Meet Nicole Jacobs the “Griqua rider” 

Griqua rider Nicole Jacobs
Published: November 14th, 2023

Meet Nicole Jacobs the “Griqua rider”

Nicole Jacobs is a 21-year-old from Kranshoek in Plett currently residing in Cape Town. She refers to herself as the “Griqua rider”, a truly proud member of the Griqua Nation.

One can attest to the growth of the Griqua people in terms of establishing themselves within society, like any other cultural background, it has not always been easy to settle with a sense of belonging, as Nicole explains: “It is important to celebrate the Kranshoek riders as without their history we would not have a future, the lessons that are learnt from the past gives us knowledge to go after new opportunities…” 

The Griqua Heritage Herd’s name comes from the Griqua community, they have always had horses but they were not associated with anyone until Lee Plociennik became involved and help the community establish the herd as the African Hoofprint Foundation and that is how the Kranshoek riders were also able to participate in shows. For Nicole, her enthusiasm for horses has always been there, ‘’I have always had passion for horses from a young age, I have always loved horses.” 

It may, then, come as no surprise that in 2018 when the South African Lipizzaners came to Plettenberg Bay, Nicole was blown away: “I simply could not keep my eyes off the dancing white stallions and I wanted to learn more about them. Lee (Plociennik) helped me apply for the South African Lipizzaner FirstRand Youth Development Program,” says Nicole. That is how the move to Cape Town came about as the program is based at the South African Lipizzaner homebase at Mistico Equestrian Centre.

The South African Lipizzaner Centre – an NPO – is a renowned equestrian establishment that is located outside of Paarl, they preserve Lipizzaner horses and follow strict principles and traditions of classical dressage and the Ecole. “Our public performances exemplify the harmonious connection between a horse and their rider through carefully choreographed routines set to music; an unparalleled cultural experience. Our tireless efforts are what keeps the now 70-year-old legacy of the Lipizzaner horse in South Africa,” says Jhan-Mari van den Berg, Nicole’s instructor in Paarl.  

With passion comes the strength of going after what one desires, as Nicole shares that it all has been inspired by her love of horse riding – which was ignited amongst the Griqua Heritage Herd – and the move for her was rather daunting. However, she was given courage by her great passion for horse riding and a desire to learn as much as possible through training and guidance. It is not too often young people are afforded such opportunities in life, Nicole Jacobs is a great example for the young people of Kranshoek and Plettenberg Bay as whole. Truly inspired!

“I would like to send off a massive thank you to the South African Lipizzaner, FirstRand Youth Development, Lee Plociennik and my family for their support and guidance,’’ concludes Nicole as we close off our conversation. I hope you will all be inspired by Nicole Jacobs’s story because I am certainly inspired.  

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