The fires started two days before his birth. Even on the morning of his birth, the team at Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill Bush Homes thought they still had a fight on their hands. However, in a stroke of luck, the fires died down, and little Pemba (aka Umlilo meaning ‘Fire’ in isiZulu) was born into the world.
Breeding horses is not an easy process and therefore not a common practice at Ants. African Horse Sickness is rife in South Africa and young foals are not very immune to the sickness, so breeding your own horses is a risky affair. However, there are certain horses that are hardier than others. The Friesian-Boerperd cross is just one of the breeds better equipped to handle the harsh African environment.
The Boerperd breed is the “Mustang of South Africa” according to at Chase Jordaan from The Ant Collection. The breed comes from the old Boer-war when the horses escaped from battle after their riders were killed. Over many years of these horses breeding in the tough environment, they have evolved into some of the strongest horses in South Africa. They don’t eat much, they hardly get sick and they have very strong hooves, making them low-maintenance to look after and perfect for bush conditions.
Beira, Pemba’s mother, is a strong, beautiful and very healthy Friesian cross Boerperd mare (although mostly Boerperd), and is generally immune to problems in the bush. This combined with her almost perfect confirmation, and flawless beauty made the decision to cover her a fairly easy one. In addition to the hardiness of the Friesian-Boerperd breed, they are also very versatile and exciting mounts to ride. The team at Ants has reported that Pemba is already living up to his nickname – Umlilo (meaning fire), and is a little ball of energy bouncing around the yard.
When he is about 3 or 4 years old, depending on his growth, the team at the lodge will begin working very closely with him and start his training. Using natural horsemanship methods, which inspires trust between the horse and rider rather than fear, Pemba will slowly and carefully be taught all the skills he needs to be a part of the amazing team of horses.
We can’t wait to see this little boy grow up, and start taking guests at The Ant Collection out on rides in several years’ time.