Mz Marville sent me a note card recently, announcing that Matoluta Sanctuary had re-opened with a new look. As regular readers will know, the Matoluta estate has appeared a number of times in this blog, starting with its original opening back in July 2014. The focus of the estate and the community behind it is to raise awareness of the plight of the Colonial Spanish Horse on the North American continent.
These horses, perhaps more familiarly known as Spanish Mustang by some although there are in fact several strains and sub-strains, are descendants of the original Iberian horse stock brought to America from Spain, and are one of only a very few genetically unique horse breeds worldwide.
Covering the regions of Sarte and Hudhufushi, the Sanctuary has always presented visitors with an open landscape, rich is scenery and wildlife, and offering plenty of space for equine role-play. The new design, which I know Mz Marville had been putting a good many hours work into prior to the re-opening, still offers some wide open spaces for enjoying nature; however, these have been joined by a horse ranch / farm as well, presenting even more of a mix of environments and landscaping.
From the landing point, located close to the boundary of the two regions, visitors can set out to explore on foot or, if they prefer, on horseback, using the rezzer system located alongside the barn straddling both regions, and which offers a venue for live events. Of the two regions, Sartre continues to offer open spaces where horses and other animals can roam, while Hudhufushi offers the ranch / farm environment. Here can be found a large stables, which form a part of a new project Mz is working on, which I’ll likely be covering come April.
Follow the track beyond this, and you’ll come to a field where tractors are ploughing, crops are growing and, across the furrows, another barn stands, offering shelter for pigs and cattle. Above this, atop a low plateau, sits an orchard where apples are waiting to be picked.
Around to the north-east of Hudhufushi, the land become wilder, blending into Sartre’s landscape of grasslands, winding rivers, tall trees and rugged, rocky outcrops; a place where deer roam, sheep graze, bears fish and eagles soar; thus many of Matoluta’s familiar motifs can be found, but located in a new environment. There is a private home located in the south-east corner of Sartre, but otherwise the entire region is, like Hudhufushi, free to roam.
Throughout both regions there as numerous places to sit and relax – camp sites, tree houses, and so on, and plenty of opportunities for photography, including posed selfies in a hot air balloon or astride a pack-laden horse. Those who aren’t so keen on getting around on horseback can find a bicycle rezzer at the edge of the track in Hudhufushi, and can thus pedal their way around places.
To mark Matoluta’s re-opening, a photo contest is once again being run, although time is growing short for entries – all of which must have been received by April 1st. On offer are three prizes of L$750 apiece. Thus wishing to enter should submit up to two photos of the Matoluta regions to the Matoluta Flickr group. The photos must have the region SLurl in their descriptions, but that’s the only requirement. Pictures can be landscape or portraits, although entrants are encouraged to display a love for nature and focus on awareness for the preservation of wild horses.