Ride like the wind

I dreamt that I was riding Pegasus, the silvered-winged horse. We were flying through the African sky, heading in a southerly direction.

I suddenly realized that we were flying over the Rainbow Nation; I saw that my horse had turned black and had lost its wings. I was now in the Wilderness Forest, at the foot of the Outeniqua Mountains. I was riding Avalon, a placid Friesian horse. We were slowly making our way along a Blue Gum lined path, and I was hearing the raucous call of the Knysna Loerie. We were riding next to a river of stars, illuminated by the sun. As we moved on, I heard the muffled noise of bubbling water. Avalon started to run faster the closer we got to the water. We were at full gallop when we reached the waterfall. Without any hesitation, my horse headed straight toward the wall of water.

horse-forest

I now found myself on the floodplains surrounding the Okavango Delta. Liberty, my thoroughbred horse, was riding at a full gallop, her body invigorated by the splashing water of our run. She slowed down once we reached the dry grass. A few meters away from us, a herd of wildebeest was quenching their thirst. To the left of us, about ten zebras were overtaking us, completely unfazed by our presence.

plaines-inondees-botswana

The sun was busy setting when we arrived at our camp, a place called Moklowane. My shelter for the night was a tree house overlooking the floodplain we had crossed earlier. I rapidly fell into a deep sleep. Pegasus had come back and took me away once more through the skies. We went to the east, flying over the Victoria Falls fault line, Zambia, Lake Kariba and the Matusadona Park. In Zimbabwe I saw a long procession of hundreds of elephants moving towards the east as well.

mozambique-beach

The sun was rising and I was now in Mozambique, on an endless white sand beach to the north of Vilanculos. My horse was called Shaman, an Arabian with a white coat and a joyful character. The air was sweet and he was in a playful mood. He was gently trotting, following the line of the breaking waves on the sand and sometimes venturing into the turquoise water, deep enough to wet my feet.

We reached a group of fishermen who were just coming back from deeper waters with the day’s catch. Shaman had slowed down to a walking pace; allowing me to see in greater detail what was happing in front of us. Once we had passed the men, he sped up to a gallop again and he was taking me towards a mangrove forest. Once we were under the dome of trees, he dove headfirst into the water and I sank with him into the dark water.

horse-giraffes

We emerged in the midst of a group of giraffe. They were busy drinking; their forefeet spread and their long necks bent towards the ground. It seemed like an exhausting yoga posture. I was on Django’s back as we got out of the water. A South African Boerperd with a bay coloured coat. The giraffes were staring at us with a sweet, slightly surprised look. We were in the Kruger National Park and it was surely the first time that Django had seen a giraffe, since he backed away to get his hooves on dry land. The giraffes weren’t impressed by his excitement and curiosity and they moved off in their nonchalant swagger.

Quite unexpectedly, Django decided to follow them and we rode together at a peaceful tempo. It was a short lived experience since Django spotted a herd of buffalo and found them much more interesting than the giraffes. He headed straight over to them for what he must have seen as the beginning of a cattle drive. The herd responded in turn and they turned around like a dark wave to confront their approaching enemy as a united entity. We were catapulted into the air and as I was falling through the air, I remember telling myself that riding was not easy and that I was starting to get tired. The next moment I was straddling a bad tempered buffalo … but that is another story.

By Muriel Romero

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