and Mystical Star, are half brothers, and came to our herd in October 2016. They are a taller type of Percheron and spent the first part of their lives running in huge herds in the Drakensberg Mountains. When they came to us they didn’t know what concentrated horse food was and only wanted to eat grass. To this day they still do not want to eat carrots or apples, as they do not recognise it as food, they only want grass, which is what horses eat in nature.
The other team is two half sisters, Snowflake and Snowdrop, rescued from the Knysna Forestry Department and are a shorter type of Percheron. They were born in 2008 and used to haul heavy logs out of the forest. In 2014, when machinery took over their jobs, they were used to produce snake anti-venom - quite a painful process. This process eventually broke the trust of these horses with humans, as the only contact they had was associated with pain. In October 2016, after being conbtacted by Bitou Horse Welfare, we happily agreed to accommodate two of these horses.
It has been a long process as, upon adoption, these two mares were so wild that a human could not get close to them. It took one week just to get the mares to trust humans enough to load them in a truck and then another month for them to fit into our herd and our daily routine. Subsequently, when they trusted humans enough not to hurt them, we started training them for the carriage by first simply walking behind them with the harnessing on, then dragging a tyre behind them, then getting the driver to sit on the tyre being dragged behind them and finally putting them in front of the carriage.
One of the mares, Snowdrop, proved to be pregnant when she came to us and gave birth to the cutest mule colt we named Oreo, on 1 April 2017. Oreo will one day also work as part of our herd but for now he is enjoying being a youngster and part of a big herd on our spacious farm.
Don't miss the opportunity to meet these gentle giants, on one of our horse drawn carriage tours through The Crags winelands. Enjoy magnificent views over mountains, forest and farmland, from the comfort of a horse drawn carriage, whilst sipping local wine in the company of your fellow carriage riders. The tour takes you through vineyards and along quaint country lanes for tastings, and optional lunch, at a choice of three boutique wine estates in the area. More info here.