Long, wide and startlingly white, there is no better stretch of sand for a canter through the surf than Noordhoek Beach. Get up early enough and you can see a real gallop in action, with racehorses at full speed, preparing for their next visit to Kenilworth or Durbanville Race Courses. The Dunes Racing Stables, tucked behind the sand dunes, exercises every one of its 40 or so horses each morning. These prancing thoroughbreds are a wondrous sight in the early morning mist.
Some retired winners (and others that just weren’t suited to be racehorses), remain at The Dunes for a more leisurely life as outride horses. Given encouragement they will go as fast as you like, but are quite happy to plod along at a walk or trot if that is what you prefer. The horses are not racing fit any more, so the pace is naturally tempered to suit both horse and rider. There is something very appealing about riding an ex-race horse, whose mane, previously plaited for the parade ring, has now grown long and flies wildly in the wind.
Splash your way back to the stables through the seasonal lagoon, or along the wave’s edge. The horses usually take no notice of dogs and walkers, but kite flyers are best avoided. Luckily, on a beach that is 6 kilometres long and a quarter of a kilometre wide, you should have no trouble finding some space to yourself. And if you are very lucky, you could see dolphins in the surf and even Southern Right whales lolling around beyond the break between August and November.
90 minute beach rides cost approximately R400 and you can book your next Cape Town adventure by calling The Dunes on +27 21 789 1723 or Sleepy Hollow on +27 21 789 2341.