Sunday, February 21, 2010

Leaving Van Reenen

After a year in Van Reenen, it was time to go home. My fiancé had landed a partnership in a truck stop business, and we were heading back to Hillcrest. Now I had four horses – well, two ponies, a donkey and a horse - so transporting them home was a bit more difficult. With his connections in the trucking business, however, my fiancé arranged a horse transport truck to stop off and collect the horses. Naturally, I wouldn’t be parted from my Starr, and insisted on riding in the truck with them. Starr walked onto the truck without a problem, as did Donald and Ebony, but Cherokee, the little skewbald, would have none of it. Two handlers, however, simply took a back leg each, lifted his rear off the ground and trundled him up the ramp like a wheelbarrow.

A thoroughbred mare and her week-old foal were already aboard the truck, on their way to the stud farm so the mare could be covered in her foal heat. She was right at the back of the truck, and my four were loaded in behind her. As usual, Donald behaved perfectly when the need for it arose, whereas the rest of the time he was true to his donkey nature. He had shown me that when I had tried to train him to pull a cart, but that’s another story!

We stopped at Mooi River at about midnight, where the mare had to be offloaded, and the handlers decided to simple push the ponies to one side, but Starr, due to his size, had to be offloaded. I led him down the ramp, in the dark and into a strange place, and we waited while the mare was offloaded, then I led him up the ramp again. That was when the driver told me, ‘that horse would follow you through fire’. It has stuck in my mind ever since. My mum had organised a field opposite her house for me to keep my four animals, and we arrived at about 1 am, tired and stiff from the long drive. Thus, we came to Monteseel.

We were there for several months, during which time I sold Cherokee and Donald, and the horses lived out in a nice grassy paddock. Eventually my fiancé organised a cottage for us on his family farm in Hillcrest, which was about 30 km away. We decided that we would ride the horses over, and we did. It was the longest ride I’d ever been on, and the first time Starr was so tired that I had to urge him on. We made it though, and installed the horses in the place that would be Starr’s home for the next 12 years.

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