If you know our Tribe, you’ll know we love horses.
We keep our own & ride as often as we can.
We share this gift with whomever visits us at the little wooden house on the not so little hill.
We search for the opportunity to enjoy this, wherever the opportunity exists.
We ridden at Addo.
And on this day we shared the exhilaration with Stephanie on the outskirts of Swellendam.
We met up with her at Swellendam Backpackers.
Here she recieves guests who are looking for something more than the standard buffet offered to people passing through.
A menu of activities is up on the wall & a tangible love for people is nestled in her words.
We drive to the Two Feathers Stables at the foot of the mountain.
The horses are beautiful.
Their temperament a mirror of Stephanie & her crew.
Willing to share.
Each of us is assigned a horse & as we saddle up, Stephanie speaks about each horse like you would speak about a friend.
Where the horse comes from.
How he came to live at Two Feathers.
What he enjoys.
What he does not enjoy.
By the time we’re in the saddle, we each feel as if we’ve kniwn these horses since forever.
Then the ride.
Into the mountains.
Crossing a river.
Stephanie has been doing this for almost two decades.
A short interval taken, somewhere in between, to travel to America, to work on a horse farm where she was part of the team who took people on a week-long ride into desolate mountains.
Then she came back.
Continued with new energy & fervour to bring happiness to the lives of whomever wanted to be part of her world.
A son was born.
Later a beautiful girl.
They share the joy of horses & nature.
Stephanie came to Swellendam to work, during a school holiday, on one of the river boats.
She came from Upington.
She never left.
She is a beautiful person to meet.
An awesome guide to take you on horseback into the mountains.
She offers day trips as well.
Taking riders deeper into the mountains, breaking for a picnic lunch, before returning to the stables.
We do the afternoon ride.
The horses are comfortable with us.
I can see that they’re used to attention & even if you’re not used to riding, this would be an exquisite experience.
Stephanie not only attentive to each rider, but bubling with easy conversation, talking about herself & Swellendam, its people, its history, its beauty.
This is the kind of person who should be in the hospitality industry.
Late afternoon we return to the stables.
It wasn’t a hard ride.
It was relaxing.
It filled each one of us with what we needed.
A sense of connectedness.
To each other.
To this place.
Even Forest, Theunsie’s new friend, who does not ride often, bubbles with excitement.
As we take each horse back to its stabke, Stephanie talks about the hot-springs at Barrydale.
She heard we’ll be heading that way.
She knows, few people know if the hot springs.
Like a secret, divulged only to insiders, she gives us directions, so we could find this hidden gem.
We say our goodbyes.
We’ve made new friends.
We’ve tasted a bit of Swellendam, without which our experience would’ve been bare.
The rest of the day is soent at Stonehill River Lodge.
As we drive through the reserve to our cottage we see Eland, Zebra & Blesbuck.
Over supper we talk.
We hope with new energy.
For it is when we live & taste & experience that we are reminded that every day is precious and tomorrow is beautiful, when approached from a lived today.