|First Posted: Dec 27, 2013 |
Jan 3, 2014
Tekoa, Gush Etzion/Jerusalem
Esther/Owner of Tekoa Stables
052 52 176 52
(from the US dial 00 972 before the number)
We rode at the Tekoa Stables. Esther and her brother Ilan own the stables. They are from France and are truly horse people. The horses are well trained, although as all horses do--they will test you. Not being my horses I did not want to get on my mare's mouth. She was testing and did not want to impel forward. Once Ilan said "show her who is boss" I used the reins and bit, along with my legs, turned her in a circle, then made her impel forward. Bill's gelding gave no attitude. He was a perfect gentleman. Both horses had Arab lineage. Bill's horse also showed some quarter horse qualities conformationally. Both horses were comfortable as was the tack. We went out privately--just Bill and I--with Esther guiding us. We were there for about 2 hours.
Bill and I wanted to mostly walk as we were there to see the area. Also, when we ride other people's horses we do not know the territory or the horses. Therefore, caution is important. We did decide to do a collected canter, up a hill, for a short stint in one area. That made the horses happy as it was cold and they were perky. It clearly was a place these horses were allowed to move along. In the distance we could see Herodian. When one thinks about this in an historical sense it is quite amazing.
I would like to add that these horses had feet like iron. They had no shoes or pads. There hooves were absolutely solid--no chips, no ridges, etc. The footing was almost entirely rock of some sort. The ground was hard. There was a severe lack of vegetation. It is quite a tribute to Esther and Ilan that these animals are so hardy and well-maintained. Clearly their nutritional needs are well met as well as their fitness. In my experience most horses would be lame after riding on that rocky surface. These horses were perfectly sound with no "ouchiness" at all. Their gait was even. Both Esther and Ilan put safety first--ours and the horses! Tekoa Stables is a place of kindness and knowledge. Bill and I have been riding for more than 40 years now and have seen a lot in the horse world.
Taking in the topographic views at Tekoa. What better way than from the back of a horse?
Tekoa is an Israeli Jewish communal town and Israeli settlement in the northern Judean hills, located 20 km northeast of Hebron and 16km south of Jerusalem. Tekoa is within the municipal jurisdiction of the Gush Etzion Regional Council. The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this. Situated in the immediate vicinity is the Arab settlement of Tuqu also spelled Teqoa. (Tuqu is a Palestinian town in the Bethlehem Governorate, located 12 km southeast of Bethlehem in the West Bank.)
History: According to the Book of Samuel, Joab procured a "wise woman" from Tekoa to persuade David to bring Absalom back to Jerusalem (2 Sam. 14:2, 4, 9). The village was the birthplace of Ira, the son of Ikkesh, one of King David's warriors. Tekoa is renowned for being the birthplace of the Old Testament prophet Amos (Book of Amos 1:1). The Bible states that the city was founded by Ephrathites from Bethlehem in the north and Calebites from Hebron in the south. It was a fortified city and served as an administrative center.
The modern settlement was established in 1975 as a Nahal outpost. In 1977 it was handed over to civilian residents. The settlement is located on the top of a hill among ruins of the site of Biblical Tekoa, 5 miles south of Bethlehem at the foot of Herodion ("Herod's Palace").
Geography: Tekoa is located 2,177 feet (670 meters) above sea level on a ridge surrounded on three sides by a deep canyon, Nahal Tekoa, that runs east to the Dead Sea.
Demographics: Tekoa is populated by a mix of religious Zionists and secular Israelis. Many new immigrants from the former Soviet Union also live in Tekoa. The chief rabbi of Tekoa, Menachem Froman, maintained close ties with PLO and Hamas leaders. Rabbi Froman taught at the local hesder yeshiva headed by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. Froman died in 2013. The population is around 3,000.
Economy: In 1989, the Tekoa Agro--echnology Farm established in 1986 was named Enterprise of the Year by the Israeli Journal of Agricultural Settlements.
Arab-Israeli Conflict: In May 2001, two Israeli boys from Tekoa, Koby Mandell and Yosef Ishran, were murdered. Later in September of that same year, Sarit Amrani (26) was shot dead in Tekoa when terrorists opened fire on her family's car. Her husband Shai was seriously injured, while their three children, Zohar (4), Ziv (2) and Raz (3 months), who were in the car at the time of the shooting survived physically unharmed.
In February 2002, Aharon Gorov (46) and Avraham Fish (65) were killed in a shooting attack near Tekoa. Fish's daughter Tamar Lipschitz, who was nine months pregnant, was shot in the stomach. After being rushed to the hospital, she delivered a daughter through Caesarean section. Fish's granddaughter, Karine (4), suffered from shock. Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed responsibility.