“The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit and freedom.”
Sharon Ralls Lemon.
Riding in the Makgadikgadi Pans I had the pleasure of having not only one, but three companions………and each one was as great as the last.
I spent most of my time riding Bruce whose actually breeding and origin is unknown. Bruce had spent his formative years as a safari horse in Southern Botswana with Limpopo Horse Safari’s and arrived to The Kalahari through a stroke of chance. Networks within the Horse Safari Community run deep, it’s a small group where everybody is acquainted and everybody helps each other………..so David arrived to the Limpopo to view another horse, took a shine to Bruce and had him included in the deal!
Bruce is an incredible horse to ride, he’s forward going and really tries his hardest to be the fastest galloping champion, unfortunately Ditaka claims that crown! I often referred to Bruce as “the shadow” as he does like to be up close and personal with his pals, particularly Velocity……….a lot of fun when they’re prancing along the Pans pushing each other forward! Unfortunately he does have a slightly “funny fetlock” so he does have rest periods throughout the Safari……however I think he might be an Oscar-winning actor because he really snubs the other horse’s faces in it when he’s running free, stopping sporadically for nice dusty rolls, taking the occasional bath in a watering hole………heaps of personality and a lot of fun to ride. My favourite memory of Bruce is after we “burned the Pan”, he put his heart and soul into the gallop and clearly felt like a million dollars, prancing and snorting, chomping at the bit to go again!!
Whilst Bruce was enjoying his rest and running free, I had the opportunity to ride Ditaka……”my little baby, my pride and joy” in David’s own words……and I could see why, he’s a very easy horse to fall in love with, which is probably why I was only allowed ride him for about 3 hours!! A striking appaloosa with incredible markings, extremley comfortable paces and an amenable personality, I can understand why he’s not let too far from David’s side!
My final horse was Griffin, a truly stunning looking Shire cross with a splendid flowing mane and tail. He carried me for the toughest part of the ride, the fast and furious return to camp from the Pans. Beautiful comfortable paces, his canter was like sitting in a rocking chair, and a very independent nature make him an absolute pleasure to ride…….and he looks great in photographs!
The climate of the Kalahari Desert is incredibly harsh, but each of these horses took everything in their stride and gave every bit of their heart and soul’s to the trip. Possibly the best part of these adventures for me is to see horses truly enjoy what they are doing and the Ride Botswana horses definitely exude happiness, joy and freedom as they work.
Bruce, Ditaka and Griffin – Kalahari Ride Dry Season 5 Nights with Ride Botswana.
Author: Janine Whyte (Indiananeeners Globetrotting Cowgirl.)