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The Saddle Horse Museum, Richmond, Northern Cape

The Saddle Horse Museum, Richmond, Karoo, Northern Cape

The Saddle Horse Museum in Richmond is one of only two such museums in the world, with the other in Kentucky. It is not surprising that there is a rich saddle horse history in the Richmond area. The earliest settlers, called Trekboers, had spent a lifetime in their saddles, and were among the best horsemen in the world. When diamonds were discovered, opportunities abounded for breeding carriage and draught horses, and for carting goods around the area. This history encouraged Charl van den Heever, a long time horse judge and Bill Sieberhagen, the regional horse show organizer, to found the museum in 1955 and with their families, dedicate years to completing it.

One piece of which the museum is particularly proud is the “Nachtmaal Wa”, a cart dating back to the mid 1800’s, which the old farmers took to town on the occasion of the quarterly Communion service at the Kerk.

Any horse enthusiast will be able to spend hours browsing around the displays and reading from the many riding and horse interest books and periodicals on display. There are displays of stamps from around the world, all of which have been dedicated to the horse. This collection is probably unique to the Richmond Horse Museum.

In addition to the equine related artefacts there are some fantastic displays of fashion, including a large display of ladies gowns and dresses from the mid 1800’s and early 1900’s, as well as work and household displays all, of which offer a glimpse of pioneer life in a long forgotten era. There is a collection of rare old guns and pistols, muzzle loaders, and hunting rifles. One of the most cherished items on exhibit is pump organ dating from 1745 and still in perfect working order.

One of the interesting displays is that of a wooden arm – the story goes that a local Richmond resident Daan de Kock lost his arm in an engagement with British forces near one of the little blockhouses around the town during the Anglo-Boer War and his friends had a wooden arm specially made for him. Daan hated the wooden arm and refused to ever wear it.

When you are passing through Richmond you are invited to contact one of the curators in order to arrange a guided tour of the much loved Richmond Horse Museum. A visit which is well worth every minute.

Telephone: +27 (0)53 693-0176. President Kunie Serff +27 (0)53 693 788. Address: Loop Street.

More info on the quaint town of Richmond More info on the Upper Karoo area

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