Hoof beats in Africa
This is a real story about how I woke up from a vivid dream and decided I really wanted a pony of my own. My mother was rather suprised and said I had to prove myself on Deborah the donkey first. Deborah the donkey knew lots of tricks like lying down and counting up to ten with her hoof and was far too clever for her own good and taught me a thing or two. I learned to antisipate trouble and the importance of perseverance and determination. By the time I could manage Deborah I was already helping train ponies for other children and wanted a very special pony for myself.
Valzani Rikki looked just the perfect pony when he arrived in our yard for training. By Christmas time it looked like all my dreams would come true when I was given Rikki. But disaster struck when Rikki started bucking people off. I wasn't the first but after falling off fourteen times and breaking my arm it looked as if Rikki would have to be shot and I would have to give up riding as I was a nervous wreck.
The civil war was heating up and we had to go to school in a convoy and carry weapons where ever we went. The week my plaster came off the owners of a horse farm were blown up in their car by a landmine and all their horses were put up for auction. At the sale I fell in love with a little Shetland cross Welsh pony and begged my mum to buy him for me. He was totally wild and untrained but somehow we bonded and started a special friendship. Together we learned to trust again and soon I was able to ride him and teach him to jump.
When the war ended we celebrated our new found freedom by riding a hundred kilometres through rural land, forestry and finally to Nyanga National Park where we camped and explored an area we had lived in when I was a baby. My mother had owned a zebra at that time which had been part of the family, it walked in the house and I had learned to stand by pulling myself up on its tail. It had lived with us for many years and my mother had trained it to be ridden before releasing it back to the wild.
After the war I was delighted to be able to experience normal childhood experiences like pony camps and shows and horsey holidays which finally climaxed in winning my first prize for show jumping on Valzani Rikki.