Wild Horses in Kleinmond

 

A herd of approximately 26 wild horses live in the Rooisand Nature Reserve in Kleinmond. They spend most of their time wading through the shallows and eating swamp flowers, grass and other aqatic greens.

 

There are different opinions of these horses origin. Some say that the Boers hid them in the vlei during the Anglo Boer War. Others say they are descendants of horses that survived a huge cull in the ‘70s when farmers no longer needed the horses for farming. Yet others believe they are decedents from horses swimming ashore from a sunken ship.

 

 

Over decades this group of horses and their ancestors have adapted themselves remarkably well to their marshy habitat.

 

Their thick winter coats give them adequate protection against the cold winter winds.

 

Their big, saucer shaped hooves have adapted to the soft, spongy surface. Their hooves and limbs are remarkably healthy and perfectly shaped despite the constantly wet underfoot conditions. On soft, sandy terrain, in other parts of the country horses' hooves sometimes grow out too long and become grotesquely malformed.

 

The Wild Horses have interesting grazing habits. They are often seen grazing in the shallow water, pushing the muzzle down under the surface to pull up and ingest mouthfuls of water grass. They also feed on kweek and buffelsgras as well as some of the edible shrubs and fluitjiesriet on the sides and in the reed beds.

 

In social behaviour they conform to what is known about free roaming horses. The stallions know their respective places in the pecking order.

 

When the water levels are high (mid winter to mid spring) they are forced out to the fringes of the vlei. They occasionally venture out into the dunes between vlei and ocean but not often. They prefer the flat marshy area in the centre. 

 

Fore beautiful photos of the wild horses view the photographer Bruce Boyd on www.thewildones.co.za .

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