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.....
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