Out of Africa

...and on the eighth day God created the horse in perfect image, to romp, graze, gallop, play and make manure wherever it darn well pleases, in divine grace.

The Basuto is probably the most well-known pony breed out of South Africa, but it is not a native species. (1)

Basuto Ponies are descended from horses that had been brought to the Cape in the year 1653 by the Dutch East India Company. They are responsible for founding the breed of the Cape Horse.

These Cape Horses were taken over to “Basutoland,” after it had been captured and taken in a war.

Cape Horses eventually evolved into a higher quality, larger style of animal, with the introduction of Arabian and Thoroughbred blood, but these horses also interbred with local ponies that were stockier and smaller.

The Basuto acquired notoriety as a cavalry mount, during the Boer War, but many of the fine quality specimens were killed in battle.

The Boer Wars, were known in Africaans as “Vryheidsoorloe,” or, “freedom wars.” (2)

Two wars were fought during 1880-81, and 1899-1902, by the British Empire against the Dutch settlers of two Boer republics, the Orange Free State and the Transvaal Republic.

They were sometimes known as the South African Wars, as the South African people were also involved. The Boer people were also involved.

There is a serious effort to re-establish the breed and it is used for pack hauling, racing, polo, and also trail riding with tourists on vacation.

The Basuto originates in the country of Lesotho and is considered a Warmblood, coming in at 12HH to 14.2HH.

The Basuto colors are brown, bay, chestnut or gray and all of them have white markings.

Their environment is rocky and hilly and their temperament is surefooted, brave and docile.

Not a bad looking, average pony, the Basuto has a clean head on a long neck, nice chest, upright shoulder, long back and short legs.

The croup is a little goosey, but the tail set is high.

The Nooitgedachter comes in pony and horse, and is descended from the Basuto Pony.

Bloodlines include Cape Horse and Arabian. (3)

It is possibly the rarest horse breed in the world, and is only bred on a few hundred farms in Africa.

The Basuto was on the brink of extinction in the 1940's, so in 1951, the South African Department of Agriculture founded a line of breeding stock at the Nooitgedachter Research Station in the eastern Transvaal (republic).

This republic is not to be confused with the modern day Republic of South Africa.

At the facility, they established and followed a rigid breeding program, with a strict curing, keeping only the very best foals.

They wanted to develop the new breed and retain all of its outstanding qualities attributed to the Basuto, such as surefootedness, durability, and fondness for human companionship.

The Nooitgedachter is smart and easy to train. It makes a great kids’ pony, but it is also used for trekking and patrolling on the African game preserves.

Its hardy feet seldom need to wear shoes.

The Nooitgedachter originates in South Africa and is considered a Warmblood, coming in at 13.2HH to 15HH.

The colors are roan, chestnut and bay.

The Nooitgedachter does well in the African environment, which is varied from rocky to green.

It is used for trail riding, day-long treks and also jumping. They are amiable and friendly.

Not a bad looking trail horse, the Nooitgedachter has a nice head with a compact back.

The neck ties low into a nicely-formed shoulder and chest. The legs are nice and straight, the croup is average on well-developed hind quarters. Strong feet, fat.

Come back next week; some of these breeds are interesting and I’ve never heard of them.

Until then, here are the immortal words of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, “Happy Trails to You.”

1, 3: “A Pocket Guide to Horses and Ponies,” by Corinne Clark.

2: Wikipedia