“I am his eyes, he is my wings.
I am his voice, he is my spirit……”
Chocolate and I certainly were a match made in heaven. I love a horse with character, personality and quirks and Chocolate certainly had bundles of all three!!!
A veteran of Namibia Horse Safari, Chocolate along with his brother Coco had traversed these trails many times……he is a pro at his job and has faithfully carried out his duty with enthusiasm and zest for many years.
Small and opinionated with a heart of gold, the courage of a lion and as sure footed as a mountain goat, Chocolate liked to be in front of the pack and nowhere else! For the first day or two I tinkered around with him a bit, trying him in different places to see how he felt and see how much he was willing to compromise………….Chocolate knows his mind and letting him just be proved to be a much more intelligent and pleasant choice than fighting him every step of the way!! Some people may not enjoy to ride a horse that in their opinion does not listen………..but I never felt that Chocolate wasn’t listening to me. Chocolate knew his job and how to do it, he knew every twist, turn and footfall…….most importantly, Chocolate knew how to get us across the desert safely and enjoyably, he knew that land better than I and I respected that, why interfere with a pro?!
He believed that he was still a stallion and that it was his rightful place to be leading the herd, nobody was to pass him, in particular the loose horses which made for some hilarious moments. He had enormous speed and endurance and once he was where he wanted to be you could practically ride him without hands, touchingly reliable. He had a really sweet side to him too which I just absolutely adored. In the mornings he didn’t like to walk out of camp too fast, he liked to limber up gently so he would pull you back to walk slower with him. In the evenings he had a little set routine at the end of the day, nudging you forward to his favourite rolling spots and only then would he even contemplate having a drink of water.
The longer rides for me are always the better ones, you have time to really bond with your horse, learn about them and learn from them. Chocolate and I made a really good team……he got me through all the obstacles the Namib threw at us unmaimed and unharmed and I trusted him 100%, I respected his knowledge and just let him be his wonderful, perfect self!
“When your horse follows you without being asked, when he rubs his head on yours,
and when you look at him and feel a tingle down your spine…you know you are loved.”
~ John Lyons