So not only am I on facebook, have my own website but now I have also succumbed to joining Twitter. No doubt I shall become a Twittter addict within a few hours
So for the first time in 2 years Shandy is being ridden again. After an injury which put her out of competition for the Young Rider World Championships back in 2009 and then being put in foal she has finally had a saddle on!
Today Shandy and I took a trip up to Haugh Woods with my Nan riding Baz.. This is the first time she and Barik, her nephew, have actually hacked out together since Barik arrived last year. We rode for about an hour only at walk due to bringing Shandy back into work. Shandy is currently barefoot too so she is rather soft footed. Although she is behaving back to as she was when she was 6!! So happy to be reunited with Shandy!!
Djelanza now also leads very well in a halter. We even managed to leave the yard and go for a walk the other day up the lane on his own. Although the house post box apparently is a very scary object until you walk up to it and realise you can push it over with your nose.
Its that time of year when nominations for the social awards are upon us. There are a range of categories for the 2012 awards so getting nominating before 24th December for your favourite equestrian businesses, personalities, charities and brands in the world of social media. This year awards will also be given via regional categories as well.
As for the reason for me posting about this there is an Amateur Rider category so if you have the time could you put in for me to be nominated. This can be easily done by the app on facebook and the link is below.
Don't forget to add in all your other favourites for other categories too!!
My last few weeks at Perseverance seemed to fly by! Foals were being born, stallions were covering mares who were on foal heat and some of the youngsters were starting to be backed. Yes it was a busy few weeks and it was beginning to get warmer so I could at least continue to work on my tan (I was determined to go back with some colour.)
Whilst we were at Kimberly PSV Monsoon gave birth to PSV Unity who was by El Jahrousse Amir. The morning Ashley and I left for Camdeboo Manor Torstone Tahira gave birth to Torstone Titanium by PSV Orient.
The following weekend Riyal Anazah gave birth to the first colt by PSV Orient. The same day PSV Epic gave birth to PSV Unique. Epic gave birth whilst Lucy was in the camp so got it all on camera. Laura, Ashley and I also ran down to the camp to witness the end of the birth. Such a magical moment and something I had only ever seen in pictures before.
The birth of PSV Unix followed a few days later who is by PSV Oasis x El Jahrousse Amir.
The one day we went to find mares who were out in the veld who were close to their due day to bring in and monitor. This was when we found Flower had already given birth. A filly who was named, PSV Ubah (meaning Flower in Arabic) by Jaudet Silwer who had died this year from African Horse Sickness. Flower and Ubah were walked back from the veld to the camp nearer the house.
The next births were:
PSV Umber - PSV Ochre x PSV Magic
PSV Universe - PSV Enigma x El Jahrousse Amir
PSV Unison - PSV Pi x El Jahrousse Amir
PSV Urdu - PSV Punjab x El Jahrousse Amir
PSV Unathi - PSV Pirouette x PSV Psychic
The perks of working at a stud is most definitely getting to play/ handle the foals and get them used to human contact. Each one is different some are shy, others are friendly and some have a very cheeky nature right from birth.
The endurance horse herd had already gone to the veld whilst Ash and I had been at Camdeboo, so that they could go on their holiday. This left just the younger horses who had recently been backed and those who were to be back in the herd, a total of 7. Once these horses and been brought in for their morning feed they would go into their day camp. The broodmares and foals would then be brought in to be fed and the foals could be handled.
The afternoons were spent riding the horses. The 7 which remained to be worked were: Nile, Platinum, Obelix, Medina, Pascoe, Pula, and Octave. 4 of which were already backed (or in Nile's case had done one 80km) which left us 3 to work with; Pascoe, Pula and Octave.
I took on Pascoe, a young grey gelding, who was a little bit jump about being touched and lent over. He was much more of a challenge compared with Obelix. I spent a lot of time with Pascoe getting him used to the sound of my voice and touching him all over. At Perseverance all horses are trained bareback before any tack goes on them. The first time I sat on Pascoe and asked him to walk he bucked and span round so I hastily "dismounted" landing in a heap with him stood the other side of the ring snorting at me. Eventually though we progressed to walking around with the help of Mandela giving him a lead. Once we were safely walking around and I could get mount on from left and right we progressed to tack. Pascoe never worried about having the saddle on at all and I worked him from the ground before asking him to walk with me leaning over. However, I was soon in the saddle and he was quite comfortable and happy with everything. By the time I left he had progressed to trotting round the ring! He's such a sweet horse and I grew attached to him after spending quite a lot of time with him.
Octave had been brought in at a later stage to Pascoe and Pula. I took Octave on and began her backing progress. She was a genuine chestnut mare and was pretty sure that she knew best but was so sweet natured and would not hurt a fly. I liked her a lot, she particularly reminded me of my own mare Shandy (aka Chador). I was sitting on her just before I left to come home. The weekend after I left Perseverance, she was sold when her new owner fell in love with her on one of the Barefoot Courses which are run at Perseverance.
My last weekend I in South Africa I think I spent the majority of it being drunk. Yes we partied hard!!! Friday night we went out for a "few drinks" which did not end up being a few. Due to it being a friends birthday, Campbell, we carried on partying. It was a great night dancing and chatting with a great crowd of friends. Needless to say Saturday morning I woke up feeling rough and Ashley took great joy in laughing at my expense!
Saturday night was to be Ashley and Bob's birthday and my leaving party. After making the fatal mistake of saying I could cook a fantastic cake the night before I had to make sure that was on the menu. I spent the morning in the kitchen cooking cakes for dessert that evening whilst wearing my sunglasses!! By midday my hangover eventually had disappeared.
Saturday nights party was themed "Hoedown at the Homestead" and I think literally everyone turned up. It was by far the best party Lucy had hosted at the farm. I think I danced the night away. 6 months of being in Africa and I finally could Sokkie. My first dance was terrible so had a Springbokkie shot and then I was fine. I most definitely did not leave the dance floor and got passed along from one person to the next and had an amazing time!! My cakes went down a treat so I was happy about that (good to know I can still cook even with a deathly hangover). The worst part was saying goodbye to my friends as I would be leaving on the Wednesday. The last guest left as the sun was rising at around about 5am. By this time I was nicely sober and I decided that rather than go to bed and have to get up in a few hours the horses may as well be fed early. So I grabbed a still rather drunk Ashley and a half awake Menita and we went to do the horses. It was far quicker with the 3 of us and was rather amusing time spent too, By the time we got back we were all ready to crash into our beds. A few hours sleep before the mass of clearing up started. The rest of Sunday I spent asleep and half watching whatever was on the tv.
Monday, I took Nile out on our last ride together. I made into River 1 camp before I got all teary. I rode Nile out for about an hour enjoying the scenery and our last ride out together. I cantered my way back to the farm enjoying his comfortable pace which I spent the majority of my blog raving about. He's a great horse and Bob will sure have fun on him next year.
That afternoon Ashley and I packed our saddles and tack into the bakkie to go and ride out Mercury and Liberty. Laura drove us out to the camp so that we could ride straight from there. For once Liberty was very easy to catch. I tacked Liberty up straight away, Ash however had to watch Mercury off. One side of Mercury he was grey and the other side he was bay, somewhere he'd found a nice muddy spot to roll in. Ashley and I spent the entire afternoon riding our ponies through the camps of Perseverance, generally enjoying being back partnered with our favourite mounts. When I first arrived in Africa and trained with Ashley we were riding Mercury and Liberty so it was nice to end with how we had started out. I am going to miss Liberty she is such a fantastic little horse and has given me some great rides and fantastic results in Africa.
The dreaded Tuesday arrived - departure day. I woke up feeling sad but managed to keep it together. As soon as the horses were in for their feed I went to say goodbye to them. Liberty was clearly the first in line for having a massive hug, followed by my other favourites Nile, Obelix, Pascoe and Octave. I said my farewells to Deon and Mandla, thanking them for all they had done for me at rides.
My suitcase was packed into the car (although I have had to leave some of my summer clothes behind). My farewells were said to Laura and Bob. Lucy and Ashley would be driving me to PE so I would say my goodbyes there. As we drove away from Perseverance I gave a last look around, rather glad I was wearing sunglasses as my eyes were filling up as I left. 6 months I had lived at Perseverance and been accepted into the stud. These people were not only my work colleagues but had become like my family and I had celebrated my successes and my birthday with them. I was saying goodbye to a fantastic place and some fantastic people which one day I hope I will see again.
We shopped a little in Port Elizabeth and I made sure I had some biltomg packed to take home! At the airport I checked in only to find my flight time had been moved and I would be leaving in 30 minutes!!! I said goodbye to my two best friends, Lucy and Ashley, managing to not cry before embarking on the journey home.
I left at 3 pm from Port Elizabeth landing in Johannesburg at 4. 30pm. My flight from Johannesburg was at 9.45pm and I landed in Heathrow London at 6.30am on Wednesday. Despite the flight being 11 hours and 35 minutes the time passed by quite quickly. Plus there were some good films to watch and I had an entire row to my self so could literally lie down and watch these films. When I finally touched down the other side it was here I hit reality and cried. Yes I cried walking through an airport as I let Perserverance know I was safely home. Luckily by the time I met my grandmother the tears had dried up so it was just the 4 hour journey home.
I can't thank everyone at Perseverance enough for letting me feel so welcome and staying an extra 4 months. They were there through the highs and lows. I learnt a great deal through Laura and Bob from the barefoot horse to dosing a horse during African Horse Sickness (luckily I had missed that season). I enjoyed partying with Lucy and meeting all her friends as well as enjoying her fantastic cooking, everyone eats like royalty! I spent an awful lot of time with Ashley training and working along side him including partying with him, but never again do I want to drink brandy and cok. It was great to get the chance to meet them all and become part of the stud. I'll miss them all!
One day perhaps I'll get the chance to return for another adventure.....
I had entered a competition in September on the Graaff-Reinet website with the top prize being a 2 night stay away at Mount Camdeboo Game Park and guess who won it!
It was for two people so I invited Ashley to come with, which he accepted (would of been a tad awkward to have taken him kicking and screaming in protest). The vacation was booked for 1st - 3rd and Mount Camdeboo is situated just the other side of Graaff-Reinet
Lucy and Laura kindly drove us there and we all stopped together for high tea before they departed.
That first afternoon we were there we had a safari drive through the park. There were two other people staying in one of the cottages, so we all went together on this drive. Our ranger was called Wayne and pointed out not only animals but various plants too. Wayne even showed us how to make a rope from the bark of one of the trees.
During that mornings Safari (before Ashley and I had arrived) the other guests had seen the female cheetah eating her prey. Wayne took us to the site where she had made her kill so that we could all try and spot her. Leaving the truck Wayne took us to where her kill was. We were stopped short of reaching the kill due to Wayne spotting the cheetah. She was a few metres away lay in the shade of one of the trees. Never did I ever imagine I'd get this close to a cheetah (zoo's excluded), although I was a little worried that she'd advance on us. As we went to back away she decided to get up! Instructions of "don't move" were given although I was torn between running or hiding behind Ashley. The cheetah was at least weighed down by that mornings feast, but she went towards her carcass anyway. A cheetah looks large on a tv screen but in real life the beauty, power and size of the cat is much more breath taking.
The drive took us to one site where the "Battle of Paardefontein" had taken place. The corral where the Boars had hidden still exists right down to the original tin roof which is marked with the bullet holes. There is now also a monument to the battle on the site in memory of those who died. Wayne told us the story of the Battle which gave us a vivid picture of what had happened there.
We drove up onto one of the hills where a herd of zebra were roaming across the top. Here we all had our "sun downers" and some snacks whilst admiring the view and watching the sun disappear before heading back to manor for the night. As we drove back down the hill we came across a male rhino also making his way down the hill and using the vehicle track. Being this close to a rhino was quite something and a short distance had to be kept away.
That evenings meal was a braai and we all sat out under the stars with the area all lit up by flame torches. It was so peaceful until there was the interruption of snorting and strange noises just beyond the fence of the house. I went with Wayne and one other guest to see what the noise was from the safety of being behind the electric fencing of course. The strange noise was from the male rhino and a female rhino with her calve. Clearly it is that time of year!
We returned to the braai fire admiring the stars as we went with Wayne pointing out the constellations. Sitting around a braai fire in the evening under the stars is definitely something I shall always remember from my trip to Africa!
Despite being on holiday we still had an early morning start for our first walk out of the day. A phone call through to our room to make sure that we were actually awake, which we weren't. Rather glad Ashley had the bed nearest the phone, it meant I did not have to answer half asleep.
Before breakfast, Wayne took us for a walk through some of the park to one of the breeding/rehabilitation areas. This gave us a chance to see much more of the park but from being on foot instead of in a vehicle.
On reaching the enclosures we got to see some of the African wildcats they have from kittens to adults. One of the cats, a type of lynx I think, had been raised by humans so was that friendly we could go in the enclosure with her. We still had to be aware that she was wild but she would come right up and rub against your legs like a tame cat. Another story I can take home, which the parents won't believe!
We carried on walking to where we came across the rhino. Wayne set us some ground rules before we went any closer, such as remain low at all times. The wind was not blowing towards the rhino and the sun was shining into their eyes so we could approacha little closer. We went so far and left a good distance between us and the rhino (we had been closer to the cheetah). I was behind Wayne, our guide, who then said we could probably approach a little closer, my answer "Are you crazy?!" My heart was thundering as we approached and I'm sure everyone including the rhino could hear it. Keeping extremly low we got closer to the next bush where we crouched and watched them. It was here that Ashley had a coughing fit but managed to stiffle it a little. I must admit by this time I was a tad worried about the rhino's hearing and was glad when we backtracked.
Back at the manor a 3 course breakfast was laid out. Fruit, cereal, cold platters of cheese and hams followed by a cooked breakfast for those who wanted it.
After breakfast the other two guests left so it was just Ashley and I there. The next safari was not until 4 that afternoon so we had the rest of the day to do what we wished. It was nice and hot so both of us spent our time lazing around the pool. Despite having sun cream on I burned to a lovely shade of red. Note to self do not fall asleep in the sun. But I at least was not the only one who had fallen asleep and had burned as Ashley had as well. I did brave the pool for a period of less than 5 minutes but it was not warm enough for me, far better to be in the sun.
After high tea, we had our next safari drive. This time Wayne would be taking us to one of the other ridges. En route we passed at least two herds of giraffe before making the steep climb up to the top of the ridge. Here we had our sun downers and snacks, whilst admiring the view. We saw plenty of Wilderbeast, kudo, zebra and giraffe on our trip up. On the way back down we came across the water buffalo by torch light. It was not as cold as it had been the previous night when we'd been on safari, but Ashley and I still wore our Camdeboo Poncho's which had been provided for us.
We arrived back to a three course meal at the Manor. A starter of Tomato soup, followed by Chicken Wellington and a desert of apple crumble, YUM!
A glass of wine and an entire manor house to ourselves with a tv to flick channels on.
We had told Wayne that we did not wish to have a mornings safari so we could at least have a lie in till breakfast. It was so refreshing to be able to wake up of my own accord without an alarm.
Breafast was the same as the previous day, 3 courses. Lucy would be picking us up at 10am, so after breakfast we only had packing to do and then could chill in the sun till she arrived.
However, unfortunately one of the tyres to the subaru got a puncture along the dirt road. This meant Lucy had to get the car to the garage to sort before being able to pick us up. Therefore our Camdeboo trip was extended by about 2 hours.
In the end, Wayne took us in the truck to meet Lucy along the dirt road as the tyre would not last the distance and would just deflate. That was about the 4th tyre incident we had had in about 10 days!
It was such a great prize to be won and I got to see some animals which were not native to Britain. Camdeboo manor is a great place to visit for anyone and the staff can not do enough for you. Everything was catered for and the rooms were excellent with such comfy beds. The food was divine so it was easy to eat all 3 courses! Finally got to have a mini safari adventure too by winning and I have more memories from my time in Africa to tell the folks back home. Thanks Lucy and Laura for chauffering us there and
So we travelled back from the North Cape but we were not even out of Kimberly before we had an issue, one of the tyres on the trailer was completly shredded. Thank goodness we had spares so at least we were back on the road to home relatively quickly.
A few hours later and we arrived into Middleburg, where we realised what the strange sound was coming from the truck. Yes another tyre incident, but this time it was on the truck and it was a flat tyre. Right time to get out the spare tyre for the truck, thank goodness Laura and I had Bob and Mandla with us!!
Another 2 hours or so in the truck and we eventually made it home with our 3 horses. The journey in total was between 6-7 hours long but due to our tyre troubles was actually longer than normal.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.