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1_Harrismith 2_Free State / Vrystaat 8_Nostalgia sport

Bertie on Bespoke

Bertie van Niekerk was tall and impeccably dressed and rich. He wore a big hat, drove a lang slap American car and rode beautiful horses. One was called Bespoke and the rooineks were too scared to tell Bertie you didn’t pronounce that as though it was haunted.

I remember him in a tall hat – not a tophat, though – and a coat with tails – special riding gear.

Dad remembers him winning one ‘Best Farm Horse’ (beste boerperd?) award at the show: Everyone had to put their horses through their paces. Their mount had to stay put when the reins were tossed over its head and left to dangle; it had to not flinch when its owner cracked a whip next to its ear; and other stuff. After he’d done all he needed to do, Bertie kicked his boots out of the stirrups, got up on the saddle, stood tall and looked around. Then he removed binoculars from his pocket and gazed around serenely, still standing on the saddle, his horse dead still and calm.

The crowd loved it and roared their approval!

~~~oo0oo~~~

I wish I had pictures! The pics above remind me of what I saw at the show all those years ago – horses stepping exaggeratedly with a rider or pulling a cart. Be great to see authentic pics from back then.