Harriet Walker is swapping hunting and horses in Leicestershire for three months as a working pupil at Limpopo Valley Horse Safaris in Botswana. Follow her journey as she jets off on her very own African adventure…
The past two years have been focused on completing my A-levels which has meant the time spent working with horses has been curtailed, however after all that hard work I am rewarding myself with a gap year before I go to university, to spend some time following my ambitions.
I was lucky enough to take a trip to Madagascar a few years ago which fuelled my love for Africa — I was totally taken aback by the beauty of the country and it has been my mission to return to that part of the world ever since.
When I was talking to hunting friends who had visited Limpopo Valley Horse Safaris in Botswana through equestrian travel company, In The Saddle, they suggested that I combine my ambition to see more of Africa with my desire to work with horses.
I sent my CV to Louise Carelsen, who is the managing director at Limpopo, and after an exchange of emails she agreed that I could spend three months working with her on the Mashatu Game Reserve that her and husband Cor, call home.
I will be spending my time at Limpopo helping to break and school young horses and generally learning a different method of horse management. Although the horses at Limpopo are all ridden in English saddles and trained to a high level, I am expecting a bit of a culture shock!
At the moment I have very mixed emotions. I am nervous because I really don’t know what to expect and three months away from my family and friends is quite a long time — but I am mostly very, very excited!
I cannot wait to see the vast open spaces, wild animals in their natural habitat and experience the thrill and exhilaration of a horseback safari. It will be so different to any experience I have had in the UK and a once in a lifetime opportunity.
So wish me luck for the first steps of my journey! I fly from Heathrow into Johannesburg on 29 September where I will be met, hopefully, by someone holding a sign with my name on. Then its a 5hr transfer to Limpopo in the south east of Botswana, where my African adventure will truly begin.
I’ll let you know how I am getting on in a couple of weeks.