Sunday, April 27, 2014

Cheryl Giacchetti, Equestrian

From Port Elizabeth Area, South Africa, Cheryl Giacchetti is a Founding Board Member of Mkulu Kei Horse Trails & Riding Holidays cc.
An avid equestrian, Cheryl enjoys sharing the waves with other riders! Gorgeous horses, stunning landscape, beautiful accommodations, and much more. If you’re looking for the perfect South Africa horseback riding adventure, connect with Cheryl and find what is waiting for you on the Sunshine Coast!

Describe your first encounter with a horse…
I have been around horses and riding since I was 6 years old and they have fascinated and attracted me ever since.

Do you prefer one breed over another?
I do not have any breed preference but rather look at the individual in terms of confirmation, attitude and temperament with reference to the discipline of riding that I am doing at the time. I also look at the bond I have with the horse as I feel that this is possibly the most important aspect.

Where do you like to ride?
Anywhere as long as it is on the back of a horse, but I must admit that if pushed for a favorite place it would be on the beach cantering through the waves.

Cheryl and Poseidon 
Describe Mkulu Kei Horse Trails & Riding Holidays cc...
I started the horse trails in 1998 with a few working horses and developed the operation from there. Initially I was focusing on the longer trips up the Transkei coast but with a young family I found I was away from home too much. My partner Don took over the long trips while I built up the day rides for the novice and first time riders on holiday in Morgan Bay. We built up our herd of working horses to 45 so we had a range of different horses to suit a wide range of riding abilities with more youngsters in training to replace the older ones as they retired from the trails. The operation has twice won the Eastern Cape Tourism Board’s “Best Horse Trail” award of excellence.  In 2014 we decided to expand the operation and focus on the Sunshine Coast. The area offers all that the Transkei has and a whole lot more, including riding in game as a part of the coastal trails. With the better accessibility along the coast we can now offer a wider range of options and more variety in terms of riding an accommodation.

How many horses do you stable?
All our horses live out and in as natural a herd as possible.

Are you open all year?
We are open all year except for the period between 15 December to 15 January, as this is peak holiday season along the coast and we have difficulty getting accommodation bookings. Our trails start on the 1st Friday of every month (except January) but we can book other dates on request and as long as the group is big enough.

Do you have diverse trails for different skill levels?
We can cater for all riding abilities but try to match the rider’s abilities on trail so that all members of the group get the pace that they are happy with. If there is a wide range of abilities within the group we will lay on an extra guide and split the group into two, novices and advanced.

What is the best time of year to schedule a riding holiday?
Any time of the year is great, our winters are very mild and the sea breeze keeps everything cool in summer. We cannot offer the game rides in June and July as the parks are closed to visitors.

What does horsemanship mean to you?
Forming a bond with the horse on the ground before you ride, having empathy for the horse and working with and riding the horse as naturally as possible. Communication in a manner that the horse understands and responds to willingly is, I believe, the key.

Connect with Cheryl...

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