Ive started 2011 in a very special place: New Zealand. The dutch arrived centuries ago and gave New Zealand its name. But after a violent encounter with the natives of New Zealand they spurted off again. I will be helping this lady with her horses and in exchange i get to live in this beautiful spot, swim in the swimmngpool and do amazing horseriding-treks.
A month is quite long to stay in a place where most action comes from the flies who buzz around all day. So sometimes I wonder, isn't it too long for me, 7 horses, a handful of people and one farm for 4 weeks? But today we did this big trek with 18 horses / riders and i was such a big adventure. The trek itself was, for a horse girl absolutely AMAZING. Through hills, cantar, going down, going up, streams, lunch on top of the hill with the horses just roaming around (untied). But more interesting was to listen to all the people around me and be part of New Zealand in this way. We got up the cattle-station, and I had to use the lavatory. Between the young cows there was a little shack, a deep hole and one ragged curtain made of an old cattle-feedbag. While spending a penny I had a cow looking at me. Welcome to the outback of New Zealand.
During the ride I overheard conversations about who bought of cattle of whom, "Was it good cattle?", and I learned we were riding two different farmlands, one from the Nashes, and one from some elses. We had to open gates, close them again, "Here is the border from the Nashes-farmland", "No we don't have permission to enter this part of the land." Stories and conversations I would never hear just backpacking around. So as a traveller I had such a good day as well.
In the afternoon Don, the leader of our group, came by for a cold beer. He's turning 80 this year, jumped off and on his horse the entire trip and entertained us with some stories. One story was about how is thump was ripped off by a horse. I wont go into details too much. The other one is about his birthday-mission this year. As I said he is turning 80 and he's planning to take his horse to an area where you are not allowed to ride. "I will be there real early, when it is still dark, jump the fence with my horse, and ride up to the top. If they arrest me, they arrest me". But most interesting was the story about his dad arriving to New Zealand around 1907. Only 16 years old, came all the way from England by boat and started a life here for himself. There was nothing here yet, hardly any roads, a few Maori-villages. That was about it. His mum was from Ireland, and arrived at the age of 3. That's how his family got started. Now he has 3 daugthers, 1 son. 12 granddaughters, 1 grandson. He has, as he says, all halfbreds: half-dutch, half-swedish, half-greek. Great guy with a great attitude, laughing, very happy with the life he has and had until so far. Take every opportunity that you can get. I guess he's right! This is my one to meet loads of Kiwi's, listen to them, talk to them, do gorgeous rides and eat as many avocados as I can! And hopefully draw a bit in between.
View from the house Im staying in. Prince is his name. Leader of the herd.