The Lesotho Rescue Ride – part 3

August 4, 2014

Did you notice I said, “dusty, stony road”?

It was indeed a stony, rocky and (wherever Pete’s irrigation arms couldn’t reach) a dry, parched and hard land. You’ll understand my surprise then in meeting horses that didn’t have any metal shoes on their feet. They were all ‘barefoot’ (which to those non-equestrian types who may have stumbled across this post) that means they had their own hooves and nothing else. Not so surprising you may be thinking… but actually in the UK nearly all the horses you see will be shod with metal shoes. Without the shoes the horses can bruise the soles of their feet on rocks and uneven ground and wear their natural hooves down on the hard roads and surfaces we ride on. So – in the UK a bunch of other countries – you’d expect a horse working on hard stony ground to be shod. Ours weren’t though.

The local breed – the South African Boerperd – which we were to ride were acclimatised to the ground and perfectly suited to the week’s stiff riding ahead – or so we were told, although it didn’t look that likely at the outset. However experience has taught me that it’s best to reserve judgement on these things, because – as proven in Ecuador – a simple local horse can be a darn sight better than some over-bred, highly priced animal. So, I mounted my 5-year old gelding – Roess, pronounced “Ruuss”, so named for his rusty bright chestnut colouring – and sat reasonably comfortably in his new synthetic trail saddle.

A few adjustments later… saddles bags tied on, my home-brought sheepskin in place (to reduce synthetic saddle rub!), sun cream applied and water to hand, we did our first “Saddle Up!” of the trip and set off on a “let’s see how our horses go for us” mini ride to tomorrow’s start point.

A couple of hours later and having sized up some of the other riders and their horses, I was pretty comfortable with my set-up. Richard – he of the broken foot – was bravely popping pain killers and had been allocated a Dales pony as far as I could tell. But Prince Charlie as he became known (the horse, not Richard), was to carry Richard on a route we would not have believed possible over the coming days, so I’ll not say anything disrespectful of the chap (or the man).  Some of the flashier folk had chosen/brought appropriately flashy horses and were speeding around having fun in the sun.

But finally as the sun set, with our tack locked away (from armed locals!) and our new four legged friends turned out for the night, our very random group of riders (who it should be said truly were each a mix of sensible and crazy in the one person; I include myself in that) clambered into the back of the trucks and rumbled our potholed way back to Penwarm Lodge. It was to be our last night of comfortable accommodation, from here-on in, everything was a bit up in the air. Just like the mountains  -the Drakensburg Mountains –  with their sharp teeth-like peaks, adorned with swirls of cloud. We’d enjoyed looking at their towering rocky greatness from the comfort of the dairy valleys below, but tomorrow we were going to climb up to and then onward into Lesotho.


One Response to “The Lesotho Rescue Ride – part 3”

  1. Oye necesito ayuda para hacer dos semafors, pero con un solo circuito astable, los tiempos de encedido del verd el de 1 min y del amarillo 20 segundos Click

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