VIDEO | Straight from the horse's mouth – Pretoria preacher uses trusty steed to deliver sermon
Sharlene Rood, News24
Seeing a man on a horse is a rare sight nowadays, and a man on his steed in a church, even more so.
Lay preacher Armand van der Merwe and his horse Ferm wowed churchgoers at the Wonderboompoort Herlewingsentrum in Mayville, Pretoria, with a musical performance on Sunday. A video of the dynamic duo's performance was posted to social media.
Van der Merwe, a singer, horse trainer and fast-food restaurant owner, said he and his steed, a South African Boerperd, have been performing together for 12 years.
"I don't always perform gospel on horseback, but it's something that's close to my heart," he told News24.
Van der Merwe first started singing in church when he was 16 years old. And while he eventually gravitated toward the country music scene, performing while on horseback, he says he always finished his shows with a gospel song.
Tersius van den Berg, resident pastor at the Wonderboompoort Herlewingsentrum, told News24 that more than 1 000 people attended the event.
"They had an overwhelmingly positive experience," he said.
He said Van der Merwe's message centred around faith, hope and love.
Ferm only performed two songs which made reference to God on a white horse, right at the end of the evening.
"It just bolsters the message," Van den Berg said.
He said Van der Merwe and Ferm had performed at the church on a previous occasion a few years back, but that this time around it was extra special.
"It was a very unique experience, as this was his very last performance with this specific white horse," Van der Merwe said.
Hanging up his horse shoes
Ferm is set to retire.
Van der Merwe's grandfather, father and son are also horse trainers and Ferm is set to become Van der Merwe's father’s personal steed.
"I was born into a family of horse lovers. He will have a royal life," he said.
Van der Merwe will henceforth be seen on a black steed, who has been standing in for Ferm, on and off, for the past six years.
And what about the neighsayers?
Van der Merwe says: "I believe you can do anything as long as it is in honour of the Lord," he said.