Saturday, November 11, 2006

Horses in place!

I forgot to tell you that on Wednesday this week, Ibrahim and Sani had put up the horse fence (that my father had designed), so on Thursday, Anette and I moved them over. Arwen and Sahara are now definitively the most spoiled horses of Zinder as free ranging horses is something unheard of in this country. In town, horses are tied to a post and only get to move their legs when they are taken out (unfortunately for them if they happen to be a race horse, then they only get to walk to the race track, gallop for the their life and then walk back to the post again). In the villages, horses may be allowed to "roam" the countryside but will have two of their feet tied together to prevent them from getting far... Arwen was the only horse (at least that I know of!) who used to be let loose in Josef and Renate's garden and people often commented on it. I couldn't leave her over night however as she had the habit of opening the water tap when she was thirsty (obviously, water straight for the tap is nicer than the one in your bucket!) but never closing it after herself... :-)

In their new enclosure, Arwen and Sahara can now trot around as much as they want, buck and play and roll themselves in the sand. And for my sake, it means not having to stress over acquiring two restless horses, because they are quite content just being together (that as well is an unusual thing in Niger: horses actually being kept together!).

The fun part is that I now have the horses close by, and a bunch of happy kids as well. First of all, there is Maurice's family who lives on the same compound. The kids are all proud to have horses at the other end of the garden, and even the smallest one know their names. They are also aware that Arwen is a great race horse! When I go out in the evening, one of them will always accompany me and we stand and talk for a long while (I have always enjoyed being with people and animals, and of course, the combination is a special treat!). Today, Anette and I went over and gave the horses a shower, and then we let the boys ride. We (or should I say I as Anette took over the responsibility of documenting) ended up letting all the kids of our street ride and that was a lot of fun, even though it took a lot of time! I came up a few rules and in the end, my riding school turned out to be a "friendship school" where you weren't allowed to sit up on the horse if you weren't being nice to your peers. You often find groups of children quickly becoming a mob in this country, but this group was well organised and I was really proud of them.

Now, that being said, Anette and I later went out by ourselves and enjoyed the Zinderien scenery... I hear many people talk about how they love the desert, but I will always be a savannah sort of person... Just give me some sunshine, a horse and a track and I will enjoy every moment of it...



Charlotte said...

A horsewoman, -and- another blonde living in Africa! What luck! Glad I found you, will be reading your blog with interest.

- Charlotte

NIGER1.COM said...

Hello How are Your Ishtar
I am from Niger , but i reside in the United States i am very glad to read about you and your story
I created the website
I would like to know you better do you have a phone number i can reach you in Zinder
I will call you from New York
as possible
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