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  • Lisa Martus


Manely Equine, located 2km outside Haenertsburg, is a haven for horse lovers of all ages and abilities. The farm specializes in a range of activities, including training horses, horse riding lessons, therapy riding, scenic trail rides, picnic rides, extreme trail rides, and overnight trails. The most popular activities are the kids rides and holiday fun days, as well as scenic picnic outrides to the base of the magnificent Iron Crown mountain through an indigenous forest, circling back to the base of the Iron Crown mountain for breathtaking views and a picnic under a beautiful old tree. Manley Equine also hosts multi-day trails where both horse and rider are put through their paces. The route follows a very technical path to the top of the Iron Crown peak, where riders overnight before meandering down and around the Wolkberg mountain range, to eventually circle back through the Georges Valley to Haenertsburg.

Manely Equine is especially popular with kids, who make up the majority of the riders that come weekly for riding lessons. These youngsters are taught not only how to ride but also how to care for horses in a kind and respectful way. Owner, Kayla Hairbottle says ‘my horses are trained very well, they all ride bitless and barefoot as that is what is best for every horse. They keep novice riders calm and safe but they can also give experienced riders the time of their life. Because my horses were trained in a respectful way, they have very soft temperaments especially with small kids and disabled or autistic kids.’ A therapy-riding program includes children with disabilities or autism to encourage a calm and mindful connection to animals.

According to Kayla, ‘horse riding in general is a very calming and relaxing activity, the motion of the horse and their presence paired with Haenertsburg’s beautiful surroundings makes it one of the best methods of practising emotional self-care. She claims that the horses also have a way of showing people what is lacking in their life. ‘If you are a distracted person the horse will keep you focussed, if you are impatient, it will teach you patience. Riding competitively also makes you very fit as horse-riding builds your core like nothing else can!’

For the more experienced riders, Manely Equine offers extreme trail rides and competitive riding disciplines such as Endurance Riding, Western Riding, Cross Country, and Show Jumping. They also have a volunteer program, where international visitors stay for a few months to help out. One of Manely Equine's unique offerings is the rehabilitation and training of rescue horses that have suffered abuse or neglect. The farm's dedication to these horses is evident in their successful rehabilitation and transformation into healthy, happy animals.

Kayla lived most of her life on a farm in Polokwane, but the family was always drawn to the beauty of Haenertsburg and decided to make the move. Her passion for horses came from her mother, Maralize, who has been riding all her life. Kayla says, ‘I started riding with my mom on the back of her horse when I was three years old and got my first pony when I was four. Since then, I have always had horses - I started doing Endurance Riding competitively in high school and from there, I noticed the gap in Equine Education, that led me to decide to do Equine Studies after school.’

Kayla’s vision is to ‘educate the industry and help people understand horses and their nature better as well as to help them ride their horses in a way that will be enjoyable and beneficial to not only the rider, but most importantly for the horse.’ She says, ‘my dream for the future is to build Manely Equine as a business and to create a community of horse lovers!’

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced rider, Manely Equine is the perfect place to connect with horses, nature, and like-minded individuals. Connect with Kayla on 064 122 5895 | 082 292 9362.

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