M ended up not going through Mexico with her two Latin American
horses, Mise and Tu Fein as originally planned. They actually went
into Mexico across the border from Guatemala, where they were kindly
helped by Susy and Sergio Herrera but due to a number of factors,
which Miss M will disclose at a later stage, the decision was eventually
made to return to Guatemala.
only upside to this delay was that Miss M’s mom, Rea from
South Africa, came to visit her during this time and both of them
were delighted to see each other again after 22 months. They explored
Mexico City and went to see some
traditional Folklore music and dancing in a beautiful theatre in
the heart of the city. Then it was down to Cuarnavaca where they
were welcomed with open arms by Ana Rosa and her son Carlos and
both Miss M and her mom were amazed at the interesting house and
lovely gardens where they stayed. The general manager from Posada
de la Mision in Taxco (a bit further down south) had invited them
to stay in his hotel for five days and Miss M told us about the
lovely views from their room overlooking the hills which were dotted
by little houses and covered in a sea of light in the evenings.
Oaxaca (pronounced Uagaka) was another relaxing two days with beautiful
cathedrals and lively little outdoor café’s to visit
and the final destination was an 11 hour bus journey to Puerto Escondido,
a laidback surfers’ town on the Pacific Ocean with their accommodation
so close to the beach that you could hear (and smell) the waves
breaking on the shore.
Miss M was back in Guatemala, she had to arrange a lot of things
and one of them was trying to get Mise into the US to continue the
TATA journey. (I think it is only appropriate if I let Mise talk
about Tu Fein at a later stage). Unfortunately due to a lack of
space at the quarantine facility in Miami, Florida until February
04, Miss M had to start thinking about Plan B (i.e. go over now
and get Mise to join her later, courtesy of DHL). She purchased
me from a man called Jerry Adams in Kentucky and our starting point
was down south in Dothan in the State of Alabama. With me was Pepsi
(3 years), also a Tennessee Walker.
first real experience of Southern hospitality started when we entered
the small town of Colquitt and where we got to meet Mr. Terry Toole,
the Editor of the Miller County Liberal Newspaper, his wife, Mrs.
Betty Jo (the woman behind the successful-man-kind of-thing!) and
their daughter Tammy.
Mr. Toole might have thought this is only an ideal opportunity for
an interesting newspaper article but before he knew it we were lodged
on the property of his 90 year-old mother-in-law and Miss M had
a room with them in the house! All I can say is that we had a delightful
stay and it was with difficulty that Miss M managed to drag herself
and us away from this lovely family to continue our trotting. Mr.
Toole wrote a very special article (with a personal touch) about
Miss M and our few days in Colquitt - here
to read it.
And before I forget…many thanks too to Ronald
and Jeanine Kirkland who crossed our path just at the right time
and for all their assistance in Baker County.
was next on the map after Colquitt and with some stroke of luck
Miss M found a nice place with the ever-enthusiastic Lacy Shiver
and her daughter Carly who provided us with a big fenced-in spot
and lovely food for the evening. Lacy also managed to get Channel
10 out the following day and they caught up with us on the road
for a quick interview....always a good opportunity too to rest the
were very glad the next day when on our way to Sylvester, we were
approached by a very friendly woman called Marilyn Magelund who
was so interested in the three of us on the side of the road, that
she couldn’t help but stop and offer us her help. In jig time
she had organized a place for Miss M and us at their good friends
place, Diane and Joel Johnson across the road… a lovely haven
with big open spaces and beautiful stables. Diane is an accomplished
artist and does beautiful
watercolor paintings of horses, cats and dogs…you name it.
These paintings are truly so life-like and it feels as if the little
doggie in the picture can jump into your arms at any moment! Anybody
that is interested in having a memorable painting of a beloved pet
done can contact Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh yes, Miss M also told us about the spin in Diane’s flashy
Corvette and I am sure the temptation was just huge to trade this
400 horse-power for you know who!
Miss M received a lot of help from Marilyn who even
took time off work the next day to assist her with bits and pieces.
They went into the city of Albany to get this all done. In record
time they had managed to get sponsorship from Alltell, and with
the friendly and rapid assistance of Joe Pierce, the manager in
Albany, Miss M was given a phone and a great service until the end
of her journey. Their generosity was extended further when she received
a good discount on new reins and in another tack-shop, the owner
even gave her some product for free.
From Lester we trotted on towards Sylvester and on
the way we got to meet Bobby Littleton who offered us a couple of
bags of good sweet feed. We ended up having quite a lot of contact
with Bobby and his wife Theresa and family and they really helped
us all a lot. We just continue to be totally amazed by all the wonderful
generosity and unconditional help on our way.
In Ashburn, we received great hospitality from Ginger,
Greg, Matt and Brittany Brown and it is also here that Miss M started
to realize that Pepsi’s days with us were numbered. Since
we left Colquitt, Miss M started to have doubts about
Pepsi’s ability to do this journey…. he is very young
you see and quite inexperienced and still jumps at everything which
means that none of us can ever completely relax. Also, if he is
on the leading rope he is either hyper, trying to run to the front
and then block me off or otherwise he simply pulls on the rope,
leaving me to do the hard work and actually drag him along. Well,
the whole Brown and Littleton family were witnesses to Pepsi’s
behavior the day we left Ashburn/Dakota and there was no doubt that
there needed to be a change soon. In miracle time Bobby was in contact
with a good friend of his who had a few days earlier indicated that
he would be more than willing to help, should I need another horse
(s) and that evening, Miss M already had the two Appaloosa’s
of Todd and Maria Merritt to try out.
decision was made to ride Camanchi and Fleetwood the following day
or two and then come to a final decision as to who will be part
of the trio going up north towards New York. Miss M was just so
happy that two people who didn’t know her from Adam, would
be so trusting, handing over their beloved horses so that the TATA
journey can be completed and she told us she will always remember
Maria’s sincere and caring parting words…”remember,
we are available for you 24/7”.
With the help of Tami Manders, Miss M was put in touch
with Kami Faircloth who lives in Cordele and part of the arrangement
was that Miss would be staying next to us in a very comfortable
living trailer with all the luxuries anybody could wish for. Kami
could see that Miss M was so enthusiastic about the trailer that
she kindly offered to take it up to our next destination the following
day, so that Miss M could have another’s night peaceful sleep
next to our stables at the racing track.
two days with Fleetwood and Camanchi, Miss M had come to the conclusion
that it will be Camanchi and I who will be part of the TATA travelling
group. Todd accompanied Miss M the following day on horseback as
far as the outskirts of the city of Dublin and it made for a nice
and easy ride with good company. He also thought that Camanchi and
I make a great team as we have a similar pace, are equally tamed
and have more or less the same temperament. I rejoined the group
that day and Fleetwood was brought back to Todd and Maria’s
home….probably counting the days until he is re-united with
didn’t realize that Dublin, Georgia (named after Miss M’s
adopted town, Dublin in Ireland) would be so big and it took us
ages to get through the city as we also had to cross a long bridge
with the usual heavy traffic and a mixture of patient and impatient
drivers, rushing passed us at different speeds.
was also in Dublin that two guys approached us from the National
Guards called Justin Clements and Danny Holland and they advised
Miss M on the best route to take, going towards Sandersville. Justin
also helped Miss M with that night’s accommodation on Christmas
Eve, which he organized at the house of Sam and Sarah Yoder who
with their five children (Miss M didn’t get to meet the other
seven) were extremely hospitable and didn’t hesitate to offer
a helping hand. Justin invited Miss M to spend some time that evening
with his wife and family and he did all he could to make Miss M
feel at home.
day was surely not a resting day for us (well at least not initially)
and we started our trotting around 10am that morning despite the
chilly air. But our ride turned out to be a short one when around
2pm we got “rescued” by Danny, Tish (read about her
extraordinary story in our next diary entry) and Angelica Holland
who persuaded Miss M to get out of the cold and to spend Xmas day
at their house. They also generously offered to take care of us
for the next week, as they knew that Miss M was going to be away
for a while and needed a safe place for her equine pals.
and I had a very relaxing stay at the Holland House and was thoroughly
looked after…the family treated us just like we were their
own pets (who have the best life ever just by the way!) and we couldn’t
have asked for better care-takers. On Miss M’s return, Danny
told her that Camanchi had been slobbering a bit whilst eating and
he thought that his teeth needed to be floated (a filing process
to get rid of the sharp edges that makes it very painful for especially
older horses to eat). So off we went to a place in Fort Valley,
called Central Georgia Equine Services (www.equineservices.com).
Over there Dr. Jennifer
Miller did a great job with Camanchi’s teeth (I didn’t
need any work done on mine) and they were even so kind to charge
Miss M only a minimal fee for the tranquilizer and nothing else,
showing their support for the cause of our TATA travels. We were
all very impressed with the friendly staff and neat and professional
set-up at Equine Services and would recommend it to anybody who
needs the best possible treatment and care for their horses.
Another wonderful product we’ve been using for
a while now from a sponsor in Dundalk, Ireland is called Herbalwise
These supplement tonics with ingredients such as Cod Liver Oil,
Honey, Kelp and much more are great for man and horse (don’t
sip from the same bottle though!) and for those who are interested
to know more, feel free to send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Well, sadly it is time tomorrow to say goodbye to
our friends, the Holland-family who had been very good to all of
us and from here it is probably about 4 or 5 days until we will
cross into South Carolina. We are all excited as to what lies ahead
(hopefully we will be able to cope with the cold weather) and if
things continue the way they have been so far in the US, we will
have absolutely no reason to complain!!
And before I sign off…a heartfelt thanks to
all those people on the way through Georgia who had been so generous
with their donations…please know that it is very much appreciated
and every dollar we receive brings us closer to our aim. And for
anybody else in the US who wishes to make a donation, there is now
a TATA account within the States. The details are: Tata Challenge,
Bank of Camilla, P.O. Box 111, Camilla, GA 31730-0111
So long friends…until next time.
Marianne an email >