So first off, these images are from Feb of 2009. It was before I was blogging, so I decided to share some of these past images, as my sister and I talk of her wedding and these images keep popping up in my head, as her wedding will be in SA in 2012 (hoooorah!)
A trip to visit my sister who had been (still is) living in Cape Town, South Africa.
On our way, my Dad and I (we planned the trip together) stopped in London. One of our favorite places to visit. Great to break up the looooong air travel and great to visit London, because we adore it.
Now, this is what Macy's and Nordstrom is missing...Harrod's boasts an Equestrian section.
Actually, it's their sports section labeled as RIDING.
It took all I had to not crawl up this horse mannequin and start clucking
I bought a brush and a soft rubber curry comb which is still my everyday most used item.
It was worth the price.
Outside of London, we visited the Cotswolds, which are a cluster neighborhoods built in the 18th-19th century. So peaceful and can you imagine a cuter place to visit and have a pony in?
Then, we were off to South Africa. What a scene change!
In fact, the whole time I was in and around Cape Town, I was trying to figure it out. As in "Oh, this looks like California..or the desert in some area, or etc etc."
The truth is, the beauty and magic of this place is there isn't another place like it..it's incredible and I only saw a small amount in comparison of the size of the country.
Wine country as many of you probably enjoy a good SA wine
Sick beaches...the gorgeous and rough ocean.
Yes, there are sharks and yes I went surfing with her now, fiancée, and yes I was petrified but figured Jaws would get the better surfers before she could get me. ;)
Oh, and when I saw 'surfed', I mean I body boarded because I couldn't get up!
2nd attempt coming up in 2012
Downtown cosmopolitan Cape Town
Dad, myself and Tina on our way to the southern most tip of Africa.
We teased my Dad and told him we were going to take a day cruise boat to Antarctica
Sampling the goods.....so good.
The food was insanely amazing..I came back, no joke, 10 lbs heavier. It was worth the gorgefest
So, I digress...back to the Equines.
On our way to a private estate (a friend of their's)...see below.
I felt like we snuck into a Celebrity's Conde Nast home...and was happy to do so!
On our drive up, we past their land FULL of protected game
One of herds were Quagga.
Yes, as in the extinct Quagga.
These are bred to try and bring the lineage back...and they were beautiful.
Notice they are different than the Zebra. The stripes fade into a brown, then pure white toward their hind
Quagga Momma and baby foal.
Come on! I took this picture and I still can't believe it.
On a different excursion, my sister and I wanted to go horseback riding.
She had done research and thought that Noordhoek (about 30 minutes from where they live, if I remember correctly) would be the perfect place, as it's horse country.
Our steeds...mine was Paddy, a handsome but sensitive gelding (hmmm..seems familiar) and his breed was called a "Saddler" or a South African Saddlebred.
Ignore the hunch back but see the smile and scenery?
Set out on a trail of four of us; the instructor, a girl from London and Tina and I
Oh! We are approaching the beach...
Almost reminded me of Michigan's sand dunes and beach...
Looking behind me at my sister, who clearly knew of the beauty of the beach when she suggested "Let's go horseback riding together in Noordhoek!"
Oh, and remember when I said it reminded me of a Michigan beach....yea, up until I saw this.
This is a sight I've never seen.
The deepest sand beach I've ever seen. Terrific footing for horses and welcome for horses and riders to come play in. We even saw a commercial shoot being shot (of course) at this beach.
Is this view even possible? If I hadn't been there myself...I would doubt it.
Pure, loud, gut ripping beauty.
Seeing this off a horse's back, made it that much more magical.
Our trail leader on the gorgeous Blue Roan and a the gray held the lady from London
Paddy's wide spread beautiful long ears frame the glorious site.
Seriously......the beauty....come on. I couldn't take it all in.
I tried to capture as much as I could, and then had to put the camera away and just.be.in.the.moment.
Little sister, who rides horses fearlessly even though she hasn't had 1 real lesson..she has a softness and heart about her that calms any pony...it's cute
This is as close to heaven as I've ever felt.
Something about Noordhoek, totally spoke to me.
When I thought I was going to lose Laz, I had thought about sending his ashes to my sister to sprinkle here for him to enjoy too. Thankfully, now, I can focus on finding our own water hole to play in together, alive and healthy, although it won't be as breathtaking as this beach, it will still be heaven.
So this post ends..and Part II is coming up with our return to South Africa for my sister's wedding in 2012 and what images have risen to remind me how important our steeds are in our lives, and even our most special days...