2018 was quite the year of purchases for the the stables of Safaris Unlimited, with some fantastic new blood lines and exceptional quality horses being added to our already excellent herd. It was also the first time we have imported horses into Kenya.
A brief outline of the horse in Kenya.
Kenya’s horse scene is small, and predominantly characterised by thoroughbred bloodlines due to settler aristocrats importing them to Kenya in the 1900s. The early settlers needed horses both for farm work and transportation, as well as for racing – of which many were fond – however horses are not native to Kenya and we have very limited blood lines available, with roughly only 3000 horses in all of the country. This makes finding quality horses a real challenge, especially horses that can carry weight. Generally, the local breeders turn out finer boned horses or flat racing horses, which are not ideally suited to the conditions of safari.
In the last few years, Sirai Stud was established in Laikipia, North Kenya, importing new blood lines and better quality weight bearing horses. This has been a very exciting development for the horse world in Kenya! The initiative has been supported by the Spencer family, and spearheaded by our good friend Venetia Philipps who is also the only woman in East Africa qualified to carry out artificial insemination. We’re seeing the dawn of a new chapter of bloodlines for horses in Kenya – and we are so excited to be part of it!
Dali was our third acquisition from Sirai, a 3 year old Friesian/Boerped cross with a presence to die for. She is a real character, with an eye for making mischief. Dali turned 4 in November 2018 and will be starting safaris in 2019. She is joining her half brother Rego, who is a firm favourite to ride on safari, and we hope Rego will show her the reins! Our other Sirai mare is Iceni, a steady, wonderful horse that is adored by all our guests.
Dali (Sirai Stud)
Tomahawk and Navajo
These two lovely horses were found on the slopes of Mount Kenya. The Safaris Unlimited stable already had a few horses from the same blood lines, which is sired by Crazy Horse – a Warmblood/Welsh Cob cross. Fortunately for us, these two horses were bred for polo but decided it wasn’t for them, and have found themselves a home on safari. Tomahawk is a 4-year-old athletic bay mare, and wasn’t sure of humans when she arrived with us. Felicia and her team have worked slowly with her, and gained her trust. She did her first safari in September 2018, and performed brilliantly. Towards the end of 2018 she had a few months off and has filled out beautifully – Tomahawk will make an exciting ride for our future guests. Navajo is a striking 6 year old gelding with lovely markings and a kind personality. He is a forward going, independent horse, and will make a fabulous safari horse.
Our new Zambian Appaloosas
Our first ever import to Kenya of horses had to be the much desired Zambian Appaloosas – Felicia has always had a thing about spotty horses!! These beautiful horses came from Luyt’s Appaloosa Stud in Zambia. Peter and Carla Luyt started the stud in 2006 as a small hobby, having seen an advert for Appaloosa horses for sale South Africa. He leapt at the opportunity and today the stud sits at 85 horses, 4 of which are stallions. The Luyts have diversified the bloodlines by importing 3 of the stallions from America. Casper was brought in at the start, followed by Chocktail and Leo a few years ago. The fourth stallion is home bred. They were super excited about the horses being sent up to Kenya as Peter was keen to see more of the horses going into stock work on farms, or safari work.
Picasso and Wayan, both 4 year old geldings, arrived at Lessoi in December 2018. they have settled in well and are now part of the herd – learning about wildlife through being out on the plains with our other horses, who have shown them the way. They’ve been well rested and acclimatised, so work starts on them this month. From what we have seen, they are very personable horses with wonderful temperaments, and we are so excited to see how they progress in their careers with us! It’s amazing to think that the sire had originally come from Texas, and now his progeny are in Kenya. We think they will look fabulous next to the zebras and hyenas!