October 9th – Day Fifteen
Early morning breakfast surprise for Sharon
The latest in the line of early breakfasts was followed by Johnny arriving in his Toyota ute ready to take us to the stables for the start of our horse ride. Before Johnny arrived Jacques took Sharon a nice breakfast to eat in bed as a birthday treat, she was almost speechless but I’m not sure if this was the surprise or the early hour. Keryn was staying behind, her legs were still giving her a bit of trouble after the walk to Livingstonia and we decided the rubbing and dust probably wouldn’t be good for them. Those going riding were Maria, Will, Helen, Steve, Lyn and Ann. We climbed on the back of the ute with Helen and Lyn inside the cab and had a nice ride out of the campsite, down the road and into the Kande Horses site. The whole complex was very fancy and looked great, two story wooden buildings on one side set in grounds filled with large trees and a very good looking set of stables opposite with a riding area behind. We all signed our lives away, got helmets and played with the local dogs, a young puppy being particularly playful. Johnny then led us to the riding ground and paired us all with a horse, each of us getting on and then being shown the basic steps for guiding the horse with rein and legs. My horse was called Happy and seemed docile enough, all the horses looked very strong and healthy with Will’s horse Josh looking the most feisty.
Heading out on the horses
Once all mounted we set off with Johnny to the front and proceeded at a mostly sedate pace for the next hour and a half through local villages and past cultivated fields and areas of scrub and sparse forest. We saw lots of local people along the way and just about to a person they were friendly and welcoming, the children especially so. The local dogs were not so happy about our passing through their territory but that was because of Johnnyâ€™s dogs, his great dane cross in particular seeming to scare the living daylights out of them all with them running away at his glance. Every now and again we’d try trotting which shook the bones of most of us, people still complaining of sore limbs and posteriors the day after. It was all fun though and the trip ended with us taking the horses along the lake shore before heading into the campsite. Once all the horses were tied to the railings and we were all on the ground we headed off to get our swimwear for the next part of the adventure, a bare back ride on our horses into the lake. All kitted out we climbed on our now saddle-less horses and followed Johnny back through the camp and then down the sandy shore to the water. Riding a horse bare back through the waters of Lake Malawi will stay with me for a long time, I think I was grinning the whole time. Happy seemed to like stamping in the water, requiring a lot of suggestion to get moving again, but once in the water he was moving fine and I had a lot of fun. We all managed to stay on as we led the horses in quite deep, staying in for ten or fifteen minutes in total I think. All to soon it was over and it was back onto land and into camp to dismount for the last time. Happy was given the opportunity to have a roll in the sand of the camp and he took to it with great relish, snorting and scratching his nose along his leg to get at an itchy point. And then we were done and it was only just past 9am but it seemed like we’d been out all day.
Out for a swim with the horses
End of a great morning ride
A few of us went for a swim in the refreshing lake water and then the rest of the day till the evening was spent relaxing and for Keryn and I doing washing. In the evening we went to the local restaurant for a group meal and had a cake prepared during the day by Jo in celebration of Sharon’s birthday. Then it was to the bar for drinks and talks, some of us heading off early while others partied the night away.